FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC finished deadlocked in all three of their regular-season meetings in 2018. | Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – A regional rivalry kicks off the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon as No. 1-seed FC Cincinnati plays host to No. 8-seed Nashville SC at Nippert Stadium in the fourth meeting between the clubs in league action this season. A rematch of a six-goal thriller that wrapped up the regular season last Saturday night, #CINvNSH kicks off at 4 p.m. ET and can be watched live on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube internationally, and followed live via the USL Match Center.
@FCCincinnati claimed the 2018 USL Regular Season Championship for its first silverware in club history, recording single-season records in wins (23) and points (77), but was unable to take all three points against Nashville in the regular season as the sides finished even in all three meetings. That included a 3-3 draw this past Saturday that saw Corben Bone score twice for the visitors at First Tennessee Park, only for Bolu Akinyode to record a 90th-minute equalizer for Nashville and leave the teams all square.
@NashvilleSC is the 12th team to reach the USL Cup Playoffs in its first season in the league, sealing a postseason berth on the final weekend of the regular season but sliding to eighth place following victories on the final day of the regular season by Bethlehem Steel FC and the New York Red Bulls II. Nashville’s squad brings players with USL Cup experience, however, with Brandon Allen having been the 2016 USL Cup MVP for the New York Red Bulls II and both Lebo Moloto and Liam Doyle having reached the final with the Swope Park Rangers.
4 – FC Cincinnati became the first side to have four players record double-digit goals in a regular season in 2018, with Emmanuel Ledesma, Danni Konig, Nazmi Albadawi and Corben Bone all surpassing 10 goals.
31 – Nashville SC finished the season with the second-best defensive record in the league, conceding only 31 goals in 34 regular-season contests as goalkeeper Matt Pickens recorded 14 shutouts.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: FC Cincinnati 78%, Nashville SC 22%
FC Cincinnati – GK: Evan Newton; D: Justin Hoyte, Paddy Barrett, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith; DM: Michael Lahoud, Tyler Gibson; AM: Emmanuel Ledesma, Nazmi Albadawi, Corben Bone; F: Fanendo Adi
Nashville SC – GK: Matt Pickens; D: Justin Davis, Liam Doyle, Bradley Bourgeois; M: Taylor Washington, Bolu Akinyode, Matt LaGrassa, Michael Reed, Ryan James; F: Tucker Hume, Ropapa Mensah
Cincinnati – None
Nashville – None
REF: Farhad Dadkho
AR1: Gjovalin Bori
AR2: Tom Felice
4TH: Greg Dopka