The Rowdies play a rare mid-week game tonight when they take on Cincinnati FC in the USL Match of the Week. Five things worth pondering:
1. On the road again: The Rowdies are 3-0 at home, but they lost their only road match of the year last week when they fell 2-1 to Louisville. Cincinnati is 2-2, but it won its home opener last week in front of 23,144 fans. The Rowdies have never played before more than 13,000.
2. Who’s in goal? Last week, Akira Fitzgerald – who still hasn’t given up a goal this year – was injured, and regular Matt Pickens came in. With either, the Rowdies’ solid defense needs to be back. It posted clean sheets (shutouts) in its first three victories.
3. Headed for a Fall: In particular, Cincinnati poses a threat in Djiby Fall, this week’s USL Player of the Week. Fall scored all four of his team’s goals last week. He leads the league with six goals and 17 shots. Fall, from Senegal, is a two-time player of the year in Denmark and once in Norway.
4. Playing from behind: It’s always difficult, especially in soccer. A week ago, the Rowdies fell behind in the 22nd minute and could not get its rhythm going. Both teams scored in the final three minutes, but the Rowdies spent too much time playing catch-up. A quicker start against Cincinnati is a must.
5. More goals, please: The Rowdies have scored only one goal in three of their first four games: a 4-0 victory over Toronto being the lone exception. The Rowdies have won 1-0 twice and lost 2-1 last week. Georgi Hristov’s four goals have led the way, but the rest of lineup has struggled to finish. A nice night by Joe Cole (who has only one goal) would be welcome.