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 FC Cincinnati 2

FC Cincinnati 2 to Host Chicago Fire FC II in MLS NEXT Pro Season Opener

March 15, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
FC Cincinnati 2 News Release

MLS NEXT Pro's third season kicks off Friday night as six teams get the 2024 season underway. FC Cincinnati 2 will open their season on Sunday, March 17, against Chicago Fire FC II at Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium at 6 p.m. ET.

Gates will open to the general public at 5 p.m. ET and tickets for the match can be claimed using your SeatGeek account.


Keep up with all things FC Cincinnati 2 @FCCincinnati2 on X, Instagram and Facebook.


FC Cincinnati 2 hold a 0-4-1 record against Fire II. The Orange and Blue earned their first points in the all-time series last season, a 0-0 draw and shootout win on the road at SeatGeek Stadium on July 9.


The Orange and Blue played to a 5-1 home loss to Chicago in August of 2023 at Scudamore Field. Alex Monis, who signed a contract with New England Revolution II this offseason, bagged a brace for the visitors, while Billy Hency capped the scoring for Chicago in the 90th minute. Arquimides Ordoñez tallied Cincinnati's lone goal of the night late into second half stoppage from the penalty spot.


NEW ADDITIONS - It's a new look FC Cincinnati 2 team heading into the 2024 season as the club signed eight players to MLS NEXT Pro deals this offseason. Brian Schaefer, a 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick of FC Cincinnati, is set to feature, while Alejandro Guido, who joins the team as a player coach for the 2024 season, brings years of professional experience to Cincinnati.

Amir Daley (Duke) and Peter Mangione (Penn State) join the Orange and Blue following successful collegiate careers while Nico Benalcazar and Moises Tablante are experienced MLS NEXT Pro players with 77 combined league appearances with New York City FC II and Orlando City B, respectively.

Midfielders Yair Ramos and Yeiner Valoyes round out new additions to the squad and will be available for selection heading into the weekend.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME - FCC 2 carry an unblemished home opening record into 2024 as they look to make it three straight wins in the first match of the season at Scudamore Field. The Orange and Blue picked up a 4-2 win against Toronto FC II in 2023 and earned their first-ever win in MLS NEXT Pro against Toronto in 2022, a 2-1 result.

All but one of FCC 2's wins in 2023 came at Scudamore Field or TQL Stadium. In those home wins, the Orange and Blue scored 16 goals, averaging 2.7 goals a match. FCC 2 will also enjoy an early season home stand, as three of the team's first four matches will be played at Scudamore Field.

ACADEMY REPRESENTATION - The FC Cincinnati Academy was well represented on the FC Cincinnati 2 roster in 2023. Nineteen current of former members of the academy made at least one appearance for the Orange and Blue last season with the Young Garys looking to make an impact once again in 2024.


Chicago Fire FC II played to a 9-8-11 record in 2023, finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference and third in the Central Division. Finishing the regular season with 42 points, Fire II earned a spot in the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs but were eliminated in the opening round by New York Red Bulls II.

Fire II made a number of offseason additions to their active roster highlighted by 2024 MLS SuperDraft pick Jason Shokalook. Shokalook was Chicago Fire FC's third pick (No. 35 overall) in the draft and played collegiately at the University of Akron. Shokalook scored 26 goals over his four-year career with the Zips.

Midfielders David Poreba, who spent the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season with Crown Legacy FC, and Christian Koffi join Fire II ahead of the start of the season while defender Diego Konincks rounds out the offseason acquisitions after signing from Saint Louis University.

Billy Hency, Chicago's leading goal scorer in 2023, returns for his second MLS NEXT Pro season with Fire II. Hency scored eight goals in 24 appearances while adding four assists, and helped power Fire II over the playoff line late in the regular season where he scored three goals over the team's final five regular season contests.

In 2023, Fire II played to 11 draws, the most of any team in MLS NEXT Pro. Chicago lost their first five shootouts before earning their first shootout win against New York City FC II. Fire II would close the season strong in kicks from the spot, winning five of their last six.

Ludovic Taillandier leads Fire II from the sidelines as the Paris, France native enters his third season in charge. Taillandier has served as the Technical Director at the French Soccer Institute of California and Amiens SC of the French top flight.

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