Written by Steve Haldeman, DI Member 1059
Supporters Groups Unveil Enormous Tifo Before FCC Playoff Victory
Faster than a speeding Jimmy, more powerful than an Irish Center Back, able to leap poorly placed field signage in a single bound, and much like Kenney Walker taking a Penalty Kick in a sudden-death shootout, FC Cincinnati is here to save the day.
Last Saturday, FCC won their first ever USL playoff game, catapulting the Nippert faithful into a frenzy after 120+ minutes of tense back-and-forth play.
Mild-Mannered Midfielder Unleashes Penalty Kick Super Powers
Tied 0-0 after 90 minutes, FCC finally broke the deadlock in the first period of extra time with a 95’ goal from the top of the 18-yard box that justly involved all three members of the Orange & Blue’s Original Three, McLaughlin to Walker to Corben Bone. The celebration was loud, exhilarating, and short-lived. As has been the leitmotif between these two squads in 2018, Nashville tied the game 10 minutes into the second quarter hour of extra time. After playing to a draw in all four previous matches, a penalty shootout in their final USL fixture seemed inevitable even before the game began.
Both sides converted their first five tries. When Nashville’s Justin Davis skied his penalty over the crossbar into the bachelorette-o-sphere, Nippert erupted. Most of the FC Cincinnati players prematurely celebrated, rushing forward until Goalkeeper and Man of the Match Spencer Richey calmly reminded them that there was still a bit of business that needed tending. Kenney Walker stepped calmly to the ball and pushed a low, lethal shot into the back-right corner, as Nashville’s veteran all-star keeper Matt Pickens dove towards the opposite post. FC Cincinnati captured victory to advance to the next round of the 2018 USL Playoffs.
Meanwhile, in The Bailey...
Before the game kicked off, as the sides huddled for final instructions from their coaches, the crowd of 20,000 strong roared as a massive banner unfurled upwards, row by row, covering most of the center of the Bailey. The image of FCC players as superheroes standing around Cincinnati’s Union Terminal bore the slogan “Crushed This League” in bright orange letters.
The large-format banner, called a “tifo” in soccer parlance, was designed by Die Innenstadt Board Member Christina Koplyay. She’d been wanting to incorporate Union Terminal in a DI tifo for a few years. “I tend to like tifos that celebrate the city,” she said. “And, given the Hall of Justice connection, a superhero/Justice League theme was perfect.” As many Cincinnatian super hero fans fans know, Union Terminal was the inspiration for the Justice League’s Hall of Justice in the 1970’s Super Friends cartoon.
The FC Cincinnati Heroes featured on the tifo, from left to right, are Nazmi Albadawi as Aquaman, Fanendo Adi as Green Lantern, Paddy Barrett as Robin, Emmanuel Ledesma as Superman, Danni Konig as Batman, Jimmy McLaughlin as The Flash, and Michael Lahoud as Cyborg.
As to the tifo’s slogan, Koplyay said that “Crushed This League” was initially meant to be an amusing placeholder simply because it sort of sounded like Justice League. “I was surprised when people seemed to like it, and it went from placeholder copy to the actual copy. In retrospect, past tense was potentially overconfident,” she said with a chuckle. Board Member Claire Hughes was less hesitant. “I mean, we did crush this league. Hopefully, we can still crush this playoffs!”
The Origin of Super Tifo
The enormous task of painting the tifo was completed in one single night, thanks to those who answered the call for “all hands on deck” across all the supporters’ groups. It was painted the Monday before the playoff match, at Game On Sports Complex in North College Hill thanks to the generous support of the School of Ginga, a local youth soccer and futsal academy. Three dozen or so dedicated supporters left that night covered in orange and blue paint, proud of their work, and sworn to secrecy about the “identity” of the design.
Jeremy Schulz, one of the main organizers of the creation of the tifo, estimated it took roughly 14 hours all told to create it, not to mention set up and removal from the Bailey. “Three hours of sewing spread over 2 days,” said Schulz, “4-5 hours of tracing spread over 2 days, and 2 locations because of a rainy evening, 1.5 hours to fold up and clean up at painting site on Wednesday. Set up in the Bailey 5 hours before kickoff. A wonderful group of supporters helped carry this beast out of the Bailey to a car parked in the structure off MLK after the match. All this for the 90 seconds on display and the joy of supporting the boys.”
The tifo was by far the biggest to date created by FC Cincinnati’s Supporters’ Groups, appropriately unveiled before the team’s biggest victory to date.
Stay Tuned For the Next Exciting Adventure
Meanwhile, in the Queen City this team has won the hearts of its fans with valiant acts of superhuman resiliency. Fans are feeling confident after a record-breaking season, including the USL Supporters Shield Regular Season Championship, capped by a groundbreaking playoff win.
Our heroes are on to their next adventure in pursuit of the USL Cup Championship this Saturday at 4:00 PM at Nippert Stadium where they take on New York Red Bulls II in an epic battle to decide one of the two USL Eastern Conference Championship participants. #OurCityOurCup
Get your tickets now at https://www.fccincinnati.com/2018-playoffs (Some tickets in The Bailey still remain!)
Anyone can join the march into Nippert to show your support for the orange and blue one hour before the match kicks off. No need to be a member of any supporters group! Come join the fun and the noise, it’s open to all. The march leaves from Die Innenstadt headquarters at Mecklenburg Gardens, then heads West down (and up) University Avenue, left onto Short Vine, pausing briefly at the corner of Short Vine and Charlton to amass more supporters before heading down Charlton onto the campus of UC. You can see the route mapped out on our Match Day page. Listen for the drums, voices raised in song, look for the smoke, and be ready to get loud to let the Baby Bulls hear us marching into battle!
Note: Please do not reproduce the tifo design, more to come soon