commentary: xavier musketeers vs bucknell

WSOTP - Match Commentary Xavier vs Bucknell 09192015Look, I know it’s late notice. But I’ve got some news for those of you who don’t have any engagements for this Saturday evening.

You’ve got plans now. And if you already have them, break them.

For the second time in as many weeks, I’ll be manning the commentary booth for the NCAA Division one match up between the Xavier University Musketeers and the visiting Bisons of Bucknell. Kickoff — weather permitting, as I learned my last time out to call a Xavier match — will be at 7pm tonight.

A live link to the webstream on can be found right here.

So not only will you have the privilege of hearing me talk live tonight, but you’ll also have the added bonus of watching a really solid Xavier side in front of what should be a raucous crowd courtesy of the often 1000-plus Xooligans supporters group.

The Muskies are coming off the back of a massive midweek win over the No. 2-ranked Nortre Dame fighting Irish in a traditional “catholic college derby”. Though the win was truly huge, Xavier aren’t exactly chumps either: earlier this season they themselves were ranked as high as 10th before falling in successive games to Lipscomb and Virginia Tech, the latter of which I called. Hopefully I won’t prove to be a bad luck charm for the home side.

As for the away side, Bucknell will look to carry momentum over from their win 4-0 win over Seton Hall last Sunday. But will the longer layoff have refreshed their legs enough to make up for the long journey in from central Pennsylvania?

So be sure to tune in to find out how things play out, and here me try my best to explain it.

EXCLUSIVE: cincinnati saints on the move


At some point or another, we’ve all been told the old adage of “don’t run away from your problems”. Throughout life, we’re taught that if we take on our problems head on, the outcome will be better and less painful.

For the most part, that rings true. But sometimes, running is the preferred option and the best way to actually face a problem head on. In the case of the National Premier Soccer League’s Cincinnati Saints, it appears that is exactly the case.

Over the last six years of the club’s existence, the Saints have met and overcome a litany of hurdles. Making the jump from a Sunday League team into the semi-professional ranks was the first of those. Then came outmaneuvering a series of in-town competitors. And for the last year, it’s been the slow battle to win over an often indifferent market in the Cincinnati public and media spaces. Small victories have defined the club during that stretch, due in large part to the perseverance of CEO and owner David Satterwhite.

But with the arrival of the USL in town, courtesy of the nascent FC Cincinnati and their billionaire backing, the Saints may have finally reached a hurdle too high to clear.

Despite their six year head start and a steadily growing presence in the Cincinnati soccer community, the Saints resources are realistically no match for the financial might of their new neighbors. Nor can the Saints — playing in a fourth division that’s best known for allowing students athletes a competitive space to play without soiling their collegiate eligibility — match the star power that FCC’s deep pockets can bring to town. They can’t be expected to net a home as “luxurious” as the redeveloped Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati. And the connections to high ranking city officials and people of power in the community boasted by the new USL club are unlikely to develop now that another name with more clout has stormed in to their minds.

Faced with those realities, it was clear the Satterwhite and the Saints had some decisions to make.

Option one is to continue on fighting the good fight, and try to persist with carving out a slice of the Cincinnati market to call their own. While that might be a possibility, it’s probably more likely that the size of the new kid in town would cast a long shadow that would make it very hard to get noticed. The Saints might be able to live on that way for a few more years, but it would ultimately result in a long, drawn out death.

Option two is far more blunt — and dire. The Saints could call it quits. Throw in the towel. Close the curtain. Cease to be. This option, in spite of all of the energy and heart and knowledge gained, could still be on the table.

But there is still a third option available to the club: looking for a new home.

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back in the booth

WSOTP - Blog - WSOTP x Xavier.fw

UPDATE ON 9/5/2015: Due to inclement weather, the Saturday, September 5th, kickoff was postponed to 10am on Sunday, September 6th. I’ll still be on the call.

With the Cincinnati Saints summer NPSL season now over and the club opting to not join the professional indoor ranks this winter, that means the wait to hear Wrong Side of the Pond back in the commentary booth looked to be a long one. I know this is worrying to many of you, though I’m sure the Pondcast is helping to ease those fears on a weekly basis again.

However, I have some good news for you: you’re desires to hear sweet, sweet our live match analysis won’t have to be shelved until next summer.

That’s right, WSOTP will be live on the call for the #10 ranked Xavier University’s match against Virginia Tech this Saturday at 7pm Sunday at 10am Eastern!

Want to tune in as the Muskies take on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University? You can catch the stream right here. 

Now there will be one major difference from Saturday’s broadcast compared to previous ones we’ve tackled: while you are probably used to hearing both D.J. and Jeremy in the booth, this time it will just be the former as the latter will be out of town. So bear with me as I attempt to cover both my normal color/analysis job in addition to Jeremy’s play-by-play responsibilities.

Xavier, who made a strong run last year’s NCAA Division I tournament to the Sweet 16, will be looking to bounce back after a surprise 1-2 loss last night to Lipscomb. Also worthy of mention are the raucous Xooligans, the team’s supporters group which have been known to pack 1000+ in for home matches, who will bring a great atmosphere to the match.

So be sure to tune in to catch the action and the commentary, like you have something better going on Saturday night!

wild speculation

Without a doubt, these are exciting times in Cincinnati soccer. Two fourth tier clubs call the city home, fully professional indoor soccer looks on the verge of a return to the area, and a new billionaire-backed USL club with sky-high ambitions just set up shop here, too.

But this past week, the keen-eyed observers in the area would have noticed that another major player in the world of soccer made a stop in the Queen City.

WSOTP - Richard Scudamore in Cincinnati.fw

Yes, that is indeed English/British Premier League chief executive officer Richard Scudamore. Yes, he and his son Patrick were in attendance at Great American Ball Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, for the home team’s 12-5 win over the Detroit Tigers. And yes, that’s a bit out of left field. Pun intended.

If you’re anything like me, you might be asking yourself why in the wild world of sports would the Premier League’s head honcho be catching a baseball game in Cincinnati at the end of August?

It’s a great question. But while I’ve certainly been trying to sniff out official answers, the facts have yet to reveal themselves. And as you might expect in such circumstances, wild speculation has filled the void.

What follows is some of that wild speculation. Please, please, please don’t take any of this as fact as absolutely 0% of it has been verified. Some of it is entirely plausible — in my eyes anyway — while others are less so.

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lofty ambitions


WSOTP - FC Cincinnati Jeff Berding Press Conference.fw

Sitting in an auditorium on the campus of University of Cincinnati yesterday morning, before the press conference had even started, I  got the feeling that what was about to unfold at today’s official FC Cincinnati unveiling was going to change the face of soccer in the Queen City forever.

I’ve been around the Cincinnati soccer scene for 25 years — seeing “professional” clubs come and go as a player, a fan and a member of the media — and I can honestly say that I’ve never before had that kind of feeling about anything soccer related here before.

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fc cincinnati: panning out as expected

WSOTP - Blog - FC Cincinnati.fw

Back in May, alongside friends at Scratching the Pitch, I helped to break the story that the United Soccer League would be returning to Cincinnati. Included in that piece was the team’s name — FC Cincinnati — their colors, and their logo.

Two weeks ago, I was the first to tell you that the still unannounced FC Cincinnati would be coached by former US men’s national team captain, John Harkes. Also in that piece was confirmation that the team would also playing at UC’s newly renovated Nippert Stadium in 2016.

And today, I’m here to tell you that all of that was 100% correct.

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go big or go home


It’s been over two and half months since Wrong Side of the Pond helped to break the news of a return to Cincinnati for the United Soccer League, but things have remained eerily quiet from the FC Cincinnati camp — at least in official capacities.

For those still doubting the still-not-announced club’s existence, there’s really no doubt that the team is indeed coming.

Members of their staff have been spotted around town, most notably at American Outlaws Cincinnati events at Molly Malone’s in Covington, but I also spotted them at the Women’s World Cup Final watch party on Fountain Square while we were recording our podcast on stage. They’ve also already been handing out season tickets to those pictured in their gear. There have been rumored promotional shoots, both in studio and on-site at UC’s Nippert Stadium. And a quasi-announcement was even made on local sports anchor Ken Broo’s television show saying they would actually be playing at Nippert — though a recording of that has proven elusive.

Too, the radio silence in the lead up to my article in May also has also come to an end. I’ve heard from two different front office staff members, both of whom have FC Cincinnati email addresses. And I’ve also been in touch with the PR company that’s handling the launch and media relations.

Yet despite all of this, an official press conference announcement still has not been scheduled — though two rumored dates have reportedly been pushed back.

So why the delay?

The official line from club contacts is that travel schedules haven’t aligned properly to make an announcement yet, though as recently as late June the club were still waiting for “official paperwork to be signed”. There’s also been speculation that a federal corruption and bribery investigation into rumored FCC front man Jeff Berding could have caused some of the delays. And there’s been the additional thought that the club are waiting to make a marquee signing to help make for a bigger splash.

And if my sources are correct, there could be some truth in the latter of those three.

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#forcincy match poster 6: saints vs indiana fire


WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Matchday Poster 6

Well, the end of the National Premier Soccer League 2015 season is imminent, and this coming Saturday’s game against the Indiana Fire Juniors will be the Cincinnati Saints’ final home date of the campaign (though a rescheduled home friendly against the Columbus Crew SC College Program will still take place on Saturday, July 25th at 7:00pm).

And as such, that means that I still had one last match poster to put together for the campaign as well. There were lots of potential designs on the table, and plenty of places to draw inspiration from. The Fire Juniors aren’t a particularly well-supported team, but I’ve tried to avoid picking on teams so far, and I’m not going to start with my last one either. I also debated a “Final Countdown” clock seeing as how this was the Saints’ last home game, but that met the chopping block, too.

Ultimately looked to the nickname of our opposition once again to draw as the primary inspiration for the design. “Put Out the Fire” is a common chant yelled at Indiana’s parent club in Chicago, so I assumed that means we could apply it to them, too. And what better way would there be to convey that message than to invoke the spirit of the famous Smokey Bear? A slight modification to his trademark phrase let’s us know that he too wants to help extinguish the flames of the Saints’ foes this weekend.

This being the last league home match of the season, that also means this will also be the last time the WSOTP Podcast team will be in the commentary booth for the NPSL season. So if you can’t join us at Withrow tomorrow, be sure to catch our Live Stream broadcast available on our Match Commentary page.

And as always, if you want to see all my 2015 Cincinnati Saints match day poster designs from the season long series, click here.

WSOTP pod: live from the square for the women’s world cup

WSOTP Podcast - Live from the Square for the Women's World Cup Final

Well, I’m not sure how we did it. But somehow we must have appeased the soccer gods enough to once again trick people with power into letting us host the latest #Pondcast on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, in front of thousands of people. And this latest rendition of the pod is the result. And unlike last year, audio is much improved — so your listening experience will be far more enjoyable.

Recorded both before the USAvJPN final, at halftime and a monologue from Jeremy at home to help tie it all together, you won’t only get our own assessments of the US women’s national team and their opponents. We also welcomed players and coaches from the Cincinnati Lady Saints to offer their opinions on their opinions on the Women’s World Cup and the USWNT’s run to the final. There’s also a really cringe-worthy segment with some fans that didn’t quite know the “I Believe” chant — somewhat redeeming DJ’s own flawed effort from last summer.

So tune in to our second summer installment of the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast, and stay tuned as we’ll be back in the booth again soon for analysis on the Gold Cup and DJ’s impending trip to the MLS All-Star Game. And as always, if you have questions or comments for the guys to cover on the next podcast, hit us up via the social media links below, or via email at

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soccer is coming back to the square

During last summer’s male rendition of the FIFA World Cup, a wave of national pride washed over the country, blanketing major cities with watch parties numbering in the thousands for each of the four US Men’s National Team matches.

It was no different here in Cincinnati, where the enthusiasm often transformed into euphoria as the boys were able to survive the “Group of Death”. Over seven thousand people showed up in Cincinnati’s city center to watch the action unfold on the big screen. If you weren’t able to make it, here’s a glimpse at the insanity:

So with the US Women’s National team in action this summer at the Women’s World Cup in Canada, the calls to return to Cincinnati’s Fountain Square were loud and frequent. And while there was absolutely interest to do so from last summer’s hosts — the NPSL’s Cincinnati Saints and Hoist — pre-existing conflicts on the Square’s calendar meant that regular watch parties just weren’t a reality like they were for the men.

Obviously, we were a bit bummed. As the emcee’s for last year’s events, it was absolutely electric experience to be a part of, and we wanted it to happen just as much as anyone.

But luckily, the stars have aligned for the biggest game of the tournament.

Despite a sputtering offense and some uninspiring performances, the US women’s absolutely airtight defense — which has a rather ironic 513-minute shutout streak going — has helped them navigate the tricky waters of their own “Group of Death”, through the knockout round and into their second straight World Cup final. And as it just so happens, Fountain Square had nothing going on during that time slot.

So you know what that means…

WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Fountain Square WWC


Beginning at 6pm — immediately following the always enjoyable Art on Vine — on this coming Sunday, July 5th, the Cincinnati Saints and Hoist are once again bringing a US Soccer Watch Party back down to Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. And the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast team is delighted to have once again been invited back to emcee the event!

As with last year, there will beers and drink specials to wet your whistles and keep your vocal chords ready to cheer. Of course there will also be food trucks there — like the delicious Urban Grille — to keep your belly satisfied, too. We here at WSOTP will once again be recording a live podcast prior to kickoff and during halftime, offering our analysis of the action, too.

And oh yeah, there’s that whole opportunity to stand united with thousands as we cheer on the ladies in their efforts to enact revenge on Japan’s 2011 World Cup final win. As of the time of writing, 500 people had already confirmed their attendance on the event’s Facebook page… just two days after it was posted.

So if you’re within 100 miles of the Queen City this Sunday, you’d do best to throw on your US kits and/or red, white and blue garb, grab all of your friends, and bring your best supporter’s faces to the Square to hopefully watch our girls lift the cup.

PS: the weather is looking aces for the weekend, too.