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VIDEO: FC Cincinnati’s incredible fans excel in MLS home opener

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FC Cincinnati are one of the major success stories in American soccer in the last decade. Scratch that. Probably in the top five, ever.

Their home opener as a Major League Soccer franchise on Sunday proved that fact beyond doubt.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Ever since they burst onto the scene in their debut season in 2016, FC Cincy have stunned everyone along the way at every major milestone point. Their incredible levels of support in the USL saw them average over 17,000 fans for three-straight seasons (their last USL season saw an average of 25,717 to set a new league record), and they had huge crowds of over 30,000 for U.S. Open Cup games and a big friendly against Premier League side Crystal Palace in the summer of 2016.

This is something that has been created from the bottom up, and a team which feels genuine. Three years ago nobody would have said Cincinnati, Ohio was a hotbed for soccer. Now, it is one the hotbeds.

So, we expected something big for their home opener against Portland Timbers and Cincinnati delivered on and off the pitch.

Their first-ever MLS win celebrated wildly by a crowd of 32,250 fans, and the strong bond the club has created between themselves and the various supporters groups is wonderful to see. It is reminiscent of what MLS have at home games for the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, LAFC and Atlanta United to name a few of the recently successful expansion franchises.

Of course, Cincinnati still have a way to go to match the likes of Portland, Seattle and Atlanta in terms of success on and off the pitch, but they have made an exceptional start.

Before, during and after their 3-0 victory over the Timbers, the FC Cincinnati fans delivered a cauldron of noise inside Nippert Stadium which really makes you wonder why they would need to move to a soccer-specific stadium nearby.

There’s no doubt the new stadium they are building in the West End of Cincy will be awesome, but the spiritual home of this club is at the football stadium of the University of Cincinnati and is a huge part of their story.

Whatever happens in the years to come, FC Cincinnati will always look back on March 17, 2019 as a wonderful celebration in their history. It was the day that Cincinnati arrived as a soccer destination in MLS and it is clear it will become a key city in the rise of the sport in the U.S. in years to come.

Below are a few videos which set the scene throughout a memorable day for everyone connected with FC Cincinnati.


Spurs announce first match at White Hart Lane

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Tottenham Hotspur’s first match at its new stadium will be held on April 3, and its second will be an occasion to match it (or pass it).

[ MORE: FA Cup semifinal draw ]

Spurs host Crystal Palace for their long-awaited debut at the new White Hart Lane, six days before hosting Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

The crowd will be massive, but the extent of Spurs’ home field advantage over City will be training sessions and a single match.

Tottenham Hotspur will play its last league game in Wembley Stadium

Watford beat Palace, reach FA Cup semis (video)

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Watford beat Premier League rivals Crystal Palace 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, as they booked their spot in the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley Stadium.

Andre Gray was the hero, as the substitute came on and sealed the win with 10 minutes to go.

Etienne Capoue put Watford 1-0 up in the first half, but Crystal Palace fought back well and Michy Batshuayi scored a fine equalizer as it looked like the game would go to extra time.

However, Watford are heading to Wembley for their second FA Cup semifinal in the last four seasons.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]Β 

Palace started brightly and whipped plenty of crosses into the box towards Batshuayi, but Watford had the first big chance of the game.

Gerard Deulofeu wriggled free but Vicente Guaita saved well at his near post to deny Watford’s Spanish forward.

After plenty of pressure on the Palace goal, Capoue deservedly put them ahead from a corner which Guaita flapped at. The ball fell to the Frenchman 10 yards out and Capoue sidefooted home calmly to put Watford 1-0 up.

Guaita redeemed himself moments later as Deulofeu smashed an effort towards the top corner which Palace’s goalkeeper pushed away. Deulofeu then had a free kick saved well by Guaita as Watford were by far the more dangerous side in the first half.

Palace improved in the second half, as Batshuayi fired an effort just wide and Andros Townsend began to get on the ball more and more.

Adrian Marriapa then handed Palace a glorious chance to equalize, as Batshuayi robbed the ball off of the Watford defender and finished superbly to make it 1-1.

Watford retook the lead thanks to super sub Gray, as he scored just 121 second after coming on the pitch.

Pereyra’s magnificent ball into the box saw Gray swipe it home first time, as Watford were just 10 minutes from the semifinal at Wembley.

Aaron Wan Bissaka then denied Deulofeu a tap in after Deeney’s shot was parried and Luka Milivojevic cleared Craig Cathcart‘s header as the hosts cranked through the gears late on.

At the other end Wan Bissaka dragged his shot just wide as Palace’s chance to take the game to extra time came and went.

Live, FA Cup quarterfinal: Watford v. Crystal Palace

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Watford host Crystal Palace on Saturday (match begins at 8:15 a.m. ET) to kick off the FA Cup quarterfinal action.

[ LIVE: FA Cup scores here ]Β 

The rivalry between these two teams has bubbled up over the past few years and even though the main protagonist, Wilfried Zaha, isn’t fit and playing there will still be a spicy atmosphere at Vicarage Road.

Watford have beat Palace 2-1 in both of their Premier League encounters this season, but Palace’s strong away form will make this a tense quarterfinal.

In team news Watford have named their strongest possible lineup, with veteran goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes coming in to start in goal.

Palace are without Zaha, who is nursing a hamstring injury, and both Scott Dann and Patrick Van Aanholt are also out.


LINEUPS

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 30

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Little has changed at the top, or the bottom, of the Premier League, but the middle of the table β€” and power rankings β€” is as tight as could be…

[ MORE: Pep Guardiola loving life as β€œbold” Man City advances in UCL ]

20. Huddersfield Town —Β This is a side that is only still a PL club on a procedural technicality. Just give it time.
Last week: 19
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

19. Fulham —Β See above: Town, Huddersfield.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

18. Burnley — Now the eight-game unbeaten run (five wins) is over, it’s been three straight defeats. The Clarets are now just two points clear of the relegation zone (again).
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Cardiff City — The third side currently occupying a relegation place. The Bluebirds won last weekend, so they get a slight bump in power rankings. It wasn’t, however, enough to move them up in the real-life table.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

16. Southampton — Maintained a gap β€” two points β€” between themselves and Cardiff by coming back to beating third-place Tottenham.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

15. Crystal Palace — Recent form has been decent enough, but a loss to Brighton means they must sit at least one place below the Seagulls in this week’s power rankings.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

14. Brighton and Hove Albion — Indeed, Brighton sit one place above Palace. Following back-to-back wins, Chris Hughton‘s side is now five points clear of the drop zone.
Last week: 15
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

13. Bournemouth — Took the free space on their bingo card by beating Huddersfield, snapping a five-game unbeaten run (four losses) in the process.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 14

12. Everton — Just one win in their last six league games (four losses), and the Toffees are teetering on the brink of a freefall (down the power rankings, at least).
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 15

11. Newcastle United — Returned to winning ways by knocking off Everton and have won three of four. Remember when we were talking about the Magpies and relegation in the same breath? Well, not us, but everyone else?
Last week: 14
Season high: 11
Season low: 19

10. Leicester City — 10th in the real-life table, 10th in the power rankings. Similarly to Bournemouth, beating Fulham isn’t anything to write home about.
Last week: 13
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

9. West Ham United — With the two sides directly in front of them in the table dropping points last week, the Hammers could have gained ground on 8th and 7th. Instead, they lost 2-0 to a relegation battler.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 20

8. Wolves — Results have turned poor(er) in recent weeks β€” just one win from their last five games β€” but maintaining early- and mid-season form for an entire campaign was never that likely to begin with.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

7. Watford —Β Hard to punish anyone for losing away to Man City in their current form, and it required some… uh… extenuating circumstances at that.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Spurs —Β Panic-button time at White Hart Lane Wembley Stadium the soon-to-be new White Hart Lane. Zero wins from their last four (three losses), and their 10-point lead on Arsenal and Manchester United is now just one and three points, respectively. As it turns out, signing no new players and proceeding to run the current players into the ground all season is a bad strategy.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

5. Chelsea — Things have stabilized a bit since the embarrassing defeat to Man City, but the Blues still sit sixth in the real-life table, three points out of the Champions League places.
Last week: 4
Season high: 1
Season low: 7

4. Manchester United — The defeat to Arsenal was the first PL setback under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it was a big one.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 14

3. Arsenal — Have the Gunners turned the corner under Unai Emery? They don’t have a single top-six side between now and the end of the season.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

2. Liverpool — Back to winning ways against Burnley, but the one point by which they trail Man City looms large.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

1. Manchester City — Six straight victories. Just one defeat in their last 11 league games. This is the record-setting, title-winning side of a year ago. They’ve clearly left themselves a thin margin for error, but make no mistake: they are the favorites once again.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3