CINCINNATI — The countdown to FC Cincinnati's first home match is on with less than two days to go. Support groups for the club are getting ready with signs and banners -- thousands are expected to bring their business to bars across downtown and Over-The-Rhine.
If you don’t have tickets for the season opener, The Pitch might just be the closest thing you can get to the new stadium.
Andrew Maloney, marketing director for The Pitch, said the new bar on Central Parkway positions you perfectly to experience the game.
"We've been here on the rooftop. You can hear it. You can feel it. The way the stadium is designed you feel like you're in the stadium," Maloney said.
The Pitch already had its own following before opening day.
"We wanted to be open for the home opener. Soccer fans are loyal. We're home to a supporter group at The Pitch -- Queen City Mafia,” Maloney said “So we wanted to be here ready for them as well so they can do the march to the stadium up the steps.”
The Pitch is not alone in the fandom.
The Pride, another FCC support group, will have their original sign from Nippert Stadium hanging at Northern Row Brewery -- the group's new home bar.
Keith Maloy, general manager for the brewery, said the hundreds of fans expected to show up couldn't have come at a better time.
"One thing that OTR has is a lot of Pride in the neighborhood, and the city itself. I think it's appropriate that The Pride, the club is going to be home here,” Maloy said. “We feel that way about the team. What it does for the city. It's a good focal thing right now. Something to latch on to. It's a positive thing right now. We need something positive."
Northern Row needed something to rally behind.
"They're passionate about the sport. Passionate about the team,” said David Berger, founder of Northern Row Brewery. “I think with us it sort of helped us get through the times when you're scratching your head wondering when this will be over? You have something to look forward to."
FC Cincinnati's third home game at TQL Stadium will be played with a full-capacity crowd on June 19.