Vontaze Burfict, Adam Jones to be FC Cincinnati captains

CINCINNATI -- Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones proved their dislike for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the wacky finish to January's wild-card playoff game between the Steelers and Bengals.

This weekend, Burfict, Jones and a few other Bengals will try to get football fans of a different kind to embrace distaste for another Pittsburgh-based athletic team.

The Bengals players will serve as honorary captains Saturday ahead of a match being hosted by upstart soccer team FC Cincinnati. The United Soccer League team started play in Cincinnati about a month ago and will host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.

"Cincinnati and Pittsburgh is probably one of the nastiest rivalries in football," Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko said in a news release. "Whenever we play Pittsburgh, everyone wants us to beat them. That's how I feel when it comes to soccer. Hopefully we can get this big win."

The Bengals and Steelers split their regular-season meetings last year, with the road team winning both games. The last time they met, though, was in that wild-card playoff game. Pittsburgh won 18-16, largely due to a late fumble from Bengals running back Jeremy Hill and penalties from Burfict and Jones. The fumble gave the Steelers, who trailed by one point with about 1:40 left, one last drive for a possible comeback. The two penalties in the game's closing seconds forfeited 30 yards to put the Steelers in range for a 35-yard field goal that ultimately won the game.

All three of 2015's Bengals-Steelers meetings were contentious, with numerous heavy fines levied after them.

The teams face each other again Sept. 18 in Pittsburgh.

As for FC Cincinnati, Tuesday's news was the latest in a string of marketing ploys as the club tries to get 25,000 fans to show up for Saturday's match. That would set a USL attendance mark. For the past two weeks, FC Cincinnati had already been promoting the match as an "Orange Out" by encouraging fans to wear orange to the game. On Monday, the team unveiled a new alternate orange kit.

FC Cincinnati's April 30 home match against Louisville City FC drew 20,497, setting a league regular-season attendance record. Throughout professional soccer circles this spring, the club has been praised for the interest it has been fielding in Cincinnati.

Joining Burfict, Jones and Peko as honorary captains will be Hill, Giovani Bernard, Kevin Huber and Dre Kirkpatrick.