F.C. Cincinnati Makes Rough MLS Debut

F.C. Cincinnati Makes Rough MLS Debut

Will Beyreis '20, Lighter Fare Editor

F.C. Cincinnati Makes Rough MLS Debut

Will Beyreis ’20, Lighter Fare Editor


Things got off to an OK start for F.C. Cincinnati in their first MLS contest against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, March 2nd. Leonardo Bertone showcased himself as one of Cincinnati’s most promising players early on, hammering home a beautiful 20-yard volley to put the Queen City up 1-0 in the 13th minute. But that was where the good times ceased to roll for the new MLS franchise. Nicolás Lodeiro led the charge for Seattle, positioning himself well to allow his teammates to send ball after slicing ball straight through the heart of Cincinnati’s defense.

Lodeiro was consistently dangerous all night, but Cincinnati’s other star battled him well and kept him from scoring. Nick Hagglund, center defender for F.C.C., did well to contain Lodeiro’s attacks and turn the ball away from the net, but one man can only do so much against an army of goal-hungry, green-shirted Seattleites. Time after time, Cincinnati’s midfield found themselves out of position and the Sounders moved the ball into the attacking zone with ease, often bypassing an entire line of defense with a single pass.

The Sounders were poised in the attacking portion of the field. Their positioning was good, their movements were patient and well-timed, and their passes connected through gaping holes in Cincinnati’s formation, giving them dangerous opportunities. Midfielder Víctor Rodríguez was an instrumental distributor in the Seattle attack. He created the opportunity that led to the Sounders’ first goal and picked up two assists on the night in addition to that play. His beautifully placed ball across the top of the 18-yard box set Jordan Morris, another star Seattle attacker, up for his second goal of the night. This was Morris’s first night back in the saddle since tearing his ACL in February 2018. He is a national-team-quality player, and his triumphant return can’t be chalked up entirely to Cincinnati’s horrendous defense, but F.C.C. certainly lent him a hand in boosting his confidence and showing Seattle he’s back and in-form.

Some might say Cincinnati’s MLS debut woes are natural growing pains for a new expansion team, but I disagree. It’s true that new teams need time to get to know each other’s play styles before they can work together, as evinced by Cincinnati’s offensive blunders and the confusion on the players’ faces. Seattle is also a high caliber MLS team and a tough first opponent, but the fundamentals weren’t there for the Queen City. The midfield seemed to evaporate for portions of the game, getting caught too far up the field and allowing Seattle to storm down the pitch with ease. Cincinnati’s offensive organization was poor as well. Players didn’t space themselves well and as a result their ball movement suffered. The Sounders waited for their opportunities, holding the fort before pouncing on lose balls which quickly turned into dangerous counter attacks.

Some of the Queen City’s formation woes will be solved as the starting lineup solidifies and players learn to work with each other in-game. However, the level of their disorganization should leave fans a little worried. Hopefully F.C. Cincinnati has learned something from this experience other than how to give Jordan Morris and the entire city of Seattle a big pat on the ego.

Image from: https://www.sounderatheart.com/2019/3/3/18248423/winners-losers-sounders-4-fc-cincinnati-1-mls-2019