FC Cincinnati are yet to earn a point in the 2020 MLS season. But their performances have been encouraging. Maintain that intensity and success will come.
FC Cincinnati opened the 2020 MLS season with no points and two one-goal losses. That they came so close to earning their first victory of the season despite failing to get over the line is only the more frustrating.
Interim head coach Yoann Damet acknowledged that, even in these losses, the team has followed his gameplan and that he is pleased with their overall body of work, if not the end result. Speaking after the weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Atlanta United, Damet said:
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“I’m disappointed for them [the players] tonight. I think they put in a lot of energy and a lot of hard work on the field. They respected the plan really well. We created some chances and tried a lot. We were strong defensively. On some details, we conceded these two goals but overall, they didn’t create that much until the end of the game.”
In the second game this season, vs. Atlanta United, Cincinnati played a steady game in which they controlled a very dangerous team. The goals came from individual moments and defensive lapses, not continued pressure. There is no better gameplan for FC Cincinnati, and there is a hint from what the players say that the approach could mean their first wins of the 2020 season.
All three goals in these first games come from FC Cincinnati’s three Designated Players, for instance. Forward Yuya Kubo scored in the latest game for his first goal of the season, while he two season-opener goals came from midfielder Allan Cruz and forward Jurgen Locadia. They are creating opportunities for their main players, and they are beginning to take them, too.
FCC are also playing with encouraging intensity and energy. Players and coaches say if the team locks in the kind of intensity they showed against Atlanta United, they will be well on their way to a much more successful season than last time out.
Midfielder Haris Medunjanin said, ‘We need to be sharp for the 90 minutes,’ while Frankie Amaya also echoed that sentiment. ‘We brought good intensity,’ last year’s number one SuperDraft pick said. ‘It’s hard to play in Atlanta away, but I felt the energy was there.’
Yuya Kubo will also be counted on to captain the intensity. The instant after he scored in the 64th minute, he quickly turned his back on the net, waved his arms and shouted to his teammates to get to the halfway line and get the game started again. He spurred them to keep up the level of intensity and maybe get a result. That result never came, but the effort could not be criticized.
Keep up the intensity, then, and maintain that consistency over a full 90 and FC Cincinnati will have a good campaign. The results may look poor, but there are reasons for MLS’ worst team in 2019 to hope for the season ahead.