FC Cincinnati: Offense catching up to defense fast in new system

FC Cincinnati coach Jaap Stam - (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
FC Cincinnati coach Jaap Stam - (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /

FC Cincinnati has just about found itself after their draw with DC United. That’s despite this time of dramatic roster changes and learning a new system.

It was a disastrous maiden 2019 MLS season, and then an equally disastrous start to the MLS is Back Tournament. But FC Cincinnati has found itself in a 4-3-3 offensive-oriented formation under new head coach Jaap Stam.

The team isn’t winning consistently yet. And they don’t even have all their players on the roster yet. Yet FC Cincinnati players are responding to Stam’s gameplan. They came away with a point at home after playing DC United team that looked more than ready for a win on paper.

Against the United attack, Cincinnati shouldn’t have been able to defend against their most skillful players. Instead, the team made good on scouting notes showing they know how to counter-attack and defend against set-pieces.

In fact, the team provided DC United few set pieces, let alone many free-kicks. That’s despite yellow cards shown to key players midfielder Caleb Stanko in the 37th minute and defender Mathieu Deplagne in the 13th minute.

The team still awaits the arrival of two players who will factor in their future.

Defender Maikel van der Werff was held up after traveling to the Netherlands due to MLS protocol. He did appear during the MLS is Back Tournament, playing 70 minutes against Atlanta.

In that 1-0 win for FCC, van der Werff won two aerials and registered a tackle. He also got an interception and factored in a clearance. He showed in 50 touches and got off two shots, in addition to two accurate long balls.

Midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo needs a work visa before relocating to Cincinnati. Before signing on in MLS, Mlkotjo earned 13 caps with the South Africa National Team and made five appearances in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

He’s since earned praises playing for PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands. He started all six of the team’s matches in the Dutch Cup as Zwolle their first-ever KNVB Cup.

Mokotjo last appeared with Brentford FC in the English Championship.

Even with those missing parts, FC Cincinnati continues to increase offensive performance while demonstrating solid defense.

The team only narrowly missed winning the match against DC United. In the 84th minute forward, Jurgen Locadia fired a right-footed shot from inside the box that hit the left post. Then one minute into stoppage time, defender Kendall Waston directed a header off midfielder Adrien Regattin’s set-piece free-kick, but it sailed to the right.

Next. Matheus Aias signing signals potential for Orlando City. dark

FC Cincinnati has responded brilliantly to new head coach Stam’s scheme. The defense has assembled too late for the MLS is Back Tournament. But it’s there now.

As the new parts get into place, the offense will get there, as well. It won’t be long now/.