Is it time to worry about FC Cincinnati?

FC Cincinnati (Photo by Jason Whitman/Getty Images).
FC Cincinnati (Photo by Jason Whitman/Getty Images). /

What was supposed to be a step forward this season for FC Cincinnati has instead seen the club play worse than last year’s struggles. Through three games, there is no doubt that FC Cincinnati is currently the worst team in MLS.

And while there is time to change that – plenty of it actually – the returns on this season so far points to a team stuck in neutral. And given where they were a year ago, neutral is by no means a good thing. FC Cincinnati has one point this season and while they are not dead-last in the MLS table, they have been the worst team this year based on performance.

Defensively, the sample size is admittedly small but it is discouraging. FC Cincinnati has conceded 10 goals through three games, meaning that the league’s worst team defensively last season has actually gotten worse (they allowed 2.25 goals per game in 2020).

“A very disappointing game in terms of how we executed the things that we needed to do, and we could have done,” FC Cincinnati head coach Jaap Stam told reporters after the game.

“The start of the game, giving a goal away within the first minute, then you’re running behind, and you need to chase it. Then still, you can, of course, get easily into the game … It’s about the quality that we show in how you want to play out, and how you want to use the spaces. Before the game, we already said where the spaces were, it turned out to be exactly like that during the game. But, then it’s about quality and showing bravery to do this. It doesn’t happen and then you make it at times easy for them as well.”

Not only did FC Cincinnati finish bottom of the league defensively last year, they were the worst team in MLS in scoring. Given that they couldn’t score goals and couldn’t keep them out of their own nets, it isn’t surprising that they were bottom of MLS in points last year.

What is surprising is that this year, after investing heavily in their scoring punch, that Cincinnati is again struggling. They have scored only twice this year and have been shutout in their last two games.

It is too early to write off FC Cincinnati despite their tremendous struggles to start this campaign. There are a lot of new pieces that came into this squad and there is the potential to turn this thing around. They have also played all three games on the road to start the year, never an easy task.

But right now, it is undoubtedly a rocky start.

“Yes, it’s very early to critique what the rest of the season will be. A lot of new players arrived to the team; we are still getting adjusted,” defender Ronald Matarrita said.

“We are working on implementing the coach’s philosophy every day. It’s not an excuse for what is happening. We have to stay positive. That’s it. We have to be critical. If we put our heads down, we won’t improve. We have to be positive and try to improve in everything we can so that we can be better in the games.”

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex‘ on Twitter @KristianRDyer