There was some teeth-grinding around MLS circles that perhaps FC Cincinnati bringing many of its USL players to the top flight could be a naive decision that leads to a Minnesota United level first year struggle.
Those concerns should be somewhat if not largely quelled on Tuesday, as FCC added two international quality backs and several other players via trades and the Expansion Draft.
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FCC saved the best for last, acquiring Kendall Waston from the Vancouver Whitecaps for a lot of numbers and slots and stuff (via FCCincinnati.com):
- $450,000 of General Allocation Money
- $300,000 of Targeted Allocation Money
- The 2019 international roster spot obtained from the Colorado Rapids via trade after the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft.
- Vancouver will retain a percentage of future transfer fees should FC Cincinnati trade or transfer Waston.
- Additionally, should Waston reach certain performance-based incentives with FC Cincinnati, Vancouver will also receive an additional $75,000 in GAM.
With respect to Greg Garza, no move is more promising than the rescue of Waston from Vancouver.
Waston had a down year this season with the Caps, but so did the Caps. The captain was angered by the firing of coach Carl Robinson, and said he was ready to move on (Vancouver also traded another critic, Kei Kamara, on Tuesday).
Thirty times capped by Costa Rica, Waston scored against Switzerland in his only action of the 2018 World Cup.
If Emmanuel Ledesma is able to have half the impact he had in USL, find steady goalkeeping, and line up a CB to pair with Waston (Forrest Lasso?), FCC is going to surprise a lot of teams.
FC Cincinnati added plenty of MLS experience on Tuesday in their Expansion Draft, also making two trades involving internationally-capped players.
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FCC picked up forwards Darren Mattocks and Kei Kamara, then trading the latter to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for an international roster spot.
The club also drafted winger Roland Lamah from FC Dallas, midfielder Eric Alexander of Houston, and young center back Hassan Ndam from the New York Red Bulls.
FCC also acquired USMNT left back Greg Garza from Atlanta United in exchange for $250,000 in Target Allocation Money and $200,000 in General Allocation Money.
Kamara has 112 MLS goals including 14 with five assists last season in Vancouver and will give Colorado a big target man while allowing FCC a valuable extra international slot as most of theirs were taken with players retained from the USL.
Mattocks scored 10 goals for DC last season, while FCC has the rights to Lamah, who is out-of-contract after scoring eight goals with five assists last season.
FC Cincinnati has unveiled its crest for 2019’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer.
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Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.
FCC will draft up to five current MLS players in the Expansion Draft on Dec. 11. Teams will announce their protected lists on Dec. 10.
Cincinnati will play in the Eastern Conference. It won the USL regular season championship under coach Alan Koch in 2018.
The last three clubs to participate in the USL Cup Final are still alive in the 2018 edition of the USL Cup Playoffs, but all eyes are a fourth club.
FC Cincinnati hasn’t lost a match since May 26, the soon-to-be MLS club kickoff off a 24-match unbeaten run with a win over New York Red Bulls II a week later.
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Those two sides meet in the quarterfinals on Saturday, a match-up of the top team in the league and a Red Bulls side which won the cup in 2016.
The winner will meet either No. 2 seed Louisville City or No. 6 Bethlehem Steel. Louisville is led by USL Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster, a 25-year-old Londoner who made a single 12-minute appearance for Tottenham Hotspur against Wigan in 2014.
Out West, there’s another Premier League experienced player who plenty more neutrals have known for some time. Didier Drogba returned after four months off to play three of Phoenix Rising’s final four regular season matches, turning on the juice with a goal in the first round of the playoffs as Phoenix blew out Portland Timbers 2.
Phoenix faces No. 7 seed Swope Park Rangers, which has lost the past two USL Cup finals and should not be overlooked.
The fourth quarterfinal sees Orange County SC and Reno 1868 FC meeting in Irvine. OC is paced by former Akron University standout Aodhan Quinn, who has 11 goals and 15 assists. Former Southampton man Jos Hooiveld is also on the squad, and may be tasked with shutting down Jamaican striker Brian Brown.
Few things provide as much joy as
stadium porn artist renderings of new stadiums.
FC Cincinnati’s do the trick.
And as St. Louis teases a renewed MLS/stadium run without public money, aside from tax breaks, it’s FCC that brings us a look at their new neighborhood.
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Cincy’s new digs feature, obviously, a spectacular pitch — at night, the renderings always should be at night because of lights look great — to go with well-covered seating and a capacity around 26,000.
That capacity would put it in the Top Ten of MLS homes, though well shy of Atlanta and Seattle.
Due to foil technology, the outside *can* be a bright orange suitable to be home base for the Netherlands during the 2026 World Cup and an intriguing outdoor gathering area.
Here’s the timeline:
The full concept plan will be presented to the City of Cincinnati on Nov. 19, 2018 for technical review.
The club’s formal submission of its schematic design, the second stage of design which will include further adjustments following a technical review, will be made to the city on Dec. 3, 2018.
The design development stage will continue into the first quarter of 2019 before a series of final construction documents are submitted ahead of the start of construction on the stadium next spring. The stadium is scheduled to open in March 2021.