FC Cincinnati Has a Goal Scoring problem
Lost in the jubilance of drawing a bad DC United 0-0, losing to Chicago Fire 3-0, and drawing rivals Columbus Crew at home 0-0 is the uncomfortable fact that FC Cincinnati hasn't scored a regular season goal in a long time. Like, a very long time.
Since coming back from Orlando FC Cincinnati has failed to score a goal against two fairly weak opponents, DC and Chicago. And while Columbus was expected to roll over FCC, the scoring opportunities were there during the match but none of them connected.
That means the last time FC Cincinnati scored a goal in the regular season is actually the first half of the New York Red Bulls match way back on July 22nd. Yes, FC Cincinnati won that game 2-0. but the second goal was actually an own goal. If you want a non-penalty goal, in all competitions, it's been 407 minutes since you've last seen one.
Under manager Jaap Stam, FC Cincinnati has scored just twice from open play in his six matches in charge. That's a worrying sign for a team that had a historically bad goal differential in 2019.
And obviously, if the offense is not able to score goals that puts even more pressure on the defense to get results from matches. 0-0 draws become the best case scenario for the team. And when are starting the core of a defense that set MLS records for letting in goals, you're not just risking matches but you're setting up the entire team for failure.
The good news in all of this is that FC Cincinnati has had opportunities. Locadia's late shot against DC United took an unlucky bounce. And against Columbus Crew FCC put together 5 shots and two on target. A particular moment in the 17th minute saw Siem de Jong's free kick saved followed by a Joe Gyau header going just wide. If the opportunities weren't there, this would be more worrying, but the team needs to capitalize on these chances.
Looking at the stats, as a team FC Cincinnati is currently at 7.3 expected goals on the season, despite only scoring 5. That translates into just shy of one goal a game. While that's certainly not the sign of a blistering attack, it's isn't terrible. When looking at expected goal difference in the Eastern Conference, FC Cincinnati ranks 8th, above teams like Atlanta United, Chicago Fire, and DC United.
This goal scoring drought isn't all on one person. Jurgen Locadia may be the expensive striker but the entire attack and midfield shoulder the blame for not putting away their chances. The defense has done their job (aside from Chicago) under Stam, it's now time for the offense to pick up the slack.