We've got a roster moving slowly from "Still calibrating..." to "Complete" status. We've got actual games on the actual schedule right now. Are we having fun yet? So, without further ado...

Acosta’d by the News

After much waiting, news broke (courtesy of The Post Cincy) that the long-rumored Lucho Acosta transfer had been finalized, giving The FC the #10 they’d been desperately seeking since forever. Grayson broke it down yesterday but because this is MLS, Cincinnati will be giving DC United $550,500 in Tricky Don Funbucks in order to sign a player that refused re-sign with DC United. This is where people smarter than me bellyache about cap concerns and -- you know what, who gives a shit. It’s fake money, and I’m convinced that if Berding gets together with Cloud, Tifa and Barrett they can go out and fight random encounters to earn a few million more GAMs over the course of a few days (minus whatever they lose gambling on Chocobo races). The big news here is that, once again, the FC set its sights on a top-quality player and made the acquisition in an area of need. You can question the end product, but you absolutely cannot fault the FO for not opening up the wallet to spend on high-level acquisitions over the past two seasons. After decades of watching the Reds dumpster dive for pitchers who had been under the knife more than Julius Caesar, this is an absolutely welcome trend.

So, in the immortal words of President Jed Bartlett: “What’s next?”

Looking at the rest of our DPs: The Post is also reporting that Alan Cruz (bay-bay!) is being actively shopped by the FC and is a good bet to be elsewhere before the team breaks camp and heads to Florida. Word on the street is that Cruz has been on the outs with His Baldness since showing up to the Hashtag MSL is Back training out of shape. Whatever the case was, it was readily apparent to anyone watching these games that Jaap simply didn’t favor Cruz – if you can’t get on the field for a team that went fucking months not scoring goals while healthy, it’s probably a sign your future needs to be elsewhere. Flipping him would hopefully bring in some extra Funbucks. I’m assuming, based on an utter lack of discussion regarding his name, that Yuya Kubo – the most disappointing thing to come out of Japan since the N-Gage – is sticking around to torment us with his shitty touches for another season.

Which brings us to the strange case of Jurgen Locadia. Loca’s loan is up this summer, and the buy number for the contract now seems like an absurd price to pay for a man who often looks like he learned how to run by reading a goddamn Wikipedia article. There was some chatter regarding Brighton’s efforts to find a more permanent home for everyone’s favorite DJ with a soccer side-gig, and given the somewhat-tepid support he’s received from his GM recently, you get the sense that FCC wouldn’t have been too broken-up if that were to have happened. I know everyone has already mentally moved on from Loca, but I had a chilling thought while writing this: What if Loca shows up and is really good in this new setup?

On paper, the ingredients are there for a real breakout showing for him: a very good attacking mid joining the team, a creative Brazilian striker taking the goal-scoring pressure off him, and a full offseason to get fit and feel comfortable in Jaap’s system. If Locadia comes out of the gates firing, it’s going to create a massive dilemma for our Silent-J GM – you’ve already seen how bad things can look for Loca (A: “have you actually played this fucking sport before?” level of bad), but if he’s scoring goals / being part of a dynamic attack and the team is *finally* fucking winning soccer matches, is there any price too high to keep the good vibes going as we creep closer to the home o?

I guess that’s why other people make these decisions (that, and because I’m usually drunk when watching the games so everything is either the greatest thing ever or the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen).

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY

The internet was flooded this week with pictures and videos of the [INSERT CORPORATE SPONSOR HERE] West End Stadium’s LED light “fins” being tested as we inch closer to opening afternoon. The spectacle is genuinely impressive and reminds you how far Cincinnati has come, considering just 10 years ago the only bright lights you’d see in that part of the city were of the flashing Blue or Red variety. Any fears that the fins were too far apart seem to have been allayed by seeing them lit, and you can definitely see how they’ll be able to do some cool graphical displays on the side (though, we’ve got the over-under before someone accidentally puts a PornHub video on the side at “6.5 months”).

Inevitably, this brought out the complaining assholes online and the familiar whines about the stadium being the worst thing ever and something ruining their neighborhood. Let me begin my response to this with a general sentiment of “Go Fuck Yourselves.” The only people with any right to complain about the stadium are people who actually live in the West End or who lived in Over the Rhine prior to it becoming a trendy place to grab brunch. For everyone else: fuck off. You don’t get to bitch about someone new moving in who you don’t like when you kicked the original population of the neighborhood out to make room for yourself. If the lights bother you, go buy some heavier drapes for your million-dollar condo and shut the fuck up. You’re living in a goddamn city – if you want quiet nights and the ability to stargaze, Wilmington is that way.

Additionally, miss me with every bit of this shit about “fitting the character of the neighborhood” – if everything had to look like what came before it, there wouldn’t even BE a fucking OTR. Or it would look completely indistinguishable from every other neighborhood in every other city, and no one would give a shit about it. I hope they keep the stadium lit 24/7 and turn the brightness up to a billion. I want the stadium to be the last fucking thing Elon Musk sees in orbit before he nopes off to Mars in one of his giant-ass rockets. I want the LED glow to be an ever-present middle finger to the haters and losers (of whom there are many) that we built this goddamn team and this goddamn stadium when everyone told us it would never work here in Cincinnati.

Also, as an aside – when writing this, it occurred to me that someone, at some point is going to suggest we use the song “Fins,” by Jimmy Buffet inside the stadium. I want to preemptively stop that shit right now. I don’t give a fuck that the stadium has giant fins on the outside, or that Cincinnati gets name-checked in the first verse. Do not fucking care. Jimmy Buffet is garbage music for Boomers in a perpetual state of midlife crisis, mad that they wasted their lives sitting in a fucking cubicle but unwilling to do drugs and follow a band that actually parties like the Dave Matthews Band, Phish or the Dead. So instead, they follow this dickhead charlatan who has turned a mediocre level of music ability into a lifestyle empire dedicated to peddling a bullshit “Carpe Diem, but at the beach!” brand. He sells you the music -- and then the shirt, the ticket to his cornball Broadway musical, and an overpriced, shitty cheeseburger at one of his soullessly corporate “Margaritaville” restaurants (a place so fucking awful that the Hard Rock Café replacing it at the casino downtown actually represents an upgrade). Jimmy Buffet is the opposite of hype and as authentic as pair of Oakleys being sold on the street corner. Yet, I know with absolute fucking certainty that some moron in some meeting with a stupid title like “Vice President of Gameday Music Presentation” is gonna actually suggesting playing his pile of shit song at games this season. It cannot be allowed to happen. I would rather have the entire fucking stadium get Rickrolled or get the goddamn Baby Shark song on endless repeat than hear “Fins” get played in the stadium once. Fuck Jimmy Buffet.

OPENING DAZE

Because MLS is, objectively, the dumbest fucking league ever, we still don’t have a full schedule despite matchweek 1 being just over one month away. We did, however, learn that The FC is going to be playing Week 1 against Nashville FC, Week 2 against NYCFC and (eventually) opening the West End Stadium on May 16th against Inter Miami FC.  

Seeing this got me genuinely bummed out, because I was hoping that all of our “regional travel” type games would be a lot later in the season, when hopefully more people would have gotten their 5G chip from Bill Gates and been more willing / able to get out and go to away matches. Nashville, especially, is a game that I had circled (or “hearted,” like the stupidest fucking plot point in the first episode of “WandaVision” where it was trying to be the answer to the question “What if the 'Dick Van Dyke Show' was written by the least funny person you know?”) because there are so many things I need to see and experience down there. I need to be there to *experience* a Gibson Guitar Riff in all of its marketing synergistic glory. I want to see just how many pedal wagons full of bachelorette parties get dropped off at the stadium to hang out for a few minutes of soccer before they go off to get smashed at the Feed & Seed. I want to see Brenner hang a hat trick on them and watch their fans ragequit twitter in the aftermath. And, most of all, I wanted to see it with a full cadre of fellow travelling Pigs to soak it all in. Alas.

The other *slight* bummer was finding out that the grand opening of the West End Stadium is going to take place on a Sunday afternoon (4PM kickoff). Sunday kickoffs are the absolute worst and the late-afternoon / 4PM slot is the worst of the worst. It puts you in the unenviable position of needing to choose between attending the match and drinking responsibly or having a proper experience and fucking the start of your workweek. Showing up to work hung over is on the Mt. Rushmore of low-key worst experiences to have as an adult (alongside “Being forced to attend a couples shower” and “Having a close friend or family member get heavily involved in a multi-level marketing scam”), so living it up on a 4PM kickoff is probably going to cost you a vacation day as well. Add in that you’ll miss getting the full experience of the aforementioned LED light fins, and you start to wonder just what we’re doing here (no, I won’t quote that fuckface directly).

There is *some* good news here, though. With the governor setting some firm benchmarks for the State of Ohio to reopen, a mid-May opening date for WES is a good bet to be at a higher capacity than the current 30%. More incentive to keep pushing everyone you know to get the goddamn vaccine and get us closer to open availability for everyone.

SCARVED FOR ATTENTION

It’s scarf teaser season. For those asking: Yes, the Pigs will be returning with a 2021 scarf. We missed a full year of nonsense last season, and we’ll be damned if that happens again. We could give a teaser, but where is the fun in that? Suffice it to say, it’ll be something befitting the soccer Renegade status FCC supporters hold out there in the world.

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Alright, that’s all from us. GAM forever. GIL never. We’ll see you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome.