Friday Funblast: Big Trouble with Little Midfielders
Well, we couldn't make it one fucking week without the need for another one of these. After months of crushing boredom, the ol' FC sure is making shit interesting lately. Anyway, without further ado...
Frankie Goes, a Likelihood?
Deep down, you know that this afternoon was coming. Things had been riding high for everyone who follows the FC – record signings, being tied to big player after big player, no elderly people evicted recently. For one fucking week, life was all burritos and strippers for FC Cincinnati.
At least it was, until yesterday afternoon when bombshell news dropped that Franuel “Frankie” Amaya was asking for a trade from FC Cincinnati. Our diminutive midfielder – the player we all just assumed would be part of any FCC rebuild in a Post Roundtable a few months ago – was demanding to go pick up reckless yellow cards in greener pastures.
Look, I don’t think I’m asking for a lot here when I make this simple plea: Can we not be on a fucking roller-coaster of emotion and bullshit all the goddamn time? Holy fuck – season tickets to this team should come with a fucking neckbrace and a bottle of grain alcohol in the box. You think you’re riding high and then the one player who seems like he gave a shit and was actually trying hard last season goes and pulls the rug right out from underneath your fucking feet.
In his “Dear John (Jeff?)” letter, Frankie led off by highlighting his commitment: “I’ve given everything to Cincinnati and the fans over the last two years and I will always be grateful for their support and kindness,” but quickly pivoted from that teaspoon of sugar to administer his metric ton of medicine. He concluded: “During this offseason I’ve realized that the club doesn’t have the same level of commitment to me, so I have asked the club to trade me as I don’t feel my goals can be achieved in Cincinnati.”
There is a lot to unpack here, but we can start with the obvious: Frankie be BIG fucking mad with Jaap’s plan for how to play and deploy him. “Commitment to me” is athlete shorthand for two things and two things only: money or playing time. With the fact that he’s still on Generation Adidas contract and there’s been no public rumblings of dissatisfaction over money, that leaves one option here. And, if you think on how Jaap has utilized Frankie, maybe you can see where he’s coming from? It doesn’t take a goddamn rocket scientist to see that Frankie wants to push forward, wants to take people on, and wants to be the trigger on man on this team. But, in Jaap’s system, he’s going to be kept back in a destroyer role – a role where he’s shown promise, but that isn’t exactly the sexiest position on the field. And, if he (or – perhaps more importantly – his agent) sees him as a future #10 internationally, the time he’s spending in Cincinnati is being wasted. Frankie may be young, but the clock is always ticking, and you get old in a hurry in this sport.
OK, enough actual soccer analysis. You can DM Kevin Wallace for that shit.
Allow me to be the first one to say it: Fuck Frankie Amaya.
Look, I understand that soccer is the world’s game, but this is still America – and in America, unless you’re a lame-duck President in the last few weeks of your term, there are still some fucking rules. In America, we don’t punish sports teams for being dogshit, we punish great athletes by forcing them to go and play for dogshit teams. It’s one of our most sacred sports traditions and how you end up with situations like megastar Zion Williamson playing in the 45th largest metro area in America. You think Joe Burrow is willingly going to sign up to play for the fucking Bengals and their turnstile bank of an offensive line unless there’s an NFL requirement that he do so? Fuck no. Dude will probably look like Christopher Pike (the old school one in the beeping wheelchair, not the George Clooney looking guy who was cameoing in Super Bowl commercials last weekend) in a year or two after every ligament and joint in his body is shredded, but he’ll still put on that orange helmet every Sunday -- because that’s what great young athletes do here in America. You play for your horseshit team with a fake smile plastered onto your dumb face and say fake nice things about the city you're living in...and then you nope the fuck out as soon as it’s time to sign that first free agent deal. You don’t be an asshole who rocks the boat because, for some reason, you think you’re the special one who deserves better than this uniquely American rite of passage.
But, that’s exactly what Franny did today. He not only rocked the boat, he ran the ship aground Prestige Worldwide style. As far as I’m concerned, he’s left FC Cincinnati with no other option but to take the best offer they can find to get him out of town. It’s been no secret that things in the FC dressing room have been bad for a while. It’s probably to be expected for a club that endured Crazy Uncle Ron’s Racist Karaoke and then followed that up by losing a metric fuckload of soccer games in the middle of a pandemic. Hell, we’re honestly lucky that the locker room culture isn’t just “MRSA” at this point. If things are going to get better in 2021, Jaap needs to be able to create a positive, winning atmosphere – and that’s gonna be hard with all 5’4” of Frankie pouting away in the corner because he isn’t allowed to play the position he wants. The only way to avoid that is to give Franny what he wants: a one-way ticket out of Cincinnati.
Acosta, no Pity needed?
Everyone’s favorite literally named news source, Cincinnati Soccer Talk, is standing by its reporting from last week that Pity Martinez is coming to FC Cincinnati. This story has been disputed by several sources, including Pity himself (though, given how the Saudis handle negative press, he might be playing this one correctly if he wants to leave the country on a flight as opposed to several hundred Ziploc baggies). The underlying assumption to the Pity story is and has been that FC Cincinnati would be able to obtain the #1 spot in the Allocation List from Austin FC. Our own sources within FCC (fuck yeah we have sources) have indicated that, to the shock of absolutely fucking no one, Austin FC are being complete dickheads about selling the slot for market rate and that FCC are actively pursuing MLS league intervention to force a deal (which, given the fact that everyone is all part of the same ownership structure, is the functional equivalent of McDonald’s Corporate being asked to settle a legal dispute between Grimace and the Hamburgler).
Enter the latest rumor: that FCC are targeting former DC United attacking mid Luciano Acosta. Because this is MLS, any rumor must be accompanied by some goofy fucking rule about rights, allocation, or discovery and where money must be sent in order to make a deal happen. The absurdity of it all makes you long for the kind of unrestrained capitalism that sent people to bread lines or saw them paid in company store currency.
Is Acosta a response to Austin playing hardball over the Allocation list (“If you don’t sell us this spot right now, we swear we’re going to pull this goddamn car over…”)? Is Acosta a purchase in addition to Pity? Is this all just part of an elaborate smokescreen to convince Frankie that – no, we really DO want to be committed to your development? No clue. But, it’s fucking awesome that the club seems absolutely laser focused on acquiring someone who can link the midfield to the final third.
(Just kidding – we’re probably still just going to play the ball to the wings and cross it into an empty box)
Word trickled out via the Traditional Media™ that the FC is targeting May for the opening of the currently-nameless West End Stadium. This has tracked with virtually every rumor / leak from the Front Office that indicated that the WES wasn’t going to be ready for a traditional MLS season kickoff. Fortunately for them, MLS also announced this week that the schedule wasn’t going to be starting until mid-April – meaning that any potential of a lengthy road-trip to start the season is now off the table.
There has still been no word, however, on what the capacity or COVID restrictions are for the new West End Stadium. The smart money would have the magic number for fan attendance somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000-8,000 – which raises an interesting dilemma for the FC as to how exactly you go about selecting who gets to experience that first match in this brand-new palace to all things Orange and Blue. Even with people opting not to attend for safety reasons, you’re still going to likely have a large excess of demand. Do you prioritize the big swinging dicks in the club level who are paying the premium? The animals in the Bailey who provide the home atmosphere? Or do you just pull fucking names out of a random draw and whoever gets in gets in? Whatever you choose is gonna piss someone off – so good luck with that.
What I do know is that it’s gonna suck massively to have this awesome new home and look around to see the empty seats, knowing that they should be filled with people who helped build this club and this fanbase and also knowing those seats are empty because no one knows how to wash their goddamn hands.
Alright. That’s all for this week. We’ll see if we need to be back next week to discuss how Jeff Berding was arrested stealing a bag of GAM from Nashville in an Ocean’s 11 heist or whatever other nonsense story breaks between now and Friday. Until then, see you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome.