The last few weeks have not been kind to FC supporters. Games pass by with minimal chances and very rarely any exciting offensive moment. The vision for 2020 has turned into 2019: The Director’s Cut. As often happens when the present reality brings no happiness, we’re left yearning nostalgically for what once was.

Enter Ledesma, whose MLS season was unremarkable by normal standards, but for FC it was remarkable. Six goals and a handful of assists would make him the team leader in 2020, head and shoulders above the paltry totals we’ve seen so far. The current crop has been incapable of playing through the middle, while also being consistently inept at crossing the ball. Rather than being mediocre at several things, I’d prefer having a player like Ledesma who is exceptional at one thing: Crossing!

If FC was the team it planned on being, Manu would not figure into any sort of prominent role. But as currently constructed and performing, he would be a must start. There are too many current players who struggle to excel at any one thing. This would explain my blind love for Waston, who for all his deficiencies is the most dominant defensive player in the air. Ledesma can cross a ball and hold up play. That has value! Siem De Jong has quality you rarely get to see, Joe Gyau is fast but has been increasingly devoid of end product, Frankie Amaya is terrified of going forward, Yuya Kubo comes and goes, Brandon Vazquez is a USL player, Barreal is a project, Mocha Joe is two steps slow, and the list goes on. 

I would take Manu Ledesma over half of this team. He has a tangible, useful skill. How come I still have to talk about that like it’s finding a precious gem? It’s beyond depressing. It’s not that 2019 was a good team, it’s that 2020 is nearly as bad. That should send a chill down every FC fan’s spine. It’s possible at some point this year we will call for Jimmy McLaughlin to play and it will no longer be for the warm and fuzzies. It will be a realistic hope that James can be the spark for a totally lifeless offense. Think about that. It’s insane. 

I hate to sound like the Bailey Facebook page, but that’s the reality of the situation. It may seem like I’m undercutting my whole point by admitting this team’s record is more or less the same with Ledesma on the roster. I’m not. FC is joyless and inadequate. For better or worse, after all the rebuild talk and action, we are a better team with him on it. If that isn’t a stinging indictment of the past twelve months, I don't know what is...