Welcome back to another week of REAL HELL in the Greater Cincinnati Area. It's that truly magical time of the year where the politcal yard signs are in full bloom and the crushing disappointment of being a Cincinnati sports fan really starts to set in. Anyway, onto the recap!

• Upgrade to Windows 4-5

The word of this last week in the Lion Kingdom was “Windows.” I legitimately haven’t heard this much talk about fucking windows since we covered the Defenestration of Prague in AP Euro.

For those of you didn’t follow the nonsense, Gerard Nijkamp – owner of the quietest “J” in American sports this side of Ben Simmons – announced to the world that he believed it would take at least 4-5 “transfer windows” for FC Cincinnati to become a “top” playoff team. There’s been some robust debate as to what exactly that means, but most seem to agree that he’s talking about a time when The FC can be expected to win playoff games (v. backing into the playoffs because the bottom of the conference is dogshit). He also revealed that he only considers this to be his second window, discounting his time here in August because he didn’t have his plan in place yet – which is kinda bullshit, because so far his only “plan” seems to have been “sign dudes who played for or against PEC Zwolle,” and it’s not like he needed an army of fucking scouts / full scouting reports to do that.

I suppose none of this should be surprising. Anyone with a working set of eyes can tell you this is the McDonalds Land Sea & Air Burger (real thing: look it up) of soccer rosters – each part thoroughly mediocre on its own and fucking terrible when put together. Given MLS’s rules on spending and roster construction, which takes the complexity of your average asshole hipster board game and combines it with absurd amounts of fantasy money types (legitimately – I’m convinced the way you get more GAM is to go out in a party of four and walk around fighting monsters with a giant fucking sword), it seems pretty apparent that the roster rebuild is going to take some time. But, still, it feels odd to hear someone associated with the FC Cincinnati’s front office basically confess to fans that the plan of building to this great team in a new stadium was basically bullshit. I’d have expected that bombshell to come AFTER they’ve finished taking deposits for tickets, so score one for #BannerGate accelerating the accountability timeline.

I wish there had been some follow-ups asked to Gerard, specifically on the subject of “OK, but when is this team gonna be better than dead last?” or “How long until we’re not going 5+ games without scoring goals?” Because either one of those would be at least a tangible sign of some progress. Right now, being a fan of this team is a fucking drag because 1-0 feels like “game over” every single time. It’s soul-crushing to root for a team that is this offensively inept, desperately praying for 0-0 results just to get a point and move on. By contrast, losing 4-3 is infuriating but at least you’re feeling something beyond emptiness and apathy, and you can at least always convince yourself there’s a chance you’ll come back in any given game to keep watching. Really, most fans would take that as a step on the road to “being good,” so when is that coming? I said it online, but this isn’t like writing computer code, where shit is either written correctly and compiles or it doesn’t – there should be benchmarks we see along the way where things get better.

Right now, barreling headfirst into having enough spoons to join a jug band, it’s hard to see that bright future in any number of windows, let alone 4-5. And if I were Jeff Berding, I’d be quietly asking around “Anyone think they’ve got a plan to do this turnaround faster?” Because, as it stands, the 2021 ticket calls are going to be a lot fucking harder without all these rollover minutes to soften the cost of re-enlisting.

• An Endless Parade of L's

The FC played a match last Sunday night against the thoroughly hapless DC United and then another one Saturday against Minnesota United. Both were utterly unremarkable for FCC, but the DC United match was particularly galling. On the positive side, FCC managed to keep all of its players on the field for the full 90’, sparing us all any more fucking dumb rallying cries about “Remembering the 9” (spoiler alert: celebrating a dead-last place tam getting a point after being so fucking undisciplined that two of your dudes got sent off is just a massive self-own). On the downside, DC United is legitimately terrible and probably represented FCC’s best chance to grab three points for the remainder of the season. With a follow-up loss to Minnesota United and another DC win, FCC is now back firmly in last place and with the inside track to the Wooden Spoon. I don’t wager DC will win many more matches, so that 11/8 match between FCC and Inter Miami Glauten Globen could, potentially, have spoony implications.

For the Minnesota United match, it was something of a perfect encapsulation of what FC Cincinnati has been under Jaap Stam: desperately seeking a 0-0 result with no real offensive threat presented, only to be shattered by the inevitable goal conceded. In a normal season, for a normal team, giving up a goal in stoppage time would induce violent rage and things thrown in a living room. Now? Really, it’s hard to give a shit.

• Making Zeroes Cool Since Billy Corgan

FC Cincinnati has now been held scoreless in 11 of the matches played since the #MLSisBackAgain season restart. If you’re wondering if that is the highest number of matches in the league, the answer is unequivocally “yes.”

(Their closest competition has 7).

• #FreeJimmy

The only real intrigue in the two matches vs. District Cinematic Universe and Minny United was everyone wondering if Jimmy McLaughlin would get a late run just so that “Actually played minutes for FC Cincinnati” could be added to his Wikipedia page. Sadly, #FreeJimmy will continue yet another week. I honestly can’t decide if I’m more excited to see Jimmy get time on the field or if I want him to keep getting signed to contracts and never actually playing. There has to be some league record for “Dollars per time on the field” that he can break by getting game checks to play 0 minutes year after year.

Also, I *really* want a live mic on Jaap when he tells Jimmy to go into a match, because I’m not fully convinced he knows who Jimmy is or knows his name. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear a “Kid, get in there…” or an “Alright, sport – you’re up,” or whatever word the Dutch use to refer to people when they can’t be bothered to learn or remember someone’s name (personal go-to’s in my life: Boss, Chief, Sport and Cowboy).

• How Many Windows Did Quibi Need? 

In FCC Ownership News: Quibi shut down this past week, overtaking Stormy Daniels’ record for “quickest in history to blow $2 billion.”

Quibi, for the statistically 99.9% of Americans who didn’t subscribe, was the invention of yet another asshole with a business degree who uses the phrase “You know what kids these days would like…” unironically. It sought to create 15 minute episodes of television shows that you could watch in “quick bites” (QUIck Bites – Quibi. GET IT?!? WE’RE FUCKING IN-TUNE WITH THE YOUTHS!). Unfortunately, no one at Quibi (or the morons who backed it financially) realized A.) that YouTube already exists for free, and B.) Nobody wants to subscribe to another dumb fucking service. Literally, the only way new streaming service succeed is by taking something popular already and putting it behind a paywall (presumably while laughing, wearing oversized tuxedoes and lighting cigars on fire with $100 bills). There were 11 subscribers to CBS All Access before they unilaterally announced that the only way to watch Star Trek and the Champion’s League was buying their dumb fucking app (yet here I am, forking over $4.99 per month to watch Kepa be a fucking statute in goal and be mad that Discovery wasn’t about Christopher Pike from the start). Quibi, no such content, was doomed from the start.

And yet, after all this Meg Whitman will still fall straight fucking up because this is America and the rich have more fucking plot-armor in this country than Harry Potter. Rumor has it she’s on the short-list for an appointment to a potential Biden Administration, so maybe if we all beg enough, she’ll find some of that mythical Ukrainian bribe money and we can actually sign a real set of DPs for the 2021 season.

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And with that, we’re done for the week that was in FC Cincinnati. Go vote, get your last minute drinks in before Hamilton County goes Barney the Dinosaur, and I’ll see you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome.