Rotate the Damn Squad
FC Cincinnati faces off against Toronto on Saturday because the schedule is unrelenting. The loser of this match will find themselves at the bottom of the table and a very steep hill to climb to avoid the wooden spoon. For Cincinnati, the team that has finished dead last in the league the previous two seasons, this is a worst case scenario.
But the fact that the team is even in this position in the first place is just a shit-filled cherry on top of a dog shit season. The team has played poorly, the manager has done little to show demonstrable improvement over two seasons, the General Manager has already been fired, and hopelessness has a firm grip on the fanbase.
Why then, are we doing the same things over and over again?
The results on the field tell a story of an underachieving team from top to bottom. So why, when all of this is true, is the starting lineup inflexible? Why are half of the players on the team incapable of making appearances in games? Why are new players being added at the last possible second to play certain positions over other players who have been on the roster for over a year?
There is no punishment for failure on this team.
Brenner has been ineffective for long stretches of the season. That’s fine, he’s a young player learning a new country, new league, and new team. So why not give him a night off and see what Vazquez can do for 90 minutes?
Lucho Acosta has already been injured this season and has a lot of this team’s success on his shoulders. Late in games he fades and it’s obvious to casual observers he’s either tired or discouraged. Why not have someone else fill his role for a night?
Vermeer singlehandedly cost FC Cincinnati the win, then the draw, against Columbus. He’s been out of training all week due to illness. He’s been extremely inconsistent this season. And yet you’d still bet on him being the starting goalkeeper instead of Ben Lundt. Madness.
Nobody on this team has covered themselves in so much glory that they are completely undroppable.
There are plenty of younger players on this roster that have not been given a fair shake at play time. And yes, I’m sure some of them have been injured, but to be honest, I don’t trust this team to be honest about injuries. Players are very conveniently injured when their roster status prevents new signings, new injuries are reported for weeks, and other players (mysteriously only when they’re playing poorly) are carrying secret injuries for months. So excuse my skepticism.
Here’s what I’d like to see at some point:
And feel free to tinker from here. Replace Hagglund for Cameron, let the man be a coach on the field. Or replace Hagglund for Harris and play an irresponsible back 3 but keep the roster as young as possible. But don’t tell me there isn’t young talent on this roster.
If starters on this team don’t think they’re going to lose their job over poor performance, where is there motivation? If bench players don’t think they can impress enough in training to break into the first team, where is their motivation? This team has managed to take all of the risk of playing poorly away while not offering any incentives for the rest of the team.
If the players who have been on this roster for a year now aren’t up to speed to come into the game, that’s an indictment of the coaching. These players should be able to step in and play for a match or two. Every other MLS team seems to be able to do it. Premier League teams give minutes to teenagers. Surely Ben Mines can help loose a game 3-0. I promise you Flanagan can get beat by a winger as well as the other outside-backs have been. But let’s see their potential! Let’s see their ceiling.
At a minimum, we’re going to see injuries pile up in October. And then unproven, untested players are going to be forced into starting roles without having been properly bled into the match day squad. And then that Wooden Spoon is going to end up having to renew its lease in the West End.