Grayson Chalmers

FCC needs to exercise Locadia’s purchase option. Nijkamp’s seat has to be so hot you can fry an egg on his forehead, and this team still has a number of holes - they need at least one center back (I think two), an heir apparent to Kamo/Haris at the 6 (or a replacement if Kamo isn’t the answer), and to sort out the 8/backup 10. And that’s assuming the other players we have (like Gyau at RB) actually work out. It’s looking like Nijkamp is leaving most of this to the secondary transfer window, which means there will still be a lot of players to settle into the team midseason. Add replacing a DP attacker? Then we’re looking at another disaster of a year, unless you think Calvin Harris is the next Daryl Dike. Nijkamp’s only hope at a decent season and keeping his job is going in on the attackers we have, hoping they work out, and doing his best to limit the instability. Otherwise, we’re going to be hearing “they’re still getting used to each other and learning the system” as an excuse for the next 2-3 spoons.

Max Ellerbe

Short - we’re gonna be good this year. Our defense was statistically average last year according to my colleague Kevin Wallace and I’m not going to investigate that fact and will take it as gospel. We’ve added firepower that would make a mid table  EPL team blush and yet we’re still predicted to be woeful. I don’t buy it; and I think a fair number of MLS pundits are going to be retconning their dog piling of Cincinnati. I hope everyone’s ready for the league’s most insufferable fans to throw the middle finger in every direction this year.

Chief War Pig

My absolutely flaming hot take is that FC Cincinnati will be a complete mess of contradictory football this season that Jaap Stam can't hold together. The ingredients for a disaster are staring everyone right in the face -- a club that is clearly built to score lots of goals, with a ton of question marks and minimal depth on the backline, led by an unproven manager with a defense-first mindset. This is a team that, on paper, should have a ton of firepower, but that isn't how Jaap wants to play. His instincts are to defend first, defend second, and maybe see if a goal or two happen along the way. That isn't how this club is built at all. They spent all the money up front, and the goals leaking out the back will stop Jaap from ever deploying it properly. It's going to be a spectacular disaster, and we'll be back on the managerial market by August.

Troy Breisch

You know where this one is going: Ronald Matarrita records more goals + assists than Yuya Kubo. Stam has stated recently how he plans FCC’s offense to be set up in a way that pins the opposition’s defense in their defensive third. A key component to make this effective is for the wingbacks to be involved in the attack and fly up the field when countering. Mataritta already excels offensively and FCC’s plethora of attacking options means that Mataritta could do his best Trent Alexander-Arnold impression more than he had in New York. Kubo has never flashed much potential to me and did not look great by any means playing in the midfield last season or in their only live-streamed preseason contest against Chicago. I don’t think Kubo possesses the work rate to play the #8 role in Stam’s side effectively or often. To double down on this, I don’t believe it’ll take long until Kubo is regularly being brought off of the bench either. Much like last nights’ surge in Dogecoin, MATARITTA TO THE MOON! Kubo on the other hand, eh.

Kevin Wallace

My hot take is the player of the year for FCC will be a mid-season addition. Things are lining up perfectly for FC Cincinnati to be a good team, hell a playoff team team. FCC has done well with Atanga and Vallecilla as young, big-upside guys. Word on the street is they're still looking to add a centerback in the first month or so of the season. Which means in the summer the defense will be sorted, Locadia will be going back to England, or wherever Brighton ship him off to, and there will be a DP opening for a competent team. Bringing in another midfielder to play as a box-to-box player, someone who can dominate games, would be an upgrade on what Amaya offered. Assuming the season isn't off the rails by the summer, the addition of a player like Mark Anthony Kaye for LAFC just might be the piece missing from taking this team from good to really good. And that player will be FCC's season MVP.