Same ol', Same ol
Writing about FC Cincinnati is not fun these days. It really hasn't been fun for awhile now. The team is absolutely trash. The stadium looks awesome. The new players sound great on paper. The new players aren't very good on the field. Weird corporate decisions you can come to terms with but you can think of how it could have gone a little different for the better. The secrets.
Oh god the secrets.
When was Geoff Cameron here for a medical? When did he sign? Will he start this Sunday? How did Lucho break his arm again? What didn't they like about Lundt's game? Why exactly was John Harkes fired again? What did happen with Kenny Saief? What song was Jans singing?
The old line of "you don't see what happens in training" is getting even older. After a preseason that was kept out of view from the public, the whole entire 15 minutes of guys jogging around the field the media gets, the inaccurate and useless injury updates during the week, the coach's instance of not including a formation lineup with the starting line-up.
It reeks of a cover up, doesn't it?
Everything this club does can be interpreted as trying to avoid telling you anything. Sure, buy the tickets, but we won't tell you where you're sitting. Please tweet about the team with the fun hashtag, we just won't give you any information to tweet about.
Hell this might be the only club sanctioned tweet you're allowed to send about the team without possible repercussions. And believe me, there are repercussions.
For a team so concerned about its public image, so concerned about how the.... one media outlet that actually covers the team, The Cincinnati Enquirer, covers the team, they sure like to leave a lot to the imagination. And it's intentionally that way, I assume, since their own club employees ask questions in press conferences with the media because, well nobody seems to care about a team that wins less often than there are full moons.
Because if I were allowed to ask anyone in charge questions, here are some of the questions I'd like to ask them:
"Are you happy with how you've built this roster?"
"Has the ownership given you the tools you need to recruit the players you want?"
"In general, are your signings panning out as you hoped?"
"What lessons have you learned about MLS so far with Cincinnati?"
"Are people right in their impression that you do not seem keen on signing MLS or American players?"
"Have you changed how you recruit or target players from when you first started to now?"
"Why do you think new signings aren't translating to better results?"
"Is Stam managing the team how you envisioned it? Has he put his own twist on your vision?"
"You were criticized in the past for saying it would take 4-5 windows to compete for a championship. You've been in charge of FCC's signings for four windows now, do you still expect this team to be an MLS Cup contender starting the season next year?"
"Was signing Cody Cropper a mistake?"
"What are you hoping to see from Ben Lundt's loan spell in Phoenix?"
"There are a number of players on this team with no obvious backups, Acosta and Amaya were two of them and both of their absences seem to have been felt on the field. Why did they not have backups?"
"Will Kubo's performance so far this season prevent you from going out and signing a player with more defensive midfield experience?"
"Why do we see so many players playing out of their supposed natural positions?"
"Allan Cruz was one of Cincinnati's best players in 2019, but he hasn't seen the field much under your management, though he still performs well for his national team. What is keeping Cruz from more playing time with FCC?"
"What did you see lacking in Ben Lundt's game?"
"How do you feel Joe Gyau is performing at right back?"
"With Acosta out for a few games and no obvious replacement, why not change the tactics or approach instead of fitting players into the existing system?"
"In Acosta's absence we've seen a few different players step into that playmaking role, were you not able to identify a backup in the preseason?"
"In each of the first three matches this year, FCC has looked poor for long stretches of the match without any apparent adjustment in strategy, why is that? Are there changes or instructions that we aren't seeing?"
"You've said before the players are not executing your game plan, have you considered changing the game plan?"
"Your team's setup has not produced a lot of shots so far in the season, what do you see is the biggest hurdle to producing shots?"
And probably 1000 more. Now heck, I'm sure some of these questions have been asked of the leadership. But I haven't seen them, so please send them to me to rub my nose in it, and so I can read them!
There is so much unnecessary mystery around every single aspect of this team it just makes you want to give up caring about certain things. Like green cards and international spots. Do they matter? Should you ever, ever care about them? I'm going with "no". Players randomly get green cards, allegedly have green cards, are injured so the place of their birth is irrelevant now for some reason, they're sent out on loan, they married an American, it doesn't matter. How much does an international slot cost? Who cares, when you don't know how much GAM or TAM any team has at any one time, does it matter? The entire roster rule-book is so confusing it makes Twilight Imperium look like tik-tac-toe.
So yes, the team is bad. Just don't go beyond that. You'll never get a good answer to a question as to why or how. You'll never get anyone's rationale for why one player was brought in and another one was loaned out. If you do make a guess, you can't know what you're talking about. Go with the flow. The team sucks, for now, but probably not forever. And if it is forever, well, they're working on it I'm sure. Why bother asking critical questions? Enjoy the roof over your seat, the Heineken you paid for using NFC, and for the love of god do not, I repeat do not, make a show of being upset like removing banners. What are you, an American soccer fan? Just ignorant.
Enjoy this Nacy Drew team and we'll all find out who dunnit together.