Stam Gets His Man - Alvaro Barreal to FC Cincinnati
According the Cincinnati Enquirer's Pat Brennan, FC Cincinnati have signed Argentinian winger Álvaro Barreal. Barreal will take up an international roster spot, one that is not open as of the time of this writing, so it is unclear how FC Cincinnati will in fact open that spot up.
This is a very exciting addition for FC Cincinnati. Barreal is very young, just 20 years old, and will likely be a Designated Player. This will make him a "young Designated Player" and I highly recomend you follow Ken Hoetker's work at Cincinnati Soccer Talk for roster breakdowns and more on how that will impact the balance sheet.
Álvaro Barreal has only played for the club Vélez Sarsfield in Argentina and scored twice in five appearances for Argentina's U20 team. The highlights of Barreal look fantastic, but if you're doing your scouting from highlight reels, you're probably doing something wrong. But you're probably going to look them up anyway so here ya go:
As for the title of this article, FC Cincinnati manager Jaap Stam has been after Bareal for some time now. When at Dutch giants Feyenoord in 2019, Stam tried to sign Barreal. A number of articles pointed to him being a priority for the club, but a deal was never made. Of note here, Stam and Barreal also share the same representation, which likely helped facilitate the move. If you don't have this song stuck in your head, you're probably not an old man like I am.
So where would an attacking play-maker fit into this team? Well, one option might be on the right side of an attacking front three in a 4-3-3 formation. This could cause some reshuffling to happen, but a potential starting lineup would look a bit like this.
An attacking front three that ought to be absolutely dangerous in MLS. A midfield that can win balls, connect passes into the attacking third, and Kamo playing defensive cover and setting the tempo. And yes, I'd love to see Joe Gyau at right back, I think he'd be fantastic and a better version of Gutman on the right. Pettersson and Waston had shown to play well together, though Chicago put a bit of a damper on this looking like a "great" partnership. And Tyton, a likely recipient of a newly printed Green Card, is likely the goalkeeper going forward for the next few years.
Overall, this is a fantastic signing. Young South American talent has been the backbone of MLS as of late, and it is good to see Cincinnati getting into that mix. Barreal will in fact be the only South American on FC Cincinnati's roster, who are currently the only team in MLS without a player from South America. And since Orlando, FC Cincinnati has looked as if it could use an attacking spark going forward, which Barreal ought to bring to the table.