The Three Question Preview

A thrilling 4-3 defeat to Montreal was a refreshing way to lose at home for The FC. After seasons of watching hopeless, miserable soccer this team is at least fun to watch lose.

Brandon Vazquez did Brandon Vazquez things getting another goal and forcing an own goal in the first half. So much so that even Mexican media has noticed Vazquez is eligible for the Mexican national team.

As it turns out "Vazquez to the national team" needed some clarification.

The defense is on the cusp of being in shambles. Reinforcements can't come soon enough for a backline that is proved leakier than the Titanic post-iceberg. That said, how good is Alvis Powell? From getting run out of town in 2019 to being the best player on the field Saturday, it's been a remarkable redemption story. It's a shame we probably won't see an in-form Powell opposite Mata this season.

Kubo and Moreno each struggled today. Kubo couldn't hold onto possession and Moreno couldn't connect a pass. If a few of the rumored names out there are indeed headed to FC's midfield, things will get better. But until then, things are going to look much the same.

Not for nothing, Montreal is a good team loaded with attacking talent. Their placement at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table is more a result of them being in the CONCACAF Champions League than it is with their squad. And I'll be honest, I laughed out loud at Kamara not celebrating against Cincinnati and holding up a heart to the Bailey. If and when this MLS legend retires, I think he'd be up for a 1-day contract with FC Cincinnati to retire in Orange and Blue. And it would be the perfect end to his career (as well as a big middle finger to Columbus who launched him in his prime).

A disappointing result but one Cincinnati was in from start to finish. If you're looking for the team to improve from last year (and the year before and the year before that), this match was fine.

Three Answer Review

Is Brenner an effective starter on this team?

Nope. In fact, with Vazquez and Badji racking up the goals, Brenner probably won't be starting until one of these two gets hurt. To make matters worse for Brenner, Nick Markanich looked pretty good coming in the game today too. In just six minutes he managed a higher xG than Brenner on more shots.

But the biggest issue here is that Brenner isn't starting. Reporting after the game suggested it is a tactical issue, that Brenner isn't up to speed on the game plan, in addition to not wanting to break up Vazquez and Badji. If there is any ability to for FC Cincinnati to make some of their $13 million transfer fee back, you have to think they'd take it immediately.

Will Alec Kann record his first FC clean sheet?

Absolutely not. This match was basically the opposite of a clean sheet. The defense once again was suspect at best. Blackett, Cameron, and Hagglund are not a fast trio. Which means their positioning has to be perfect in order for them to be effective. And, well, it isn't. Getting caught on the counter is a regular occurrence forcing Kann into action. And when Kann was forced into action more often than not it ended in a goal. There's been a fair amount of discussion online post-match about how many of the goals were Kann's fault, and a lot of people are missing the point. Montreal's attacks were effective because they typically started by picking the ball off of an FC midfielder, or they beat FC's defense over the top with speed. Kubo is probably at fault for as many of the goals as Kann is. This was the first match in the Noonan era that the midfield made the same mistakes they did the previous two years: fail to retain possession, fail to break up attacks before they start, and leave a poor defense exposed.

Who are the backup center backs? 

This was rough. Hagglund came out for Brenner (maybe a redemption for the last home match?) while Medunjanin came in for Kubo. Barrel eventually came on for Alvis Powell to finish off the weird changeup on defense. This directly led to Dom Badji playing left back and Gaddis switched over to right back. This is dire. Chris Albright cannot be finished building this roster if this is the plan. Thankfully the scheduling gods blessed FC with moving out the Seattle match that was supposed to happen next week. This is the perfect opportunity for a new signing to be made and be made to gel with the club.

Expected Lineup

Here’s how I see things lining up. 

How they actually lined up
How I thought they might line up

Brenner vs Badji being the only miss which, so I'm giving myself an A+ for this one.

Prediction

I predicted a 4-2 win for FC Cincinnati and, it very easily could have been Montreal and Cincinnati are always an exciting match and this one lived up to the hype. B+ for getting the "lots of goals" part right, but taking points offfor Cincinnati dropping points.