We’re on to the second game of The FC's season and it already feels like last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Folks, this team hasn’t been good, wasn’t good last week, and has some key starters (probably) missing for this one. Buckle. Up. 

Fortunately DC United look to be a not great team. Unfortunately, they beat a bad Charlotte side last week 3-0. This is a battle of two rebuilding teams but DC has a head start. Hope for the best but expect the worst here. 

Here are the three questions I’m looking to have answered tonight: 

Do the fans still care?

Pretty harsh question to start off with, but it’s been a question on my mind all offseason. The weather is going to be perfect tonight, the team is back to playing, the Reds don’t look like plying any time soon, and the Bengals Super Bowl run was fun but very much in the rearview mirror at this point. Xavier and UC both appear set to miss the NCAA tournament to boot. So the city’s entire sports attention should be on FC Cincinnati tonight. Do they care? Do more than 20,000 butts sit in seats tonight? Do fans walk out at halftime if the score is lopsided? Does the Bailey sing in full force? I sure hope so, but it sucks that it’s a fair question right now. 

Can Kann get his mojo back? 

Alex Kann had a terrible outing last week at Austin. Regardless of what happens in front of you, giving up 5 goals is never a good look. All of the advanced stats that said Kann would be a fantastic starting keeper pretty well reverted back to the mean after that one as well. Rough. Back home at TQL Stadium, can we see Kann make his comeback? You’ll know the answer to questions 1 and 2 if the fans find a new keeper song/chant idea for Kann before the end of 90 minutes. 

3) What’s the backup plan? 

Brenner is still working his way back into the team and is probably 50/50 to start tonight. Gustavo Vallecilla is on the injury report, as is Ronald Matarrita. That’s your starting striker, left back, and left center back expected to be out tonight. So what’s the backup plan? We could see a three center back formation, we could see three center back with one filling in as an outside back (Blackett on the left of Hagglund on the right). We could also see the return of second round draft pick Nick Markanich to the starting lineup. Nobody (outside of our own Grayson Chalmers mind you) expected him to start last week at Austin, and he could very well get the start here again tonight. He looked ‘fine’ against Austin, but goals will need to be scored if FC Cincinnati is hoping to win games this year. But could we see Dom Badji, who has dropped off the injury report, move to the starting role? 

Expected Lineup

Here’s how I see things lining up. 

Prediction

3-1 FC Cincinnati and folks, that’s the hOpe talking.