What can I say about FC Cincinnati and their cadre of official sponsors that I haven’t already said before? Plenty! Just to set the tone, let’s do a quick recap: FC Cincinnati hasn’t kicked a ball yet but have already decided that they’re too good for our league, have a sponsor for literally everything they can possibly think of, and their marketing team might be the most tone deaf thing you’ve heard of since Britney Spears tried to sing without auto-tune. They actually think they’re going to sell out 40,000 seat Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati. It’s gonna be an easy team to hate.
BUT, but, but, this is a conference preview where I’m supposed to tell you things about the actual team we’ll be playing three times this season, so I’ll have to tone down the vitriol for a minute and get to some facts, said the fun police.
Some of these names you might know, which is exactly what FCC was going for when they signed them: former MLSers Corben Bone, Omar Cummings, Antoine Hoppenot, Austin Berry, Andrew Wiedeman, and Sean Okoli. They’ve also got former UofL Cardinal Kenney Walker, and Nate Polak’s brother Tyler (#NateIsBetter). Just looking at the roster and the experience these guys have, they’re a pretty offensively strong team on paper. That said, all those MLS guys didn’t join FCC because the grass was greener in Cincinnati (lol, grass in Cincinnati); it’s because they couldn’t hack it in MLS.
Cincy’s got some solid attacking talent for sure, with Okoli, Cummings, and Wiedeman as forwards, and a strong attacking mid in Corben Bone. Their defense, though, may be their big weakness. Their Number One is Mitch Hildebrandt, formerly of Minnesota United where, in four seasons, he appeared fifteen times. Backing him up are Dallas Jaye, who, up to now, has only played for the Guam youth national teams, and a guy named Dan Williams who doesn’t have a wikipedia page. The only defender with any real experience and success is Austin Berry; the rest are guys who bounced around on loan or played for Harrisburg City Islanders, which is not a compliment. What I’m saying is that unless Cincy’s front six keep the ball, they might be in trouble.
John Harkes, or Toyota John Harkes as he is now called, was a USMNT legend, and a top class philanderer back in his playing days which has nothing to do with how good or bad a coach he’ll be. Thus far, he and his team sport a perfect record in meaningless preseason games held at IMG Academy. Aside from that, he’s never coached a professional game. FCC’s GK coach Jamie Starr left an assistant position at Xavier University to join the staff, and Ryan Martin was an assistant at Wake Forest for several years.
The Pride were the first group who admitted that they kinda liked FCC. Then came Die Innenstadt, which I admit is a cool name. The club itself started The Den, which is hilarious, and is described thusly: “The Den is a supporter’s group geared towards families who want to stand and cheer the team.” WOOOO! Stand and cheer the team! So, like, just regular old fans, then? Watch out, or they’ll slap a sponsor on the Den before you can say “OOOOHHHH EFF SEE CINCINNAAAAATTTEEEEE.”