Be Happy, FC Cincinnati

Good vibes return after consecutive wins, the stadium design unveiling, and two home games in the next four days.
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In a season rife with disappointment, FC Cincinnati has managed to carve out two weeks of merriment. A 3-2 home win on July 6 vs. Houston led to a 2-1 road victory at Chicago last weekend. The triumph against Houston was the club’s first since May 11. And while the Orange and Blue scored early vs. Chicago and then essentially held on for dear life—the Fire outshot FCC 20-6 (7-3 on target)—FCC displayed a backbone that was missing during recent blowout losses, notably a 7-1 fish slapping against Minnesota.

 

For the first time since they felled Portland and New England in consecutive games back in March, FC Cincinnati has strung together a pair of positive results. Back to Negative Town for a second, though: FCC have only 17 points on the year, fewest in MLS. And unless FCC wins about four more matches in a row, the playoffs remain unattainable.

But still, the club needed this run of good luck. And so did some individual players, like Fanendo Adi, whose game-winner vs. Chicago was his first league goal of the season. Adi, the club’s first-ever designated player signing, has been a massive disappointment this year while battling injuries and getting suspended following a citation for speeding and impaired driving. Still just 28, he’s only two seasons removed from scoring 10 goals in 22 games for Portland.

On another happy note, earlier this week FC Cincinnati unveiled the final design of new West End Stadium. While the whole project still makes me queasy, there’s no denying that the latest renderings of the stadium are enchanting. A few interesting notes:

  • The canopy will cover every seat, with capacity possibly topping out at 26,500.
  • The 59 suites, most in MLS for a team that doesn’t play in an NFL stadium, while not impacting the average fan, are important for securing corporate partnerships. Those suites will be empty if the team stinks, though.
  • The concourses will be “wide” for easy access to restrooms and concessions. That tidbit may elicit a passing glance from most, but anyone who’s been to older stadiums with tiny concourses—think pre-renovation Fifth Third Arena—knows how quickly those small hallways can turn into a certain scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In other off-the-field news, new General Manager Gerard Nijkamp recently said that the coaching search is down to one candidate and that “we have to do something in this roster,” which (quite rightfully) is a shot across the bow at the club’s present talent level. Veteran Dutch center back Maikel van der Werff was announced as FC Cincinnati’s latest signing earlier this month. Bank on more comings and goings in the near future. I’d be shocked if FCC didn’t add an attacking talent or two to help to aid the league’s second-worst offense.

Next up for FC Cincinnati is a home tilt tonight vs. Wayne Rooney and D.C. United, the third-place team in the East. (You best mind the gap, Spencer Richey.) The club then has just two days to rest before another home match on Sunday against New England, which is unbeaten in its past nine league matches under new coach Bruce Arena. (Where was that magic two years ago with the U.S. men’s national team, Bruce?!)

The good news is that FC Cincinnati has at least made its season interesting again. For now.

Grant Freking writes FC Cincinnati coverage for Cincinnati Magazine. Off the pitch, he is the associate editor for Signs of the Times magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @GrantFreking.

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