2016 marked a great inaugural season for FC Cincinnati, but now it is time to focus on the sophomore campaign for the Queen City’s pro team. Last week, we compiled a list of realistic Forward targets that John Harkes and his staff could bring in for the 2017 season. As part two of our series on potential additions, we wanted to explore attacking options out wide.
Today marks the Winger pool. FC Cincinnati has some quality wingers in Jimmy McLaughlin and Andrew Wiedeman, but the depth after them falters a bit. We wanted to put some names that could challenge the two “incumbents” going into next season.
General Manager Jeff Berding commented on several programs including our podcast that FC Cincinnati will be aggressive in the off season and I couldn’t think of a more important spot that up top. The landscape of the league is ever-changing. With the inclusion of Tampa Bay and their talented roster led by Joe Cole, we will include a “hyped” player on our list that could bring as much cache as talent.
Big Board of Wingers:
The former US Youth International has struggled to find consistent starting time with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers after 2 successful seasons with Indy XI. Pineda is most comfortable on the right wing and can provide good pace & service. In 2016, Pineda had a 83% passing accuracy including 61% on his long passes (OptaStats). He is still young (will be 24) and was the first ever home grown signing by the Chicago Fire. He would go into direct competition with Wiedeman, or that could free Harkes to go into a 4-4-2 formation.
Alex Morrell – (Chicago Fire/Saint Louis FC)
The second round draft pick (Chicago Fire) out of North Florida made 4 appearances for the Fire and an additional 2 while on loan at Saint Louis FC. Morrell seems to be stuck behind some pretty stiff competition in Chicago and could be looking for a new home this off season. He is more comfortable on the right side, where he uses his above average foot skills and play making ability to set up assists for his forwards. Similar to McLaughlin in that he still can provide speed, but is best while on the ball in making things happen.
Kadeem Dacres – (Louisville City SC)
FC Cincinnati fans remember his exploits in the first Dirty River Darby back in April. The winger repeatedly ran at the Cincinnati attack sparking several creative chances for our rival down south. On Sunday 11/21, Dacres tweeted that he was leaving LCFC and I would love to see him end up at FCC. He is a burner that when put in the last 20 or 30 minutes of a game, will cause tired defenders to crack. He could also provide depth or different looks vs. opponents. Opponents will also have to game plan for his speed.
Jose Barril – (Harrisburg City)
The Spaniard has played his last three seasons at Harrisburg City following his time in Madrid in the Real Madrid Academy (La Masia). Barril notched 7 assists in each of the last two seasons for Harrisburg. That is great considering they have not had much attacking power in that time. He is out of contract this off season and has been on the record of mentioning that he was impressed with the atmosphere in Cincinnati. Could the USL Second Team All League member be interested in coming to Cincy due to the overall impression of the club? I’d be interested to see if this comes into play on several new off season signings.
Aguilar had a disappointing second professional season after a 2015 season which saw him appear 17 times for his parent club. Instead of progressing for United, Aguilar only made 6 MLS appearances and an additional 15 while on loan with Richmond. The right midfielder was replaced in DC by several MLS vets including former Red Bull Lloyd Sam. He can provide good pace for a Cincy squad lacking that and is a young player that could be around for several seasons. Aguilar also has above average foot skills and could play off a striker as a withdrawn forward.
The 25 year old was loaned out to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks this season instead of going to the Rapids USL affiliate Charlotte. This could mean many things, but to me it sticks out that he is not in the Rapids plans. Doyle can play on either wing or up top off of a striker and he provides some size standing at 6’2″. Doyle needs consistent time if he is to regain a spot in MLS and he could look at Okoli as an example of what positive things can come from a stint in Cincy.
This would be a big money move for FC Cincinnati. Once a hallmark for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and the NY Cosmos, Restrepo joined the Philadelphia Union with high hopes of making it in MLS as a starter. Instead, the Union shipped Restrepo to Bethlehem where he made 8 appearances for the developmental squad while earning only 4 for the MLS side. He has already been dropped off the Union’s roster and is a high risk-high reward type signing. His pace and creativity could add to the current squad. I just think his contract demands may be too high for Cincinnati.
Donnie Smith – (New England Revolution)
Hoped to rebound after losing the entire 2015 season to a groin injury. Smith is a versatile addition and could provide depth on the left side as a midfielder and defender. The 25 year old made 1 appearance for the Rochester Rhinos in April and played in 4 matches for the New England Revolution. It seems like his time may be up in New England after not seeing consistent minutes in any of his 4 seasons. I like the fact that he has played multiple roles for his club and could be utilized in a utility role in Cincinnati.
Lovitz is another versatile left sided player who has spent time as a winger and a wing-back in Toronto’s 3-5-2 system. A free agent this off season, Lovitz made 12 appearances for Toronto including 5 starts. He has been positioned to overlap with attacking players, but has struggled with his crossing ability. TFC coach Greg Vanney has celebrated his creativity as well as defensive capabilities. Loves taking advantage of space and running at defenders.
HYPED: Jerome Kiesewetter
FC Cincinnati would have to battle several MLS squads to bring in Kiesewetter. The German-American joined 2.Bundesliga (Germany) side Fortuna Dusseldorf over the summer after troublesome period for Hertha Berlin & Stuttgart. This move would take a large transfer for FC Cincinnati, but they would add a player who made a USMNT appearance last January. Kiesewetter is a pacey player and could instantly add firepower to the FC Cincinnati attack. He has the ability to play off a striker or on the wing dribbling at defenders or playing in crosses. Soon to be 24, some teams may stop wanting to develop Kiesewetter, but I think FC Cincinnati could add and pitch him that he will be the face of the franchise going into MLS.
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