FC Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch made another large splash this offseason with the signing of Jamaican international and NASL Best XI member Lance Laing (@wone_laing7). Laing joins FC Cincinnati after stops in Harbour View (Jamaica), Fort Lauderdale Strikers, FC Edmonton, Minnesota United and most recently with North Carolina FC.
“Lance has exceptional pace and a fantastic left foot,” Head Coach Alan Koch said. “He can play either as a full-back or out wide as a winger. His versatility will give us options and he is a major threat on free-kicks. He not only has the ability to score goals but also has a creative element to his game. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Ohio.”
The versatile left-footed player has made appearances as a left winger, left back and as a left wing-back. He joins returnees Justin Hoyte and Josu as members who could play as a left back, but Laing could seemingly challenge Jimmy McLaughlin on the left wing. Laing offers a different option on the left from McLaughlin by using his left foot to whip in dangerous crosses vs. Jimmy’s preference to dribble inside or cross the ball with the outside of his right foot.
Laing was one of the best players in NASL between the 2011 & 2015 seasons compiling Best XI accolades in 2011, 2014 and 2015. His move to Minnesota United (2016) one season prior to their move to Major League Soccer saw the player experience adversity and a loss of playing time. “I’ve never been on that side of the game, so it’s hard to cope with,” said Laing to TwinCities.com. “I’m trying, but it’s pretty difficult. I’ve been good in this league. I just want it to continue.”
As an example of his professionalism and desire to improve, Laing battled for playing time later in the season and earned a spot in the 2017 preseason camp for the MLS side. Unfortunately, Laing did not make it on the final MLS roster and signed a short-term contract with North Carolina FC. After earning an NASL Player of the Week award in May, Lance signed for the remainder of the season where he scored 9 goals and logged 6 assists in 27 matches played in all competitions.
Laing has played in several high profile international competitions such as the CONCACAF Champions League with Harbor View. He also played in the 2015 Copa America and 2015 Gold Cup for the Jamaican National Team. Most recently, Laing featured left back for Jamaica in a World Cup Qualifier vs. Honduras in late 2015.
In my opinion, this is a high upside signing for FC Cincinnati. Laing is someone who should come into the squad and could compete for one of two starting spots on the left side of the pitch. The Jamaican brings pace, a quality left foot and a top-notch free kick ability, all weaknesses in the 2017 FCC squad. He has battled adversity and had the character to overcome it to have a career season in 2017. The soon to be 30-year-old will bring a veteran presence and should be able to adapt to various difficulties such as playing in smaller venues, physical play of USL, and not shrinking in front of 25,000 screaming fans in Nippert Stadium.
Laing’s signing brings the 2018 squad up to 20 players. The Jamaican does hold a green card and will count as a domestic player under league rules. FC Cincinnati has the ability to sign one additional international player for 2018, but may be able to purchase additional international slots from other USL clubs pending a 2018 rule change.
Coach Alan Koch continues to impress this offseason. He seems to have a clear vision for the 2018 squad and is filling specific roles to realize a championship for the 2018 season. Check out @CincySoccerTalk for any additional signings for the 2018 season.