All fans get to have the enjoyment of sitting on equal footing at only one point during a season, the beginning. Everyone has zero points right now and 34 games to differentiate themselves from the others. We here at Cincy Soccer Talk will be providing rankings throughout the year, but the preseason ranking is usually the most controversial because there are so many variables involved, many unknown.
Below is our initial ranking, who do we have overrated? Who is underrated?
Also, scroll all the way down and see who I felt belonged on the Overrated/ Underrated list?
Estimated Points for the Year based on ranking
|Pts for Yr
|Pts for Yr
|Atl Utd 2
|North Carolina FC
Two Overrated Teams
- Louisville City – LCFC enters the rankings at number 2 in our opening poll and receives that based on last year’s performance and the fact they return almost their entire roster. However, when NASL fell apart, the market was flooded with a number of quality players and Louisville stayed pat as other USL teams jumped on a number of these players. James O’Connor has a system that has proved to be difficult to overcome, but this year may push the limits of that system as the talent level has improved immensely within the league. O’Conner also has one of the smaller rosters in the USL, 20/21 players, the limited roster may create havoc if injuries occur.
- FC Cincinnati – (I can feel the heat already) Yes, my hometown team. Alan Koch has retooled this roster with his players and has made it a point to be a more possession-oriented team. However, the only teams FCC have truly out possessed in preseason were college teams and an Indy XI team that was together for a little over a week. While the team has improved on the backline, the midfield has struggled in its two biggest preseason tests (Nashville & Sacramento). The team is one of the most individually talented in the league, but can they mesh together and control a quality opponent for an entire match? If FCC can figure this out, the team should be able to make a run for the top spot. If they are unable to crack the code, the backline will experience an inordinate amount of pressure and the team will be playing counter based football, much like 2017.
Two Underrated Teams
- Atlanta United 2 – I don’t know if they are underrated but they are more of my wild card team. Everyone knows how successful Atlanta’s first team is, but the quality that could be on display for the second team may be scary even though they could be young. Romario Williams most likely will be their striker and Mitch Hildenbrandt will see action in goal and they are some nice bookends to start out with. Now add in the possibility of some USA youth National players Andrew Carleton, Lagos Kunga and Chris Goslin into the mix and they should be able to give a number of teams a difficult time. How frequently we see these youth players in the USL will be the question.
- Ottawa – The Fury was better than their record showed last year, and they may have improved in 2018 with the signing of NYFC Forward Tony Taylor (Panamanian International), and a backline duo of Canadian Nationals Nana Attakora and Maxim Tissot. Ottawa also re-signed midfielder Gerardo Bruna a major minutes guy in 2017, who should help stabilize their midfield. Some other pieces were a trio of Montreal Impact players loaned down to them for the year. If their manager, Nikola Popovic, can blend all these pieces together the Fury should have a much better year than 2017.