There’s just two weeks until Santa comes down the chimney to put presents under our trees after checking his list twice. But Santa isn’t the only one the Cincinnati Soccer Talk staff is sending a Christmas list to this year. We’re also asking for presents from FC Cincinnati. In this roundtable, CST staffers will share what’s at the top of their wish list from the Orange and Blue.
What do you want FC Cincinnati to get you for Christmas?
Rob Peirce — Director of Content — @rspeirce
What do I want FC Cincinnati to get me for Christmas? I’ll leave discussion about particular positions to my CST colleagues. I’ve got something simpler on my list — I’m asking FC Cincinnati for excitement.
We all know this has been a dark, hard year for a lot of us in our daily lives, away from sports. We turn to sports as a means of escape, something from the world we used to know as normal. Not to turn too dour, but being an FC Cincinnati fan was hard enough this year remotely, away from Nippert Stadium, our fellow supporters, the pregame hangouts and all the camaraderie that comes with the matchday experience. Add in the product we saw on the pitch this year — with the feeling a draw was the best result and conceding just once meant defeat — and watching the club play from afar often brought more misery than excitement.
Of course the excitement for FC Cincinnati in 2021 is the new West End stadium. I already know where my seats are, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging all around us, it’s uncertain when my family will be able to sit in them.
The most electricity I’ve ever seen around this club was the expansion announcement and first MLS home game, the latter almost two years ago now. It’s been a while. Whoever takes the list to Santa, you’ve got a hungry fanbase in dire need of excitement. Watching Nashville chug along in the playoffs while FC Cincinnati is left holding a wooden spoon in each hand is no fun. No matter how you do it — hypnotize Jurgen Locadia if you have to, add a No. 10, change the formation, whatever it takes — please give us some excitement for Christmas.
Nick Seuberling — Cincinnati Soccer Talk host, CST founder — @nickseuberling
What would I like for Christmas from FC Cincinnati? Simply, goals. That’s all. I need the team to score and bucket loads of them. I need a reason to get off my seat with excitement. I don’t want to sit and watch boring defensive park-the-bus soccer. Can we please bring in talented players with the ability to create and score goals? Yeah, it might mean you have to break out the pocketbooks and spend money. But if you don’t do it — that brand new shiny stadium you just built soon will be empty, Covid or not. Give the fans that you say built this club a reason to get excited again. Invest in young attacking players with the ability to score goals! A playmaking attacking midfielder, a striker that’s lethal in the box. PLEASE!
Jeff Wallner — podcast co-host, website contributor — @JeffWallner
The best Christmas gift for me from FC Cincinnati isn’t something they can control. This gift requires cooperation from leaders worldwide, scientists, doctors, all of us, and perhaps even some divine intervention. What I want is on the day that West End Stadium (or whatever the sponsor which has bought the signage calls it then) opens, I want to see every seat filled. In the shadow of our fine city, I want a sea of Orange and Blue filling every seat in our shiny new MLS-soccer-specific stadium. I want to hear the drums and the chants, I want to smell the food and beer, I want to feel the energy of 26,000 people. I want the West End, Over-the-Rhine, and Downtown to feel alive on an FCC matchday. Of course, I also want a rebuilt roster, I want shots to find the net, and I want our club to win. But my first wish is to see us celebrate together again, to see the dawning of a new era for FC Cincinnati, our city, and for us. I can’t wait until the first day that I see our new stadium filled to the rafters with something more than cardboard cutouts. That’s my wish.
Bryan Weigel — podcast co-host, website contributor — @BryanWeigel
Jingle Bells, Atlanta smells, Nashville laid an egg, Columbus Crew is the Heel and hope they lose Saturday. Well, 2020 stunk so FC Cincinnati, go out and prove to me that you really want to win and sign a legit, no doubt DP 10. You see what Zelarayan, Lodeiro, and Reynoso have done during the playoffs, and there is clearly no player on FCC like them. I still advocate that there are good pieces on this roster that a playmaker will help maximize to their potential. I feel like a #10 is the Nintendo Switch of my Christmas list. Give me that and I don’t need much else. Maybe a blazing right back as my version of Mario Kart, but I won’t be too greedy. Hope I am not disappointed and crying on Christmas morning. That feeling has been all too real in FCC-land over the past two years. Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas. Be safe y’all.
Jacob Clary — website contributor — @JacobClary25
While some might be looking for a Nintendo Switch this Christmas, I’m looking for a PlayStation 5, and by that, I mean hope. I want a reason to believe in this team again. It feels like decades ago since I watched an FC Cincinnati match and was comfortable watching them play the scrubs of the world. Now we’re the scrubs! This Christmas, I want FC Cincinnati to give me the feeling of continual hope back and change what they have been doing for the last two years.
Bryan Weigel — podcast co-host, website contributor — @BryanWeigel
Jacob, if you are asking for a PS5, you know our wish will be unfulfilled….
Paul Barvincak — website contributor — @TallPaul2828
What I want for Christmas from FC Cincinnati is relevancy. Remember when FC Cincinnati was relevant? It was fun packing into Nippert Stadium watching the Orange and Blue take on an English Premier League opponent, watching us run through the US Open Cup in 2017 and beating Nashville in the playoffs. However, throughout the past two seasons, I’ve all but abandoned hope about halfway through the season. Simply put, when teams turn it up a notch for their playoff push, we have been left behind in the dust. I don’t care how it is done, I just want FC Cincinnati to be relevant in Major League Soccer.
Brad Gough — Talking Tactics host, website contributor — @FCCincyTacTalk
My Christmas list for FC Cincinnati is long this year. This roster needs A LOT of help if it is to be a contender. However, I don’t think this team is that many pieces away from respectability. So at the top of that list is an outstanding center back that can cover ground, build out of the back and has good defensive instincts. A center back of that caliber makes everyone else along the back line better. He allows the outside back on his side to get forward with much more regularity because of the mobility he has to cover on the flank. A great example of the turnaround a team can make with a key piece or two is Minnesota United. They were roundly considered to have the worst roster build of any expansion franchise in history — that is until FCC came along. After their second year, they weren’t much further on than FCC are currently. They finished that year 11-3-20 with a -22 goal differential. However, they made the playoffs in the third year, finishing 15-8-11 with a +9 goal differential. So what happened? Sure, the Loons brought in a total of 12 new outfield players. However, in my opinion the most important of these was Ossie Alonso as a holding midfielder and Ike Opara as a center back. These two players changed the way that Minnesota United was able to play, and flipped that goal differential on its head. My hope is that FCC already have their defensive midfielder in Kamohelo Mokotjo. So, dear FC Cincinnati front office, all I want for Christmas is an Ike Opara level center back. Is that too much to ask?
Chris Asbrock — website contributor — @iamchrisasbrock
What I want for Christmas from FCC is to do whatever it takes to win. Cincinnati sports fans are seemingly visited by Krampus every year instead of Santa. Just a few years ago, the fun that was had by all at Nippert Stadium made it easy to numb the pain of the Reds and Bengals. Now, FCC has become one of them in the landscape of pro sports in the city. I want this team from top to bottom to do what it takes to win. For years, we have been hammered by mediocrity and FCC was supposed to combat that. We have seen nothing of the kind over the last two years. With that being said, Santa, please bring us a team that will be relevant for many years to come because we deserve it after these last two years.