It’s time once again for the Cincinnati Soccer Talk annual year-end awards, and you — our tremendous watchers, listeners and readers — get to have a say. The CST staff has nominated five FC Cincinnati players as the potential Fan-Voted Player of the Year, and it’s up to you to decide who the winner is.
The nominees are Luciano Acosta, Brenner, Geoff Cameron, Yuya Kubo and Ronald Matarrita. There’s also a write-in option if you think there’s someone else deserving. Here is the link to vote. Voting is open now and continues until 10p p.m. on Nov. 1. We’ll announce the winner that week.
If you can’t decide who to pick, here’s a brief bio on each candidate to help guide you. All stats are as of the start of this week.
In his first full season as FC Cincinnati’s sorely-needed playmaker, Acosta delivered. The 27-year-old is second in goals and first in assists. His 7 goals is his second best tally during his time in MLS while Lucho’s 9 assists ranks as his third best tally. Acosta also is near the league leaders in assists, which should be more if not for better finishing. The Captain has been what was advertised when brought in this Spring. This will hopefully be first of many nominations for player of the year awards for Acosta.
Despite his lack of final product at times and frequent goals called-back for one reason or another, Brenner has managed to set the new single-season club record for goals in MLS (8). The forward has managed to combine on several quality goal scoring chances this season contributing to two assists. Brenner has had a high work rate all season with an ever-changing group of midfielders and wingers likely hampering some stats. Due to many reasons including a lack of offensive identity under Japp Stam, Brenner’s tally should be a bit higher and he will likely hope to crack into double-digits in 2022.
While former GM Gerard Nijkamp has been panned for his roster construction, his ability to lure Cameron to Cincinnati could go down as his best move. The veteran immediately plugged the hole in the Cincinnati defense after joining the club from QPR and has been a consistent performer all season. Cameron leads the team in clearances/90 and in accurate passes/90. Those passes aren’t side-to-side either. His seeking through balls have lead to 3 assists which places him in third on the team. He also is third in interceptions/90 and second in duels won. A player like Cameron was badly needed by Cincinnati. Hopefully some time off will leave him refreshed and allow a duplicate performance next season.
What hasn’t been asked of Kubo in his time at Cincinnati. He has played striker, playmaker, winger, box-to-box midfielder, holding midfielder and more. Unfortunately we weren’t able to see more of Kubo on the wing this season due to injury, but the DP showed well in the midfield under Jaap Stam. His tackles per 90 and interceptions are tops on the team. Considering he had never played this role as a professional, he acquitted himself well after an adjustment period.
FC Cincinnati has been in need of a quality left back since their expansion into MLS. They finally got their man in Matarrita. His offensive production has been the highlight of his game with 4 assists 2 goals in 2021. Defensively, he has won 55% of duels and has been far from the weak link on the back line. It has been a demanding year for the left back who has only featured in 21 matches for the orange & blue. But Mata has gone the distance in all of them. Whether it has been with his combination play or speed down the wings, FCC have got a gem for the future.