Welcome to the 2nd in our annual series of articles where we ask our staff to predict the future. Will they show genius or cry in horror by season end. Screenshots and banter are welcome, come September. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or if you need more characters at our email firstname.lastname@example.org. This one is a hot topic with many national writers taking the safe bet.
What Place Will FC Cincinnati Finish in in 2022?
Brad Weigel – March 2 Matchday host
9th – I think the midfield pieces will arrive and once you look at FCC’s roster, they have several players many MLS clubs would take. On the back line, Mata, Blackett, Cameron, and Gaddis (if he reverts to 2020 form) really improve the defense. No longer will they have to look left and right to cover for deficiencies at RB and GK. An attacking trio of Acosta, Brenner, and Vazquez and then adding in Badji, Barreal, and Atanga off the bench is tasty. Kubo and Cruz at dual 8’s bring out their strongest skill sets. Add in a coach that sounds like he’s able to impart his ideas to the players and I think the club overachieves expectations.
In my opinion, the ceiling is limited this season with patchwork defensive midfielders rumored to be on the way. Once Albright is able to fully fund the players he wants for the 4-4-2 diamond system, FC Cincinnati becomes very interesting in the league.
Brad Gough – Tactics / Podcast Host
12th – As the resident CST optimist this feels weird for me to say. I believe the team will be much improved this year but most of the teams that finished around FCC last year have added major pieces too. Add in that FC Cincinnati will be playing in a new system that requires everyone to be on the same page, and probably (hopefully?) integrating new pieces in the summer. I struggle to find too many teams that I’m comfortable picking to finish below the Orange and Blue.
Jason Ashcraft – Podcast Host
10th – The formula for success in MLS is simple…win at home. Winning at home was a struggle for FC Cincinnati last year but if the club can be at least mediocre at TQL Stadium, you could see meaningful games being played in September. Brenner getting some help up top with Badjii and an improved Vasquez gives me hope and the addition of a defensive midfielder could be the anchor for an improved team.
Geoff Tebbetts – Podcast Host / Press Box
11th – That’s the data my JEF-9000 supercomputer spat out when I fed it the FCC schedule, eliminated the Dutch variables, and cranked the Philly Factor up to 11. The team hasn’t been retooled as severely as other teams in the East, so a 2022 playoff appearance may not be in the cards. Still, the equipment is there for modest improvements. The software predicts season sweeps of DC United and Charlotte, impressive away wins against Red Bulls and RSL, and a high probability of points at home against Columbus. However, it’s going to take momentum and effort to squeeze points from teams FCC beat in 2021 (Chicago, Toronto) who vastly upgraded their rosters.
If they finish lower than that, then blame the computer bugs!
Nate Gilman – Weekly Tactical Wizard
11th – Chris Albright didn’t try to overhaul FCC’s roster in one offseason. What he did do was find upgrades at key positions and bring in a coaching staff that understands what you need to do to win in MLS. Pat Noonan might take some time to settle in as he learns the ropes of being at the top of the organizational chart but I think his system will put FCC’s best players in positions to succeed more often than not. If that happens, FCC should turn some draws into wins, and losses into draws and get out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference.
Boston Brazzell – Podcast Host / Palm Reader
7th – I picked around this place year and while that might look laughable now, I was just a year off in my vision. It is statistically odd to stay as low as FC Cincinnati has the past three years. In a salary cap league where all clubs have fairly equal footing, it takes work to keep coming in last place. The new changes may not turn into success at first kick but they will factor in. Cincinnati stuns the world and hits the playoff line. Many coaches below them lose their jobs and the spoon meme ends.
Other Staff Picks –
Paul Barvincak 12th
Jeremy Miller – 1st (repeat from last year)
Brad Weigel – 9th
ken Hoetker – 11th