FC Cincinnati Table Prediction: Way too Early Eastern Conference Picks

We take a way too early stab at FCC’s table position

Each year our staff makes their best crystal ball predictions on how FC Cincinnati will play. Last year the group-think set in and nearly all of them put FCC in the bottom 5 positions forcing a re-do by mid-season. Let’s take a dive into this upcoming seasons predictions and see where everyone’s heads are at with the lessons of the past behind them.

Jason Ashcraft – Writer / Co-host

Prediction: 2nd –  Will FC Cincinnati be in the hunt this season? This is MLS we’re talking about. A team can win the Cup and not make the playoffs the following year (right, Caleb?) so who knows? But if I were a betting man…which I am…I would bet that FCC can and should compete for the Eastern Conference championship. Depth will be the big question mark for the club as the Garys will have to compete not only in MLS but also the US Open Cup and Leagues Cup. The club has made some moves to solidify the starting squad but depth will eventually be an issue. FCC might see the departure of one or two key pieces during the summer transfer window and depth will be needed to keep the club in contention. With that being said, I think the Orange and Blue will finish second in the East.

Bryan Weigel – Host

Prediction: 3rd – I stayed far away from this topic last season, but now I think it’s time to weigh in. FCC is setup to withstand injuries or losses in key positions for the first time in its MLS tenure. Yes, it’s nearly impossible to replace the key attacking group 1 for 1, however it’s about as good as it can be with MLS rules. With the likelihood FCC loses Brenner at some point I think a shield while possible is probably a bridge too far. I’m going with 3rd place in the East this season and should the right attacker be brought in during the Summer, FCC should have the depth needed to win or compete for hardware.

Brad Gough – Talking Tactics Host

Prediction: 6th – I tend to be pretty levelheaded. I don’t get too high with the highest, or too low with the lows. That is why I was always viewed as the eternal optimist when FC Cincinnati was in its darkest days. However, that also might be why you all will think of me as a pessimist now. Last year, Brandon Vasquez scored 20 goals in all competitions on less than 18 xG. Brenner tallied 17 on less than 14 xG. Add to that the fact that both strikers might have their heads turned toward a potential summer move, and I’m worried that they may take a slight step backward. Sergio Santos and Dom Badji have not proved they can pick up any scoring slack that arises. Lastly, the defensive depth chart has me sweating. Any injuries to the back line as currently constructed could be catastrophic. I still think this is a good team, but I’d be shocked if they compete for the top seed. Without additions to the back line, they will finish 6th in the Eastern Conference.

Geoff Tebbetts – Jersey Swap Host

Prediction: 1st – Ever heard of the myth of Sisyphus in Greek mythology? That guy banished by Hades to continuously carry a boulder up an incline, only for it to roll back to its starting place, resulting in eternal and useless frustration? That is how I view the teams I support. No matter how rosy things appear, I constantly fear the boulder will roll back to the valley.

Yeah, you have a talented attacking core that put up numbers beyond expectations, but when does Brenner leave, and how does he get replaced? You have a reborn midfield with a bruising defender in Nwobodo, but what happens when the yellow cards pile up? You have a back line that got progressively better in 2022 with Miazga’s arrival, but we also thought the world of Cameron, Blackett, and Vallecilla in 2021.

On the flip side, there is too much depth in the attack to worry about offensive sluggishness. There is too much talent in the likes of Celentano and Kann in net to expect defensive gaffes. There is too much confidence in the staff and management to be unable to recover from lapses. To hell with myths and fear of success. FC Cincinnati destroys that boulder and wins the Eastern Conference.

Jacob Clary – Writer/Editor

Prediction: 5th – While I do think FCC is in for a more stable season than last year, I do feel the offense might underperform compared to a season ago. That being the side’s biggest strength, I do also think they’ll improve on defense thanks to the arrival of Wolves CB Mosquera. Because of these factors, I predict FCC will slot into 5th place on the Eastern Conference table.

Justin Blair – Writer/Co-host

Prediction: 3rd – FC Cincinnati is coming off a historic year last season. With a playoff appearance and win, FCC shattered expectations. Coming into 2023, Head Coach Pat Noonan mentioned they will be in the unusual spot as one of MLS’s hunted clubs. I have to agree with him. FC Cincinnati was one of the clubs that most felt they could rest some of their key players. This was particularly evident during some of the midseason matches. But I do think FCC has tons of room for improvement coming into the 2023 season. From fixing shaky defensive performances to not finding possession on the ball late while protecting a lead. FC Cincinnati has moved pieces around enough for me to feel they are posed to continue trending upwards. I believe FCC will finish 3rd in the Eastern Conference and will host their first-ever MLS Playoff game at TQL Stadium.

Other Predictions –

Boston Brazzell 9th – I said something different on the podcast but after seeing all the above optimism. I’m taking 9th just so I can say I’m a genius if everyone else is wrong.

Jonathan Foster 4th – This year is about Ambition! They’ve held onto key starters and the additions that have been brought in over the winter help to raise the ceiling of the team. But the question will be, when does the ceiling get hit? In the summer or at the end of the year. I think they have an early season schedule that is ripe for the pickings, and FC Cincinnati could be expected to get a lot of positive results, even being a front-runner for the shield going into the Leagues Cup. However, we’ve already seen the sharks circling for Brenner and Vazquez and I don’t see the front office being able to fend off calls for both over the summer window. So even though I think the front half of the season lines up well with FC Cincy being near the top of the league, it tempers my expectations for the finish of the year which has a compressed schedule and will test the depth of the squad where I think there are currently some questions of consistency and talent. Overall still a playoff team, but I think they have a few key exits during the summer window and they go from Shield contenders to finishing with a home playoff game in 4th.

Jeremy Miller – 1st – You know why

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