That was a dreadful Saturday.
The Reds lost. FCC lost. Yerson Mosquera got stuck in Canada.
Hopefully this was just a one-off and Brandon Vasquez scoring a late equalizer for the US is the positive omen that good times are right around the corner again!
At Bat: July 1st v New England Revolution; 36 pts, 2nd in the East:
The New England Revolution come into Cincinnati touting an unbeaten streak that has lasted for the whole month of June, including a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday.
After sustaining multiple injuries in May, the Revs took some time to stabilize, but have ridden the hot hand, as the team’s front line of Gustavo Bou (1 Goal, 1 Assist), Bobby Wood (2G, 1A) and Giacomo Vrioni (1G, 1A) have produced enough danger for midfield maestro Carles Gil (2G, 4A) to thrive. With an FCC backline struggling with depth options, it will be a tall task to hold the Revolution attack in check.
On Deck: July 8th @ Charlotte; 24 pts, 10th in the East:
Either Charlotte is an inconsistent team or they have a witch doctor enticing each team to play to their level. They have drawn each of their last three games (Montreal, New York Red Bulls, Seattle) and had moments in each where they appeared to be running away with the game.
However, it may be a chance for each team to introduce new players, as it is the first game after the Transfer Window opens. Charlotte will be introducing Scott Arfield from Rangers to shore up the midfield, while Cincy will introduce striker Aaron Boupendza in a matchup against a backline that has given up the most goals in the league this season.
In the Hole: July 12th v New York Red Bulls; 23 pts, 11th in the East:
Despite missing their starting left back, John Tolkin, to national team duty, the Red Bulls went out and thumped Atlanta 4-0 this weekend. They overwhelmed Atlanta with the high press and forced them into several mistakes that the extremely excellent player Frankie Amaya was able to pounce on. One can only hope this former first-overall pick will find his way to Cincinnati as a backup for Lucho, as he is someone I think everyone would be excited to cheer for!
Checking in on the West
After severe storms tore through the West on Wednesday evening, the conference was able to resume play on Sunday. Not that anyone informed the Rapids or Galaxy of this. Playing to a dull 0-0 draw, the two bottom dwellers of the West fought tooth and nail to see who was most deserving of the Anthony Precourt Wooden Spoon. Unfortunately, neither team was able to prove their mettle and they shared the spoils.
At the top of the table, the top teams went in opposite directions, as St. Louis returned to the winner’s column thanks to a 2-1 win over San Jose. However, LAFC returned to the loser’s column with a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. This leaves the top two teams each on 32 points and only a seven-point gap between first-place St. Louis and ninth-place Vancouver. While there is still belief LAFC will finish top of the West, there are simply too many teams in play for the second half to believe this fight is anywhere close to decided.
Best of the Weekend
After a downer weekend that saw every streak in the whole world broken (okay maybe only Cincy), it’s been hard to find any joy since. So I’ll take a moment and celebrate the MLS debuts of some players from the FCC academy.
Congratulations to Dado Valenzuela, Stiven Jimenez, Joey Akpunonu and Bret Halsey! I’m sure it’s been a big dream to make your debut and we hope we can see more from each of you in the future!