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FC Cincinnati officially signs midfielder Pavel Bucha

UPDATE: FC Cincinnati has officially announced the signing of central midfielder Pavel Bucha from FC Viktoria Plzeň through 2026 with a club option for 2027. This official word comes after Czech site Infotbal first reported the signing a few weeks ago.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Pavel to the club,” Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati general manager, said in a news release. “His understanding of the game, ability to cover ground, and experience at the top-levels of European soccer make him a valuable addition. He’s also an exceptional teammate who will fit seamlessly into the group.”

Bucha looks to further strengthen the ranks of the FCC midfield and start alongside 2023 MLS MVP Luciano Acosta and superstar defensive midfielder Obinna Nwobodo.

“I am proud to finally be a part of this team,” Bucha said. “I feel great and very welcome here, and I am excited about working with this group of players and coaches. I cannot wait to get this season started.”

Original story: First reported by Czech site Infotbal and subsequently confirmed by reporter Pat Brennan and by Tom Bogert of the Athletic, it appears FC Cincinnati have found a new quality midfield option.

25-year-old Pavel Bucha will join FC Cincinnati from Czech Fortuna Liga club FC Viktoria Plzeň. Bucha, is a versatile box-to-box midfielder and is thought to compete for the spot next to Obinna Nwobodo. His resume includes over 200 professional appearances logging 35 goals and 28 assists.

Viktoria Plzeň does play in a 3-4-3/3-5-2 formation similarly employed by FCC coach Pat Noonan. It is logical that Bucha could be a very capable solution on day one as the replacement for MLS free agent Junior Moreno.

Bucha will arrive to Cincinnati following a heavy work load. During the first half of Plzeň’s 2023-24 season, he logged 30 matches, playing over 1,800 minutes. Plzeň breezed through the Europa League Conference League going undefeated in 12 matches advancing through to the knockout stages.

During this season’s campaign, Bucha has scored 6 goals and 1 assist. His main position has been central midfield, but he has played in the attacking midfield and left midfield roles. It’s likely that Bucha’s possession and attacking traits were a large reason on what he was preferred over the Venezuelan, Moreno.

Bucha rose through Slavia Prague youth system, making his profession debut in the 2017-18 season. After a contract dispute, Bucha left Prague and joined rivals FC Viktoria Plzeň. He was loaned to FK Mladá Boleslav for the second half of the 2018-19 season and the first half of the 2019-2020 season.

While at Mladá Bolesla, Bucha appeared in 36 matches scoring 8 times and assisting on 7 goals. He rejoined is parent club following the Winter break, starting the remaining 10 matches in a Covid interrupted second-half of their season. The midfielder began to make his way as a permanent fixture for the Czech club in the 2020-21 season featuring in the clubs first 22 league matches before sustaining a metatarsal fracture. Bucha would play his way back from injury, featuring in the clubs final 3 league contests.

The 2021-22 season was truly a banner year for the midfielder. Bucha featured in 37 matches, logging over 3000 minutes helping Plzeň secure the Fortuna Liga championship. That season saw Plzeň in the Europa Conference League where they played CSKA Sofia in the third round.

Plzeň’s championship saw the Czech club qualify for the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds.

In 2022-23, Bucha would go on to play in 45 matches and nearly 3,700 minutes which saw them advance past HJK Helsinki, darlings FC Sheriff and Qarabag FK to reach group play.

Bucha’s Plzeň were drawn into a Group of Death featuring Inter Milan, FC Barcalona and German champion Bayern Munich. The midfielder is known for an infamous VAR awarded red card in their second group match vs. Milan. The midfielder arrived high and late to a challenge following him being dispossessed moments before. Plzeň was bounced from the group, going winless in six matches. However, they were competitive in all three home matches.

The 2022-23 regular season was not as successful for Plzeň even though they qualified for the Fortuna Liga championship round (playoffs). Bucha did start 27 of 30 league games featuring in all but one. They would go on to finish third overall to qualify for the Europa League Conference League.

Bucha was a stallwart for the Czech Republic youth teams. He started three matches in the 2021 UEFA U21 Championship, going the distance in all three. That Czech team was eliminated following group play after two draws to Italy and Slovenia and one loss to Spain.

The midfielder is yet to make his senior debut but was called up to the Czech Republic senior camp for a late 2021 World Cup qualifier vs. Belarus.

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