FCC looks for rebound game against D.C. United

Luca Orellano serving up a Cross against Toronto. Feb 25, 2024 - Photo Courtesy of Brian Mack
Luca Orellano serving up a Cross against Toronto. Feb 25, 2024 - Photo Courtesy of Brian Mack

Soccer has a habit of reintroducing old faces in new places. Sometimes it is an ex-player coming for a visit and breaking your heart. And sometimes it is a foe whose heart you broke, coming back around looking for a different result.

On Wednesday, it was Brandon Vazquez coming back to remind us of his talents, and what we miss in our stadium. But on Sunday, it will be ex-Red Bull manager Troy Lesesne, possibly looking for closure on his first MLS managerial stint.

It ended when FCC knocked out the New York Red Bull in the 2023 MLS Playoffs, and interim manager Troy Lesesne was left on the brink as to his future with the club after receiving a red card and seeing his young squad not be able to finish the job.

Initial rumors came out that he would be retained, but when the club made the decision to refresh the front office, he was pushed out. It left him out in the cold, looking for another opportunity, and he eventually found himself as the new manager of Sunday’s opponent D.C. United after they refreshed their own front office.

While he no longer has the Red Bull organization looming over him, insisting on him cranking a pressing style up to eleven, his D.C. United squad still shares many of the same principles. They are an aggressive squad who want to press their opponents and force turnovers in positions close to the goal and create easy opportunities for themselves. 

And early season returns have been extremely successful. Star striker Christian Benteke scored a hat trick in the season opener and young starlet Theodore Ku-DiPietro led a come-from-behind effort to tie up the game in Portland after Benteke withdrew with a pregame injury. Benteke’s availability for the match is even in question due to injury.

All in all, it would be hard to be disappointed with the start of the season, but if there was one area that can be a worry, it would be the defense. Their outside backs, Pedro Santos and Aaron Herrera, have both been offensive assets, but have shown moments of defensive instability. The center back pairing is also not at full strength, as they are missing long-time stalwart Steve Birnbaum to a knee injury, who would be expected to lead the line. Even the veteran MLS goalkeeper Alex Bono has shown fragility, as he has underperformed his expected saves through the first two games.

Perhaps this will be encouraging for an FCC attack that squandered its chances in its midweek matchup with CF Monterrey. But with divided attention between the league and Concacaf Champions Cup, it seems just as likely there is a rotated squad for Sunday. And while we may not have total confidence in their results yet, it seems like a good chance for a new face to make a big impression.

When: Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m.

Where: TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

How to Watch: MLS Season Pass on AppleTV Link to sign up and support CST

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