Defining FC Cincinnati's strengths and weaknesses
The goalkeeping of FC Cincinnati is definitely something that the club can be proud of. Mitch Hildebrandt is fourth in the USL in saves, with 58 of them, and he is also tied for fifth in the league in clean sheets with six. Mitch Hildebrandt’s ability to see the ball before it gets to its target, and his instincts to know the best moment to go for the ball. Hildebrandt has also given FC Cincinnati the defining moment in the club’s history with his performance against the Chicago Fire. I don’t think he is performing as well as he did last year, but he is still one of the best goalkeepers in the league even now.
FC Cincinnati’s defense is their biggest strength, in my opinion. Of all the players on the club, Harrison Delbridge is the most important. He is the player that I know will make a great defensive play, or make an important stop when it matters most. Also, his ability to win many of the 50/50 balls helps the club take possession back, and counter more often. The other members of the defense are very good as well, worth mentioning are Austin Berry, Justin Hoyte, and Sam De Wit. When the defense plays to its potential, there isn’t much that the opposing clubs can do on offense.
This is where I would say the team shows a very strong weakness. Aodhan Quinn and Corben Bone both have on and off days, with Quinn having off days more than on. The midfield is the whole crux of our, and most teams’, offense because when the defense makes a great stop, we need the midfield to move the ball up to Djiby or Greig. However, in its current state, the midfield is usually spread too thin, not having anyone to pass the ball to. This causes our shape to collapse, requiring the defense to make a good play. Kenney Walker, Josu, and Jimmy McLaughlin are notable exceptions to this. They move the ball exceptionally well and perform well when sending the ball in or passing in the box.
FC Cincinnati has a great group of players at the forward position. Continuing last year’s success at the position from Sean Ugo Okoli, who left to play for New York City FC, Djiby Fall has been a consistent threat with his head and with his feet. Leading the team in goals with 11 in USL play, and add four more in Open Cup games, and he has almost passed Okoli’s first season record of 16. Danni Konig and Kyle Greig have also performed well at the position. Konig has scored eight goals on the season and Greig looked dominant against Orlando City B, scoring one and getting a penalty call in FC Cincinnati’s favor. The forward position is where FC Cincinnati’s offense is supposed to finish, and the players that the club have there do their job very well.
Overall, the club has many strengths and a few weaknesses that seriously hamper the team’s ability to
push the ball up, and get chances to score the ball. When the midfield performs we see great wins like the 3-2 victory against Louisville City FC. But, when it doesn’t play well, the club places too much responsibility on the defense, and can’t prevail. We have seen the great things that the club can do, and hopefully, FC Cincinnati can play well down the stretch to earn a playoff spot.