FC Cincinnati: A magical run ended but a new one starts

Photo courtesy of Jamie Smed

This past Tuesday night, FC Cincinnati launched every fan out of their seat as Corben Bone scored to put the home side ahead 1-0 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the New York Red Bulls. The sold-out Nippert Stadium became even more ecstatic following halftime when hometown defender Austin Berry put one in the back of the net to double the home sides lead. 

The team and every fan in the stadium thought they were on the way to the final in Kansas City as the 70' passed. Little did they know, the MLS side held their composure, continued to strike, and with some luck on their first goal, found the back of the net twice within the last twenty minutes. Overtime followed a full 90' minutes and Bradley Wright-Phillips, the MLS's third leading scorer, netted his second goal in the first overtime, putting the visitor's up 3-2.

As the last whistle sounded and 33,000+ fans left with their head hanging, the Red Bulls advanced and FC Cincinnati's incredible Cup run came to an end. This team provided an uncountable amount of memories for the fans throughout the five home Cup games. Two wins over quality MLS sides highlighted the glorious run. Although the Cup run has ended, FC Cincinnati and their front office are now on a new mission that should equally excite and rally the supports just like the Cup run had done.  

The mission is simple: get to the MLS. 

Let's see what they have done. FC Cincinnati has competed with and beat MLS teams. They sold out their stadium and packed it full of over 30,000 fans for every MLS match. They have shown that the crowds will come as the competition improves. Along with that, MLS commissioner, Don Garber, was this past Cup match, and he left impressed also.
FCC has proven their fan base is loyal, impressed the MLS commissioner, and shown interest in becoming an MLS team. Now, the only thing that stands between them and the finish line of the run to the MLS is the stadium, a topic of interest for FCC and her fans these days. Jeff Berding, the team's President and manager, attributes the team's success to her loyal fans. In an interview with the Enquirer, Berding said this:

"It's all about Cincinnati. It's all about what we've created here in pretty short period of time," Berding said. "We've said all along that this is a special major league sports community and we just continue to prove it each time we have an opportunity to do something special."

As fans, we need to be for a stadium wherever it can be built. Obviously, most want the stadium to stay in Cincinnati. In my opinion, fans should be willing to follow this team wherever they must to see the highest level of soccer in the Cincinnati area. Regardless of your view on this, we are in another race, and your opinion can matter.

Other cities, other teams, other fan bases want what we have. They want to be in the MLS. It will be crucial to continue to support our side even after the magical Cup run has come to an end. We are in other race, one that should be won sooner rather than later.