A Change in Mindset: 2018 USL Playoffs
(Picture Credits: David Starcher)
Playoff success and Cincinnati don't match. At all.
In my lifetime, I've seen the Bengals go 0-7 in the postseason, losing to backup quarterbacks and heart-breakers to the Steelers. No matter the scenario, and there's been a lot of them, the Bengals find a way to raise your expectations for just long enough to have them shattered in January.
It's not like the Reds are any better. Since making the NLCS in 1995, the Reds have gone 2-7 in the postseason, losing 3 straight games at home in 2012 to the San Francisco Giants (It was an even-numbered year to be fair).
If you want to get the college teams involved, both entered this year's March Madness basketball tournament with high hopes, only for their dreams to be crushed in Nashville before making the Sweet 16.
Why is FC Cincinnati any different? They are 0-2 in the USL playoffs, still winless after losses to Charleston and Tampa Bay the past two postseasons.
Well, it's because they finished 11 points ahead of the next highest point total in the USL. They absolutely steamrolled through the USL and haven't lost a game since it was announced that Major League Soccer was coming to FC Cincinnati next year.
None of the teams mentioned in the introduction had the best record in their conference/league, let alone the best overall record that year.
In fact, you have to go all the way back to the year 1981 where the Reds went 66-42 and had the best record in baseball. However, because of a labor strike, the season was split into two halves, with the division winners in each half making the playoffs. The Reds finished 2nd in each half, causing them to miss the playoffs even though they had the best record in the MLB- That is SO Cincinnati.
The long-winded point that I'm trying to make is that Cincinnati arguably hasn't seen a sports team this good in over 35 years. This team didn't just coast into the playoffs, they ran into them at full speed.
FC Cincinnati has likely USL MVP Emmanuel Ledesma who shattered the single season assist record by having 16 of them in addition to scoring 16 goals for himself! Also, FC Cincinnati has Golden Glove winner Evan Newton, who only allowed 0.8 goals per game while protecting the net for the Orange and Blue.
They have speed and strength, goal scoring and lockdown defense, superstars and depth, fiery attitude and a cool composure. They have everything you look for in a potential championship winning team, but yet, there is that eerily feeling that things are going to go wrong.
Why? Cause we're from Cincinnati, where playoff dreams come to die. It's about time we forget that mindset.
I mentioned it at the beginning of the season- We're like the New York Yankees of the USL, we came into this season with high expectations and everybody hates us for it. I for one like embracing this new role.
I'm sick and tired of being the underdog only to fall short of achieving the ultimate goal, winning a championship. I rather be the powerhouse that boldly states how we are the best the in the league, with our club backing it up on the pitch.
So embrace the role of being a powerhouse and change your mindset. Wipe your memory clear of the negative experiences from the past and focus on the present. It's time that the momentum in this city finally changes.
We are going to win a championship, and there is nothing that the USL can do about it.