FC Cincinnati's faith in their USL roster could prove fatal



FC Cincinnati has taken eleven players from their final USL roster to the MLS. For fans, that's incredible. Many love seeing the familiar, fan-favorite faces around the stadium. However, it might not be setting them up well for a successful start to their MLS franchise.

FCC’s collection of talent closely resembles the Vancouver Whitecaps, one of the few MLS teams in Canada. The Whitecaps were promoted to MLS status almost a decade ago, playing their first season in 2011. They brought up nine players from their NASL roster.

The Whitecaps were literally the worse team in the MLS that season. While the changes between the Whitecaps preparation and FC Cincinnati's aren't perfectly aligned, this type of trend throughout teams that maintain many lower level-caliber players isn't reassuring for fans.

On top of giving away the top allocation spot, FC Cincinnati has embraced a defense-heavy roster. Vancouver, who also carried a defense-heavy mindset, scored a league-low 35 goals in their inaugural season.

The first glimpse of FCC's MLS roster was somewhat successful, giving hope to the franchise's loyal fanbase.

In their first preseason game, FCC tied Montreal Impact, the East's seventh-best team last season. Darran Mattocks, the team's first pick in the expansion draft, scored the team's lone goal, showing his dynamic speed and touch. Mattocks had ten goals in 25 appearances (14 starts) last season.

His speed up top will be increasingly important. Over the last two seasons, Cincinnati's style has been mainly one of playing limited strikers with a heavy midfield presence, rarely starting games with multiple forwards on the field.

They've mainly out-possessed and out-lasted their opponents, which, at the USL level, seemed too easy for the team at times.

The first two seasons, the team had Sean Okoli and Djiby Fall up top on an island. Then it was Fernando Adi and Danni Konig. Now, it'll be Adi and Mattocks. They must score because, if they don't, FCC's style will be shredded in their inaugural season.

Retaining USL players is great for the culture, but for their on-field performance, it doesn't always yield similar results. This team must score, or they'll up being the Vancouver Whitecaps which wouldn't be an ideal start in their first MLS season.

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