MLS Preseason Recap – Cincinnati Soccer Talk
* This article was submitted by Jonathan Foster. Many thanks to him for reaching out and trying out a new format that we had never used before.
Summary of the weekend
With the closure of the European transfer window, and the promise of maintaining the Brenner, we can now look to the coming season! Punxsutawney Phil raised his head and said: ‘Three more weeks of Stiven Jimenez scoring pre-season goals until MLS!’
That being said, let’s take a look at what the calendar has in store for us and what we can expect to see.
Schedule to come
I know the metaphors are confusing, but since Cincinnati no longer has a professional baseball team (Sell the Team Bob), I figured we could all get our baseball fix here with a three-game preview.
At the Bat: February 10 – Philadelphia Union: 1st in the East in 2022
No surprise, with all the connections between the two, that we’ll see them in pre-season. After a successful 2022 campaign, many people would have expected to see more of their players come out this offseason, but Europe didn’t call and the core of the squad remained intact. As this is an unaired pre-season friendly, I don’t expect to be able to say anything based on Twitter updates or cut highlights. However, it will be interesting to see if there are any players entering the starting rotation.
On Deck: February 14 – New England Revolution: 10th in the East in 2022
New England, still recovering from a pre-22 player sale, has bolstered its squad and added some league-quality veterans. Dave Romney, Latif Blessing and Bobby Wood will all be new to FC Cincinnati. Internationally, they added DP striker Giacomo Vrioni. I think they are a team that will still have to find who they come into the season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a departure from their 4-2-3-1 that they played almost exclusively last season.
In the Hole: February 17 – Nashville SC: 5th in the West in 2022
The final tweak before the start of the season, and most likely the signal of where the coaching staff see their starting roster. I would expect both teams to deploy their starting 11 and give them the majority of the minutes. We won’t see anything about how they play on the court, but with Nashville moving east this year, it may be the most important preseason game this offseason.
Arrival in the West
A week ago, a user posted on MLS Reddit a breakdown of which team would be least likely to overlap FCC games. After plugging everything into their very scientific method of uploading schedules, FCC’s sister club will be…. **drum roll please**….. Portland Timbers for 2023! **Taa Daa** I’m sure no one will want to dedicate every game night to watching every game in the league, but hopefully this can help you have another team in the league to watch what’s going on the other side of the continent And if you don’t want to tint your fuzzy heart, then I think tuning into the MLS whip show will give you more than enough MLS content for the weekend.
Things that made us go ooooooooooo!!!! (best highlight of the week)
I’m an easy-to-entertain person, so some weeks it might be me waking up and watching old US Open Cup highlights again, or it might be something interesting that happened the weekend, as is the case this weekend.
Syracuse men’s soccer player Nathan Opoku has signed with Leicester City in the Premier League and I think this could be one of the most impactful transfers of the next decade. Even a player who skips MLS and signs straight to a team in Europe is a remarkable achievement, but it could inspire colleges to look to football as the lucrative next frontier.
𝑯𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑨𝒄𝒓𝒐𝒔𝒔 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑷𝒐𝒏𝒆
Congratulations to our very own Nathan Opoku on his move to Leicester City! I wish you nothing but the best #10 🍊🧡#DareToDream pic.twitter.com/xgURUvBKWw
— Syracuse Men’s Soccer (@CuseMSOC) January 31, 2023
College football has been a listless ship, ignoring the wants and desires of coaches and players to transition to a modern playing structure, being seen as a drain on resources to catch up on scholarship numbers rather than something to celebrate. However, with players becoming employees of universities seeming to become more and more inevitable, and the insatiable need for more revenue driving the decision-making of the athletic department, it may make football a viable growth opportunity.
Zico Bailey update of the week
He is currently not signed with any team. 🙁