Previous Year Recap
What really needs to be said about 2020? The COVID-19 pandemic threw everything into unknown territory and at the end of the day, FC Cincinnati finished the year at the bottom of the overall table, again, and with a slightly better points per game ratio. There was one bright spot for the Orange and Blue during the MLS Is Back tournament when they knocked off the New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United, but that success did not last. In all honesty, 2020 was never going to be a strong year for FC Cincinnati. The team was still struggling to recover from the horrible roster building decisions of 2019 and a preseason head coaching change meant that most of the year was really just an extended tryout for the 2021 season.
For fantasy managers, FC Cincinnati remained a team to avoid.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Goalkeeper: Przemyslaw Tyton is the likely starter but I’d expect new addition Cody Cropper to battle for this position. Cropper’s last consistent run was in 2017 when he served as New England’s primary goalkeeper. Since then, he’s been a backup but I’ve never been too impressed with Tyton so Cropper could be a good value option if FC Cincinnati can keep clean sheets.
Defenders: Cincinnati’s backline will be a mixture of new and old. The previous two seasons have shown us that the Orange and Blue are not a team to look toward if you want to get clean sheet points, but the addition of Saad Abdul-Salaam and Ronald Matarrita may open the potential for offensive point generation from the wings. They have also added two new faces, center back Gustavo Vallecilla on loan from SD Aucas and Avionne Flanagan who has had a good showing in preseason.Heavy emphasis on POTENTAIL but keep you eyes on these guys.
Midfielders: FC Cincinnati is finally starting to shed some of the MANY defensive midfielders it once rostered and have been slowly adding more attacking pieces. Fantasy managers should keep an eye on newly acquired Luciano Acosta as the primary player to build and execute the attack. Many hoped that Yuya Kubo would have been a breakout playmaker in 2020, but it did not work out. With a year under his belt, he could prove a bit more consistent in 2021.
Forwards: There’s only one name that fantasy managers need to be aware of at this position and that’s Brenner. This young Brazilian is coming off a strong 2020 season in Seri A scoring 11 goals and earning 3 assists. If FC Cincinnati can utilize this talent, they may see a big improvement in their goal differential. When I said one name, I lied. Brandon Vazquez is another promising forward that could produce fantasy numbers. The only consideration is how consistent will his playtime be if others hit their stride.
Last year I said, “Fantasy wise, FCC is a giant ‘If’” and I still stand by that statement.
Once again, there has been a significant overhaul of the team as head coach Jaap Stam gets his first true off-season to build HIS squad. However, there are more promising pieces this year than in the past. So while I can’t recommend selecting any FCC players at the start of the season. A few of their attacking pieces are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Potential Starting XI
FC Cincinnati has been frustratingly tightlipped about preseason rosters. Below is my best guess for where players will start and who alternates could be. But again, this is not likely a team you’ll be targeting at the start of the season so we’ll have time to see what they settle into.