Welcome to the nineteenth Season Preview of the 2023 MLS season! We are continuing this journey with the league's most improved team this past season, FC Cincinnati. The Orange and Blue kept the heart of its core intact this offseason and are looking to build off its Eastern Conference semifinals appearance in 2023. For those of you who are new to MLS Now's work, thanks for reading today and check out all of what our podcast and blog site has to offer. Let's get into it below.
Record: 12-13-9 (49 points/5th in West)
Team Leader Goals: Brandon Vazquez 18, Brenner 18, Luciano Acosta 10
Team Leader Assists: Luciano Acosta 19, Alvaro Barreal 9, Brandon Vazquez 8
Manager: Pat Noonan (2nd season)
Additions: CM Marco Angulo ($3 million transfer from Independiente del Valle/20 years old), CB Yerson Mosquera (loan from Wolves/21 years old), RB Santiago Arias (free from Atletico Madrid/31 years old),
Subtractions: LB Ronald Matarrita (free to SK Dnipro-1/28 years old), LB John Nelson (MLS Expansion Draft to St. Louis City SC/24 years old), CB Geoff Cameron (free agent/37 years old), LW Calvin Harris ($200k GAM trade to Colorado Rapids/22 years old), CM Haris Medunjanin (free to PEC Zwolle/37 years old), LB Tyler Blackett (free agent/28 years old), CM Allan Cruz (free agent/26 years old), CF Nick Markanich (free agent/26 years old)
Projected Starting XI
I'm going to be honest, I'm not all up to date with FC Cincinnati (which is why we want a club blogging correspondent!) so I went over and asked our podcast's co-host Russell McMurry (@MrDangeruss) for his starting XI and insight heading into opening weekend. From the start, he told me that FC Cincinnati's upcoming season will see a lot of transition. Although not in the initial starting lineup, new U22 signing Marco Angulo will eventually see a lot of minutes as he gets adjusted to the new league and country. Brenner stayed through the winter window, but he's gotta be gone in the summer... right? And if (when) he is, who do they plan on replacing him with? Another South American rising star? European player wanting a new environment? An in-league trade? Another question is how his counterpart Brandon Vazquez responds to his career 2022 season. Does he reproduce and earn more national team call-ups while the search for a consistent 9 continues? Even with the addition of Mosquera, for now it is a short-term loan. They need one more starting caliber center back or else they will be relying on youth this year. FC Cincinnati supporters will have high expectations heading into this season, and there will be a strong test right away. Last, and most importantly, how do we feel about the River Kit? Let me know.
Thanks for viewing our nineteenth 2023 season preview. There will be a new one out about every single day leading up to MLS kickoff. If you are a passionate fan looking to write about your club, we are actively seeking contributors for MLS clubs this season. If interested, message us on either Twitter or Instagram @MLSNowPodcast. We want to provide an outlet for fans to discuss their club on the site and also guest star on the podcast throughout the season.