After suffering through back to back last place seasons, going into this season we fans just wanted improvement. There were many fans tweeting things like "Playoffs would be great but I at least want to be average." Saturday's loss was another indication that, while improved, this team isn't "Average" yet.
For Fc Cincinnati, Saturday's 3-0 loss to Nashville SC marked another poor result in a month full of disappointment. FCC ended June with back to back victories against the conference's cellar dwellers. The wins got them out of MLS's basement. As encouraging as June was, July has been.... Rough.
The month began with two draws. Including a disappointing point at home against Columbus. A point against FCC's rival would normally be a good result. FCC were left with a sour taste though due to the fact that the Crew were down a man for over a half. The result was disappointing and frankly embarrassing.
It was the loss to Montreal that was most disheartening for Cincy fans. We all know what happened, FCC blew TWO 2 goal leads and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was for many fans, the most frustrating match in Club history.
Given the results against lesser and/or diminished teams prior to last weekend, a result against now 2nd in the East Nashville would be a tough ask. Especially after a Wednesday match against Atlanta (another draw.)
Fc Cincinnati was over matched Saturday. They struggled as much as they have all season. The players looked exhausted. They have good reason for it. It's well documented that this team has depth issues. Yes they have been without starters Matarrita and Cruz while they were gone for the Gold cup, but two players are a lot less than many other clubs in MLS have been missing.
Over worked and Underachieving
There's no denying that the club is more talented than last year. The additions of Acosta, Cameron, Vallecilla, Matarrita and Brenner have improved the team exponentially. Add to that, second year player Alvaro Barreal has been a pleasant surprise this season and has been coming into his own. The problem is, with the exception of Edgar Castillo, the drop off from starting player to back up is steep. REALLY STEEP. The result is that many players have not been given time off to recover, and are showing signs of wearing down. And Don't forget that some players have already played a full season.
We knew going into this season that Luciano Acosta and Geoff Cameron were coming from clubs that have already played full seasons (or close to it) this year. So you would expect that they would need time off here and there to stay fresh. They haven't gotten it. The fact is, Jaap Stam can't afford to rest them. Doing so would weaken the roster too much. It's not just Acosta and Cameron however, Saturday's lackluster performance was even more proof that all these guys need a break. They aren't getting one.
There will be no rest for the weary, at least not anytime soon. FCC will play another Wednesday match again next week against NY Red Bulls. So, while we can expect them to be better rested at home against DC United this weekend, the following two matches however….
Summer Transfer Window
While short term help wont likely occur (Besides Cruz and Mata returning) any time soon. The club is able to help the long term depth right now. The question is, will they? The Summer transfer window began on July 7th and will close less than a week from now on August 5th. While there have been no reports of pending signings, you have to think that the club plans on bringing in multiple players.
GM Gerard Nijkamp has stated that the club needs to improve it's depth throughout the roster, but primarily on the back line and Midfield. With that said, It is concerning that there have been ZERO reports of possible signings. There is some speculation that the club may try again to sign midfielder Kyle Scott after he chose not to sign with them during the preseason, but as time goes on that
seems less and less likely to happen.
If Nijkamp fails to bolster the roster at all this Summer, given the club's obvious depth issues, it would be a massive disappointment. It would be perhaps the final nail in the coffin (especially for the fans) for the embattled GM.
Nijkamp is notoriously tight lipped when it comes to signings so there may be something on the horizon, but he's known what the club was missing for a long time and the lack of signing up to this point makes it look like there was no one waiting in the wings. It's concerning to say the least. This roster needs help and it needs it now.
Reinforcements could be the difference between finally being "Average" and a second half of the season spent desperately trying to avoid another wooden spoon.
By: Rob Burkhardt