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LOVE HURTS: The Frankie Saga

As the New MLS season approaches, there’s a frenzy of activity around FC Cincinnati. Over the last few days, names of possible signings have flooded in. Then there’s the Luciano Acosta situation, will he or wont he sign? While all of this is exciting, a cloud of concern hangs over Cincy’s fanbase. On Feb 11th, “The Athletic” posted an article by Jeff Reuter and Paul Tenorio which details Frankie Amaya’s request to be traded. In the article Frankie made this comment.

I‘ve given everything to Cincinnati and the fans over the last two years and I will always be grateful for their support and kindness. During this offseason I’ve realized that the club doesn’t have the same level of commitment to me, so I have asked the club to trade me as I don’t feel my goals can be achieved in Cincinnati.”

This caused shock and fury through an extremely passionate fanbase. This is after ”The Athletic” had previously reported that the club had turned down offers to trade Amaya. Offers that had exceeded 1 million in GAM. That’s a more GAM than the Crew had paid for Darlington Nagbe. Many of the fans still scoffed at the reports, “You’re not getting our Frankie.” they said. Now, the same player has gone to the press, the athletic of all places, to try to force a trade? It had some saying “et tu Frankie?”

s Some of you might be saying, “Who cares? Trade him and move on.” For context, let me give you a bit of a back story on FC Cincy fan’s love of Frankie. When Frankie was drafted in 2019, the club had just said good bye to many players from the USL team that were bleloved by the fans. The mixture of the sadness of good bye and the excitement of hello, had FC Cincy fans reeling. In comes Frankie. He looked like a little kid up on stage holding his jersey, heck at 18 he was a kid. The fans immediatly took to him. In interviews he was shy and thankful, and on the pitch he was energetic. Frankie has been described as a “Pest” on the pitch. While on defense he’s always on the ball pressuring, leaning on, sometimes grabbing the opposing player. He does so with a 5’ 4’’ frame, and as you expect, he gets knocked around a lot.

Want to be hated by FC Cincinnati fans? Foul Frankie. The response is more ”Oh no you didn’t!!” than what you’d expect. A fury of boos will follow with every touch the rest of the match. In two years Frankie has become more than your average player to the fans. A Saint Frankie tifo has proudly been displayed in the Bailey. One of many created by the amazing people at @knifeylionradio. SIDE NOTE: If you haven’t seen their latest music video about Frankie, please stop reading and head to their twitter feed now.

We root for him like he’s our baby boy. When Frankie scored that Golazo against Atlanta in “MLS is Back“ we fan’s filled Twitter with “THAT‘S MY BOY!!” and “I’M SO PROUD OF YOU.” It must be a trip for his actually family. The only player that has held the fan’s love as much was Emmanuel Ledesma... and we lost him. He and the club couldn‘t agree on value, and he left. Now theres a report that Frankie wants to leave? Some of us handled this news differently than others.

Reactions ranged from angry and/or heartbroken to frustration and understanding. Almost like the stages of grief. I myself have gone through them. During our FC Cincy episode of our MLS Now Podcast, i expressed my frustration and confusion. At one point I likened the news of his trade request as feeling like a stab in the back. I admit, that was a poor choice of words. A gut punch would have been a better description.

Like it or not FCC fans, Frankie doesn’t owe us anything. We don’t even really know him. We like him in interviews and on the pitch, but we don’t know who he really is. He also didn’t ask for our love. He seems to appreciate it, perhaps he’s taken aback by it, but he never begged us to love him. He’s got his own goals and dreams, and the fact that they don’t entail staying in Cincinnati long, shouldn’t really surprise us.

For what it’s worth, the Club has said that they have no interest in trading Frankie and that they plan on having him be a big part of the club moving forward. The club has spoken at length about wanting to be “A gateway to Europe.” They are bringing in young talented players in hopes of later selling them for big fees to bigger clubs. For what it’s worth, this is a great goal to strive for.

A goal that you would think Frankie would be interested in. He might want to move because he wants to be a 10 and the club (rightfully IMO) sees him as an 8. Maybe he’s just home sick for his family in LA. Again, we don’t know. As fans we need to step back, and realize that we have no idea what‘s going on behind the scenes. Maybe if we did, we would understand why Frankie want’s to leave us. In the coming days, there may be a resolution. Maybe we’ll find out what’s going on. More likely though, we will not. Frankie will either be here this season, or he wont. It’s not up to us. All we can do it wait, and in the future maybe we shouldn’t fall so hard for these players? Manu is Gone, Frankie may soon be next. Why get so attached only to be hurt later? Why? Because we’re fans, its what we do. We wouldn’t be who we are as a fanbase if we didn’t. Besides, it’s not the destination that matters most. It’s the journey... right?

By: Rob Burkhardt

Twitter: @burkhardt_rob


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