: FC Cincinnati
Written By: Kyra Campbell
After a club-best 2022 season, with FC Cincinnati finishing 5th in the Eastern Conference and securing their first MLS playoff win, the Orange and Blue are gearing up for their 2023 campaign, which kicks off this Saturday when they take on the Houston Dynamo at TQL Stadium.
FC Cincinnati is entering the 2023 season with both the core of its roster and its coaching staff intact. Some players did depart the squad, however, most notably starting center-back Geoff Cameron. FCC also traded forward Calvin Harris to the Colorado Rapids. Despite rumors swirling around the possibility of a move for Brenner to one of the top leagues in Europe at the transfer window, FC Cincinnati’s attacking force remains intact.
This pre-season saw GM Chris Albright bring in new players to address some of the issues from last season, primarily the defense and midfield depth. The first addition this off-season was Marco Angulo, an Ecuadorian midfielder, from Independiente. Angulo, who is only 20 years old, has also appeared with the senior Ecuadorian National Team and is described as a box-to-box midfielder. The club also added defender Isaiah Foster from the Colorado Springs Switchbacks of the USL. FCC also acquired Columbian defender Mosquera on loan from Wolves of the English Premier League. Mosquera, 21, has also made appearances with the Columbian U-20 National Team. The loan lasts through June 30th, with an option to extend it to the end of the MLS season. The latest addition to the squad is Santiago Arias, a Columbian defender with plenty of experience in top competition in Europe, most notably with Atlético Madrid. Arias has also made FIFA World Cup appearances with his national team. Although he’s dealt with injuries the past few years, Arias is a much-needed upgrade at right-back.
FC Cincinnati also saw some additions come in via the MLS Super Draft as well as Academy signings. At number 22 overall, FCC drafted Joey , a center-back from Bowling Green University. FCC would then go on to draft Hunter Morse, a goalkeeper from Western Michigan University, in the second round, and London , a defender from the Air Force Academy and the 2022 Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The club also signed former Academy and Princeton University midfielder Malik Pinto to his first professional contract as well as goalkeeper Paul Walters to a Homegrown contract.
The Orange and Blue also performed well in many of their pre-season friendlies, an improvement over the pre-seasons of the past. On January 27th, FC Cincy beat Austin FC 3-2 in a 90-minute match. Then, FCC bested USF 3-0 on February 1st. On February 10th, Cincinnati fell 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union. The Garys bounced back in their next match against the New England Revolution, winning 4-0. In their final pre-season match, FC Cincinnati lost 6-3 to Nashville SC in another 90-minute match.
This pre-season was filled with even more excitement for FCC fans with Brandon Vazquez and Roman Celentano getting their first call-ups to the US Men’s National Team for the January Camp as well as the release of the “River Kit”, the new primary kit for the Orange and Blue. Looking to capitalize on this excitement over the team, as well as new signings, and a positive pre-season, FC Cincinnati takes on the Houston Dynamo this Saturday at 7:30 pm for the first home opener in club history. Fans can catch the match on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.