Malvern, Pa. native Jimmy McLaughlin’s long journey back to MLS finally had its big moment on Wednesday night when he subbed into the game in the 90th minute for FC Cincinnati.
McLaughlin recorded just one minute on the box score, but it was his first appearance in an MLS game in five years and was a long journey back after injury derailed what would have been his first season with FC Cincinnati in MLS in 2019.
The former Philadelphia Union homegrown is an FC Cincinnati original dating back to their time in USL, making 91 appearances for them from 2016-2018. Their 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City last night was their final game at Nippert Stadium.
“It means a lot to me,” McLaughlin said in a post-game interview. “It’s been a crazy long journey just to get back here and just to get a few minutes at the end of the game it’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of tough days, a lot of moments where it would have been easy to give up.”
McLaughlin, a 27-year-old former FC Delco midfielder, was one of only three players from the USL roster in 2018 to make the inaugural roster for FC Cincinnati last year but he missed the entire season with an ACL injury and after earning a roster spot in preseason the coronavirus pandemic shut down the league. His opportunity to play didn’t come until the final minute of regulation but it was a meaningful one nonetheless.