We chatted with Bryan Weigel at Cincinnati Soccer Talk ahead of tonight’s visit from FCC.
1. After three straight wooden spoons, Cincinnati is contending for a playoff spot, and plenty of people have them getting over that hump. What’s been the difference this year?
2022 has been a more enjoyable season after three difficult years. In all honesty I think the credit comes down to Pat Noonan. While we have added Junior Moreno and Obi Nwobodo in the midfield, how we are getting Lucho Acosta (who may be out this weekend) into dangerous positions. There have been a lot of injuries to important personnel (Kubo, Cruz, Cameron, Blackett, Mataritta, Gaddis etc), and FCC have yet to really look out of place. Thank you for letting us have a gem of a coach.
2. Brandon Vasquez is one name that has been coming out of FCC. What does he bring to the table as a forward and a team player?
Brandon was a little used player under previous manager Jaap Stam. As soon as he was relieved of duties, Vazquez began to see time and develop relationships with Acosta and others to finish 2021. While his production last season did not match this campaign, he was still getting into good positions or would just be off side. This year Brandon has been efficient when getting chances (outperforming xG) and has been difficult on opposing center back. In my opinion it was very disappointing that he was not given a look at this past USMNT camp.
3. Interestingly enough, FCC is worse at home than on the road. What’s behind this?
The $265 million question! I have no clue! Cincy have been good setting up their defense and springing on the counter this season, and I assume that on the road you may have more of those opportunities. Our defense is still a bit shaky so capitalizing on the break has been critical.
4. Will there be any notable absences from this weekend’s matchup? What are your score and lineup predictions?
Luciano Acosta was in Covid protocols until the middle of this week. I am not sure if he will travel or be fit to play. His omission from the lineup would be DEVASTATING for FCC. I am not sure there is one player more important to his team as Lucho is for Cincinnati. Tyler Blackett and Geoff Cameron should be fit to return to the XI, but youngster Ian Murphy and veteran Nick Hagglund have played very well in their absence.
*If no Acosta
Vazquez - Brenner
Moreno - Nwobodo
Nelson - Blackett - Cameron - Powell
Philly 3 - Cincy 1