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FC Cincinnati 2024 Season Preview


Armchair Analyst's Breakdown

  • Strength: Last year’s Supporters’ Shield champs lost a few key pieces, but probably upgraded in central midfield and maybe along the backline as well. They have the reigning MVP, they have solidity and depth everywhere, and they have provided no reason to expect a massive drop-off.
  • Weakness: With the sale of Brandon Vazquez and the return of Yerson Mosquera to England, I’m not sure the high-end talent is quite so high this year. And remember, Cincy won the Shield in 2023 by dominating one-goal games. That’s where match-winners matter most.

Key Departures

  • Santiago Arias: Arias, Cincy's starting right wingback in 2023, signed for Brazilian top-flight side Bahia this winter. It was a short, but memorable stay for the Colombian international.
  • Junior Moreno: The Venezuelan international midfielder was out of contract, then signed for Saudi Pro League side Al-Hazem. Moreno, combined with a D.C. United stretch, played in 153 MLS matches.
  • Yerson Mosquera: After a successful season-long loan to Cincy, the Colombian international center back returned to Premier League side Wolves. He's now on another loan at LaLiga side Villarreal.
  • Brandon Vazquez: European-centric transfer speculation shifted into Vazquez joining Liga MX powerhouse side Monterrey for a reported $7.5 million with $1 million in add-ons and a sell-on clause. The USMNT striker had 26g/12a in 62 matches over the past two years.

Key Signings

  • Corey Baird: Baird is coming off a career-best season at Houston Dynamo FC, when he had 14 goal contributions (8g/6a) as they reached the Western Conference Final and won the US Open Cup. Can the free-agent addition fill their Vazquez-sized hole while partnering with Aaron Boupendza?
  • Pavel Bucha: With Moreno out the door, Cincy promptly acquired Bucha from Czech first-division side Viktoria Plzeň. He forms a new midfield trio alongside Obinna Nwobodo and Luciano Acosta.
  • Luca Orellano: This move is expected to go official soon, with Orellano taking over right wingback duties. The Argentine would join from Vasco da Gama. 
  • Miles Robinson: A marquee free-agent signing, Robinson is a two-time MLS Best XI center back and a consistent USMNT call-up. He arrives from Atlanta United and should form a high-end partnership with Matt Miazga, the reigning MLS Defender of the Year.
  • Full roster

Projected Starting XI

24MLS_Lineups_FC Cincinnati 1


  • Marcelo Balboa: 2nd in Eastern Conference
  • Kyndra de St. Aubin: 1st in Eastern Conference
  • Matt Doyle: 5th in Eastern Conference
  • Brian Dunseth: 1st in Eastern Conference
  • Miguel Gallardo: 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • Antonella Gonzalez: 2nd in Eastern Conference
  • J. Sam Jones: 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • Sacha Kljestan: 4th in Eastern Conference
  • Kaylyn Kyle: 2nd in Eastern Conference
  • Lori Lindsey: 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • Frédéric Lord: 4th in Eastern Conference
  • Joseph Lowery: 4th in Eastern Conference
  • Sammy Sadovnik: 1st in Eastern Conference
  • Andrew Wiebe: 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips: 2nd in Eastern Conference
  • Diego Valeri: 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • Jake Zivin: 2nd in Eastern Conference

Odds & Ends

  • Head coach: Pat Noonan
  • Stadium: TQL Stadium
  • Last year: 20W-5L-9T, 69 points, 1st in Eastern Conference
  • Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Final