DeAndre Yedlin joins FC Cincinnati: USMNT defender "can add a lot"

DeAndre Yedlin - FC Cincinnati

The well-traveled career of DeAndre Yedlin has a new destination.

The US men's national team defender has officially arrived at FC Cincinnati, following a Monday trade with Inter Miami CF that sent the 30-year-old to the reigning Supporters' Shield winners.

Now joining his third MLS club in a career that's included stops in England and Turkey's top flights, Yedlin has grown accustomed to adapting to new surroundings.

"I'm always open to anything," the two-time World Cup veteran said Tuesday at his introductory press conference.

"I think I've been around the world playing and I just look at every new place that I go as a new experience. I try to be as open-minded as I can."

New faces

From FC Cincinnati's perspective, the fit seems an obvious one in a new-look backline.

Yedlin's skillset offers a plug-and-play option at right wingback following the departure of Santiago Arias to Brazilian side Bahia. He also forms a USMNT trio in Cincy's 3-5-2 formation, where he'll join center backs Matt Miazga and Miles Robinson.

Opposite Yedlin, Cincy are similarly integrating left wingback Luca Orellano (loan from Brazil's Vasco da Gama) as the replacement for the ultra-productive Álvaro Barreal following his loan to Brazil's Cruzeiro.

"I spoke to Matt, I spoke to Miles and they had nothing but good things to say, both about the city and the club," Yedlin said of his fellow countrymen. "And I've already seen that in the first few days that I've been here, so I'm really excited to be able to experience the city a bit more.

"Obviously I went to school in Akron, so I've lived in Ohio for a bit, but just in that one area," Yedlin added, referencing his college soccer days. "So, I'm really excited to be able to roam around and see the city. Obviously I played against Cincinnati with Miami, I've played in [TQL Stadium] with the national team, so for me it's probably the best stadium in the country, soccer-specific."

New challenge

Departing Inter Miami was bittersweet, given the allure of playing with some of the game's best-ever players in Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Luis Suárez.

But, as Yedlin pointed out, FC Cincinnati are an Eastern Conference frontrunner in their own right, having proven as much during last year's Shield-winning campaign.

"There's obviously great players on this team," the Seattle Sounders FC homegrown product said. "There's another special Argentine 10 reigning MVP [Luciano Acosta] that we have as well. So I'm excited to get to work with him and see what he's able to do.

"Obviously with Matt and Miles, I've played with them before. And the team has been one of the strongest teams of the last couple years, so I'm really excited just to get engrained in the group and see what the culture's all about."

Looking forward, Yedlin joins a Cincy side that's undefeated (1W-0L-1D) before Sunday's home match vs. D.C. United (3 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). They'll also open their Concacaf Champions Cup Round-of-16 series against Liga MX's CF Monterrey on Thursday.

"I think I fit in great," said Yedlin, who has 81 USMNT caps. "They have a very distinct style of play and I think the type of player that I am fits that style. So, just try to be very vertical and get up and down and get in behind defenses and be a menace on the defensive side.

"I feel great. I'm 30 years old, which is kind of crazy to say, but I feel great," he continued. "I still feel very fit, still feel like I'm sharp on the ball, my mind's still sharp. So I feel great and I think I can add a lot to the team and I'm just excited really to get started."