Ron Jans: Battle for spots on 2020 FC Cincinnati team starts now

CINCINNATI — Head coach Ron Jans must figure out what can be salvaged from FC Cincinnati’s 2019 season after a comprehensive 3-1 Hell is Real defeat to rivals Columbus Crew SC Sunday.

“The goal now is to cultivate a way of play,” Jans said. “And to see which players fit in our future plans. I think I was patient in the first three games. But you have to do it. Otherwise, you're not in the plans of FC Cincinnati and not in my plans. So, the goals are: Improve the way of play and to show now who is part of FC Cincinnati next season.”

The Dutch manager offered pointed criticism of his team’s performance against the Crew, especially the first half, when Columbus scored all three of its goals.

“In the first half, I didn’t see a team,” he said. “I didn’t see players doing the game plan, and I don’t know why.”

“Some players, I won’t mention names here, they didn’t do what we wanted. And when you don't press with 11, or two or three players do the same thing, you're in trouble,” he added. “Columbus did well, finding the passing players and then move with speed, and they scored three goals and killed the game in the first half.”

Jans has his work cut out for him. FC Cincinnati have collected just 18 total points while posting a -37 goal differential, 17 goals worse than any team in the league. The MLS expansion side have nine fewer points than the Vancouver Whitecaps, who hold the second lowest total in the league.

“With this club, and this coach you have to be a team player,” Jans said. “And you have to give it all. And I saw not enough of that in the first half. But I know a lot of guys in our club, in my team, they have this spirit. So, we will continue on working on that. But for today, we had so much more expected from this game.”

While Jans makes decisions about the future of FC Cincinnati’s squad, the players are focused on finding anything positive to take away from the remainder of the season. 

“We just go back to training,” said midfielder Victor Ulloa. “Put in the work. Keep believing in ourselves. Keep believing in the group that we have and finish strong. Try to finish on a high note. It’s coming down to the last seven games for us and we have to push each other. It starts in training. A disappointing night for sure.”