Trade or draft? Koch mum on Cincinnati's plans with No. 1 SuperDraft pick

Alan Koch - FC Cincinnati - smiling at MLS expansion event

FC Cincinnati's offseason has gone by in a flash as they prepare for their inaugural season in Major League Soccer. The foundation they lay now, with the decisions made on roster building, will determine the course of the expansion side's first years in MLS.

Next up on the agenda: what to do with their 2019 SuperDraft No. 1 selection?

After assembling much of their roster back-to-front, boasting a deep and talented defensive unit, speculation has grown that the club will select an attacking player, such as UCLA's Frankie Amaya, VCU's Siad Haji or Syracuse's Tajon Buchanan with the number one selection.

If they hold onto it, that is.

"Do we want to keep it? Yes, and we'd be comfortable with that. Are we open to doing a piece of business? Yes, we're definitely open to that," head coach Alan Koch explained to ExtraTime Radio from the MLS Combine. "We don't have to make that decision until that clock counts down and we've got to hand in a piece of paper. So we'll wait if we have to until the last second or, if we feel comfortable, we'll make that decision tonight. I think there's several players that we feel very comfortable picking with that first pick."

On top of external additions, FC Cincy have signed a large number of players from their USL side to MLS deals. Koch understands there is some questioning of the club's choices, but isn't concerned. 

"There has been lots of debate as to why we've brought so many of our USL players up with us," Koch said. "There's a distinct philosophy as to why we bring them up, there's a reason behind it. Culture is a big part. Players we believe in and understand how we train, how we work. I know the first day of preseason when we bring in all of these new players, I know what to expect from the players we're bringing up. ... We'll go on with a little bit of the underdog mentality, but we'll stay true to ourselves." 

After watching Atlanta United and LAFC skip the typical expansion season growing pains, Koch isn't putting a ceiling on his side's ambition in Year One. 

"Our goals are to be as successful as possible in this first year," Koch said. "I don't think any team should start a season where their goal is not to pick up the cup at the end of the year. Our goal will be to pick up the cup at the end of the year. Is that realistic? Who knows. Most people will say probably very unrealistic in the first year, but you should aim as high as you possibly can."

Listen to ETR's full interview with Alan Koch