Eleven games is all it took for FC Cincinnati to decide they needed to go in a different direction.
Eight goals and eight points is all they earned, leading the decision makers in the Queen City to determine that the 11-match sample size of Alan Koch's MLS tenure is all they needed to see. He is the second-quickest manager in MLS history to be let go, as his 11 games are narrowly longer than Eddie Firmani (8) got with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1998. Teitur Thordarson (12) is third on that ignominious list for his time with the Vancouver Whitecaps in their expansion season.
Beyond that, the club's statement hinted at issues that cannot quite be quantified.
“After a series of recent issues and a team culture that had deteriorated, we determined that it’s time to make a change to return a club-centered focus to the team,” president and general manager Jeff Berding said in a team release. "... We have not come close to maximizing the talent we have in the dressing room this year, nor have we seen a foundation being built that will set us up for success this year and into next year."
So, where did it all go wrong for Koch? Here are three areas that divulge some answers.
Fanendo Adi sounds off pt. 1
Concerns were made regarding Cincinnati's perceived lack of attacking talent. Fanendo Adi, who was expected to handle the bulk of the goalscoring this season, vented his own worries.
“I have a lot of concerns. I want to score goals, and I need every support I can get in order to do that,” Adi said in February, mere days before the club's first MLS match. “When you’re a center forward and you don’t score goals, you get worried about the whole situation."
Adi has had his own injury and off-field issues, and thus has been limited to just four appearances with no goals. Across 124 regular-season games with the Portland Timbers, the Nigerian striker had 54 goals and 14 assists.
Seattle burns Cincy's high-line
With the building blocks assembled onto FC Cincinnati's inaugural roster, conventional wisdom suggested the club would set up a low block, stay narrow and compact, then look to score goals in transition and on set pieces.
That wasn't the case in their opening MLS match against the Seattle Sounders.
Cincy held a higher line of confrontation than expected, and higher than most deploy at CenturyLink Field, irrespective of roster construction and expansion status. They took the lead through a golazo from Leonardo Bertone, but lost 4-1. Seattle repeatedly exploited the space allotted by Cincinnati.
Though the club steadied the ship a bit, picking up two wins and a draw before the end of March, that form would quickly dissipate.
Real Salt Lake thumping
The slump reached a nadir with a 3-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake on April 19, a match that preceded a three-game road trip. In the seven games surrounding Cincy's loss to RSL, the Utah club has a win and six defeats.
That day, the expansion side put just one of their 14 shots on target.
Adi sounds off (pt. 2)-- Koch does, too
In perhaps what Berding was referencing in regards to losing the locker room, Koch's MLS career was bookended by Adi outcries.
After the club's fifth straight loss without scoring a goal, Adi again vented his frustrations.
“We just need to have an identity. We don’t have an identity yet,” Adi said after losing 1-0 to a 10-man San Jose Earthquakes team. “Of course, we’re a new team and a bunch of new players but we change formation and, you know, it’s no good. We just have to have an identity and that’s what is missing right now.
"We have another window coming up where we need to find additional players to improve the group," he said, via Cincinnati.com. "I think we’re very aware of it. It’s a project. You can’t play a group like Philly tonight and they’ve got quality players."
Koch, however, will not get the chance to partake in those efforts.