Armchair Analyst: One big question for FC Cincinnati

A Big Question: Can Fanendo Adi lead the line in the 2019 version of MLS?

Adi has always been a streaky finisher and a somewhat mercurial personality, but ultimately he was reliable: You throw him out there and he's going to produce just a touch better better than a goal every other game.

That was the story from 2014 through the early part of 2017. But as of May of 2017, things changed.

Since that time, Adi has suited up 39 times for the Timbers and then for FC Cincinnati, playing in the MLS regular season, the U.S. Open Cup, the USL regular season and then the USL playoffs. In those 39 games he's scored just nine goals.

At this point it's not an isolated incident, or a limited sample size. It's nearly two years of a significant downward trajectory that seems to be partially related to the improved quality of MLS, and partially related to Adi maybe not quite being the guy he was in 2015 and '16. He certainly didn't dominate in USL the way many thought he would, and obviously that has nothing to do with MLS and everything to do with Adi himself.

As of right now Adi is the team's only DP, and his only backup is the similarly hit-and-miss Darren Mattocks. I have a feeling that preseason attacking output – which it's always dangerous to read too much into – is going to be meaningful for this team.