FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp has said there have been signs of progress for the team this year but that it will still take several more transfer windows before the team can truly compete in MLS.
While the 2020 season started out with two losses, FC Cincinnati made it to the Round of 16 in the MLS is Back Tournament before being eliminated, giving fans hope that things were turning around after finishing 2019 with just 24 points and -44 goal differential.
Since the regular season restart, the club has gone 2W-8L-4D and is currently sitting one spot above D.C. United, dangerously close to finishing in last place in the league again.
“In the beginning of my appointment for the club. I spoke already that this project will take several years to build a team who can compete in this league. And it is not by one or two windows, but I think four or five windows,” Nijkamp said on Cincinnati Soccer Talk’s podcast this week.
Nijkamp, who joined the club in June 2019, later clarified that he views the current window as his second with the club and emphasized the need for patience, citing the likes of Minnesota United and Toronto FC as clubs who took several seasons before making the playoffs as an expansion team.
"We need to build this club and we are in the same process where Minnesota was, where Toronto was, Philadelphia is an example, too, and that takes time. Every time we want to show progress and we want to go fast retain everyone, especially me under my leadership, but sometimes we have to be a little realistic where we are."
While the stats show that some progress has been made this season, Nijkamp is not satisfied.
“We want to see progress and progress not only seen by our eyes, but also measured by the stats. And then you can see, so far, 18 games played and last season 34 … we scored less goals that's true. We concede less goals, that's also true. The expected goals in percentage is higher, so that means we can control the match more, we have more positional gain. We receive less advances against us. So, if you look at that, you see we make progress but then I can be not satisfied because I was thinking we were a little bit further, especially with some individuals,” he said.
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Nijkamp added that they want to be realistic with the pandemic and difficult schedule, but they also have to work to “make more progress for next season and to finish the season as good as possible.”
For more, listen to the entire podcast below.