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Storylines to watch heading into FC Cincinnati's 2021 season

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Posted at 11:31 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 23:31:40-04

FC Cincinnati is looking for its first season-opening win since joining Major League Soccer.

The club is 0-2 in season-opening games, but has a chance to change that Saturday night, when it faces Nashville SC on the road.

“They have to score goals,” said WCPO contributor Laurel Pfahler, who covers FC Cincinnati.

Plain and simple, that slowly became the most frustrating part of the 2020 FC Cincinnati team, which showed great promise during the “MLS is Back” tournament in Orlando last summer.

After leaving the “bubble” in Orlando, however, the team went 2-12-4 to close the season.

“They need to make sure they keep possession and moving forward,” said Pfahler. “A lot of times in the midfield, last year, they ended up going backwards and never had numbers going forward.”

The club made moves to improve that deficiency this offseason – namely in adding Luciano Acosta, to go with other additions in the offensive end like Brenner and Calvin Harris.

One major talking point in recent weeks, however, has been the reported departure of Frankie Amaya.

Notably, Amaya is still listed on FC Cincinnati’s official roster, but according to multiple national reports, the 20-year-old midfielder was traded away earlier this month.

“The reason it hurts is because it came so late in the offseason – or the preseason, really,” said Pfahler.

Instead of replacing Amaya with a player from outside the organization, it appears the coaching staff will move Yuya Kubo to Amaya’s position, with the possibility of others filling that void at times as well.

FC Cincinnati opens the season at 8:30 Saturday night on the road at Nashville SC.

Unlike most games last season, there will be thousands of fans at Saturday’s game.

Nashville is allowed to host up to 40% capacity inside Nissan Stadium, which has a typical seating capacity of close to 70,000 fans.