The Orange and Blue added a veteran defender Tuesday morning when Tom Pettersson signed from Östersunds FK.
The 29-year-old Swedish center back arrives having captained Östersunds and offers a different dimension to FC Cincinnati’s backline.
Pettersson is left-footed – the only left-footed center back currently on the FCC roster – which shouldn’t go unnoticed. He also has playing experience across the entire backline, in addition to playing in a back three or back four.
For a club that surrendered 75 goals last season, the Swede offers versatility and a comfort on the ball that will be essential if Cincinnati wants to build from its backline.
The center backs FC Cincinnati were recruiting last offseason are different from this season. Whereas the Orange and Blue went after big-bodied backs (Kendall Waston, Forrest Lasso, Nick Hagglund and Hassan Ndam), the focus has shifted from being a physical presence into a backline comfortable playing a possession-based style.
If GM Gerard Nijkamp and coach Ron Jans want to build from the back, that’s critical and can’t be understated. That was part of the thinking behind last year’s midyear signing of Maikel van der Werff.
This signing also gives Jans more options.
The Dutchman deployed various combinations between Waston, Hagglund and van der Werff last season. But with Pettersson in the mix, how does that change potential starting lineups? And because Pettersson has experience in a back three, could this signing also provide another tactical option with formation versatility?
Is backline depth set?
I’m saying yes.
FCC currently have 11 players across their backline. Any changes would probably see that number shrink, either from trades or loans.
Again, the Orange and Blue conceded 75 goals last season, setting a record for most allowed in an MLS season. That’s 2.2 goals allowed per game.
Changes were necessary.
Now, attention will more than likely shift to a focus on attack-minded players. FCC’s 31 goals scored were a league-low in 2019 (0.9 per game). Expect added quality and depth during the holiday season or at the start of next decade.