As players begin to settle into their new home, the simplicity of the move reflects the growing quality on the pitch

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FC Cincinnati have overcome and continue to overcome the challenges of integrating five new starting XI members who speak three different languages and come from three countries. This challenge is unique to the sporting world in the United States but not unfamiliar to FCC and its staff.

For the players on the field, though, the moves can be very familiar or very foreign.

Defending midfielder Pavel Bucha's move to the United States is the first outside of his home nation of Czech Republic in his young career; Argentine winger Luca Orellano is in a similar position, though he moved from Argentina to Brazil briefly before making the more significant move, in terms of distance, north to Cincinnati. DeAndre Yedlin's soccer travels have taken him worldwide, from his native Seattle to England and Turkey before returning to Major League Soccer in the United States.

Yedlin's familiarity with moving makes his experience more familiar but not easier. Moving a family cross-country, let alone internationally, has unavoidable challenges. For those doing it for the first time, the challenges can often come in accounting for things you could never have imagined you'd need to predict.

Some of those challenges can bleed over on the pitch, adding to the work needed to integrate players into the system.

Saturday night's 1-1 result on the road against Charlotte FC, thanks to a late goal assisted by Yedlin, was a sneak peek into where FC Cincinnati are headed. It was the next in a line of performances in which Orellano, Bucha and Yedlin continued to look more and more aligned with their teammates, and their correlating performances have begun to stand out more in alignment with their potential.

The Yedlin assist, a play that saw youngsters Bret Halsey and Dado Valenzuela start a break forward, leading to a centering pass from Sergio Santos to the surging Yedlin, who took a professional touch to Aaron Boupendza, who scored the goal, stood out as a play that would be scene from a team that had been playing together for years would have the chemistry and familiarity to pull off.

"One of the first rules is that the first guy in the box needs to try to get to the front post," Yedlin said. "I'm not usually in the box or in that position that much… but I was just trying to get to the front post to drag a defender with me if I could just in case there was a cutback and the ball came to me…I saw (Boupendza) coming in out of the corner of my eye, so I took a touch."

Veteran experience mixed with team familiarity created the important goal. Tight, succinct passes that were intentional and fundamentally sound, with tactical knowledge behind them, in that Yedlin knew exactly what he was supposed to do to create an opportunity.

"It speaks volumes to the people that are here," Yedlin said postgame. “Not just the players, the staff, the whole club in general, even just being around the city. Everybody's been incredibly welcoming to me and my family and made it a really easy transition.

"I think sometimes people can't forget, like, I'm moving my whole family. So that can be difficult, but it's really been as easy as it can be."

That kind of play also takes sacrifice. By dragging to the near post, Yedlin essentially takes himself out of the play as a goal scorer to create open area in the box by dragging a defender away from the middle space. The angle he would have to operate from just becomes too narrow. However, creating that space leaves an open window for his teammate to score the equalizing goal. Yedlin is rewarded with the assist, but there's no promise of reward in making that move to the near post. A different pass bypasses Yedlin altogether, but Boupenedza (in this case) would still be open because of the open area created.

Yedlin's contribution will be immortalized on the score sheet with the assist, but Bucha and Orellano's performances are clearly rounding into the same form. Yedlin may have the head start with his familiarity with the United States, MLS, and, in all reality, the English language, but it's clear the pair of internationals are starting to find their groove.

"(Bucha) has been good…the way he gets into positions to make plays with the final pass or the final shot…he had a strong impact tonight, and I thought advanced with the ball in good ways," Noonan said of the developing performances of his new Czech midfielder. "He's also got a desire to find the goal, so it's going to come."

The midfielder has been highly critical of himself in interactions with the media when asked about his performances early, despite a reasonable understanding of the time it takes to acclimate. But that self-reflection is exactly why the sparks of his truest potential now shine.

"He holds himself to high standards. You can see it from the very beginning and in the preseason in a new environment when he made mistakes he was frustrated with himself at times, almost in an unrealistic way," Noonan said. "Because you would imagine that early on in a player's getting acclimated to a new environment, you're gonna make mistakes, but he values keeping the ball, he values making the right decisions in the right moments, and when he does get dispossessed, that can be frustrating for him. So I love that."

Orellano, the newest international signing with the club, came in late to preseason training, with his loan from Brazil's CR Vasco da Gama not finalizing until February 23. The Argentine winger has been a quick study, though, and paired with his unique skill set on the wing and FC Cincinnati's emphasis on allowing its wing backs to shine on offense, the 23-year-old has already looked like one of the more dangerous offensive weapons The Orange and Blue have in their arsenal.

While it is still early, and we have only seen Orellano scratch the surface of his potential, the quick display is thanks to his preparation and eagerness to learn about FC Cincinnati.

"He's a very serious kid, but serious for the right reasons," Noonan said of Orellano. "The way he prepares himself, the way he trains, the way he competes, the way he's been tasked to take on a new challenge and try to make the most of it. I think all those things have allowed him to have a positive impact on our group. So for us, he's only going to get better."

Orellano was familiar with FCC before he arrived in Cincinnati and watched The Orange and Blue last season with a keen eye toward his countrymen Luciano Acosta and Alvaro Barreal. By being familiar with FCC's game and style, Orellano has been able to come in and make an immediate impact.

"Luca continues to be a threat for us, and now it's turning the threat into production," Noonan added. "I'm looking forward to the moment where he finds his first goal with the team, and I think it's going to lead to a lot more."

With each passing day, the newcomers—particularly those who have had later starts with the club—get more and more acclimatized. The group continues to gel on and off the field, and while they do, The Orange and Blue are still top of the table with 12 points and are one of three undefeated squads.

It's too early to think about the standings or what they may look like in October, but FCC is putting itself in a position to thrive from the top once it figures everything else out rather than chase the league.

A comfortable spot to be in, if you ask me.