FC Cincinnati host their penultimate game at Nippert Stadium on Saturday night when they face Minnesota United FC.
Here are the main storylines approaching kickoff:
Amaya: “We created a lot of chances against Minnesota last time”
When these clubs first met on Oct. 3, head coach Jaap Stam reintroduced his preferred 4-3-3 system. The results were promising, albeit the two preventable goals that Cincinnati leaked in a 2-0 loss at Allianz Field.
Frankie Amaya hopes that performance can be replicated at Nippert Stadium to earn a second home win in 2020.
“Taking away from last match (against them), I thought we had a really good chance to win it. Obviously, we had a PK that went their way quick and that changed the whole game. I thought we created a lot of chances against Minnesota last time. If we bring the same energy, we’re going to have a good chance to get a good result.”
His coach agreed that FCC played well and deserved more from that match.
“To be honest, we played well and had possession and opportunities but also we conceded two goals too easily,” Stam said. “We need to do better Saturday and hopefully we can show our quality and we can get three points from that particular game.”
Amaya on his league-wide recognition
On Wednesday afternoon, MLS ranked the center midfielder as the No. 15 player in this year’s 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR rankings.
The reasoning for his accolade said:
“Being the No. 1 SuperDraft pick of an expansion team that struggled mightily out of the gates challenged Amaya greatly; in 2020 he showed he’s coming to terms with the pro level, flashing defensive muscle and a work rate in addition to his passing vision as he grows into a versatile modern central midfielder.”
The write-up reiterates the proven talent and promising potential that Amaya brings to the Cincinnati midfield. But when asked about it on Thursday, the “kid from Santa Ana” was far more interested in helping his team than earning individual praise.
“It’s obviously good, but sometimes I don’t pay attention to that,” he said. “I try to focus more on our team and what I can do to help our team win and more team success. I think that’s the most important thing. It’s always good to make some sort of list, but I try to do the best for my team.
“From where I started on this team to now, I feel like I’ve taken a bigger role and I’ve improved as a player and as a person and I’ve matured a lot over the last two years … I think I’ve done quite well and I need to continue to do better.”
Stam offers an update on McLaughlin
Jimmy McLaughlin, who is the lone player from the inaugural 2016 USL roster, was part of last Sunday’s matchday squad against D.C. United for the first time in two seasons. McLaughlin last played on Oct. 27, 2018 – nearly two years ago in the USL Cup Playoffs.
Part of the 2019 MLS squad, he tore his ACL in the week before preseason training started. In 2020, he suffered a high ankle sprain days before the MLS is Back Tournament began in Orlando.
“It’s tough because Jimmy has been injured for almost two seasons, so it’s difficult to get an impression from him and what he can bring into the games,” Stam said. “In the training sessions he’s done with the team, you get a certain impression from him and his ability. We need to assess him from here.
“He’s a great guy, he’s got a great personality, he’s willing to work hard for himself, but he’s also willing to work hard for the team. So, if we need him, we can call him and he’s going to put the best effort in in what he can do.”
FC Cincinnati hosts Minnesota United FC
When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Nippert Stadium (no fans permitted)
Weather: 50 Degrees
TV: WSTR Star 64
In-Market Stream: www.fccincinnati.com/stream
Out-of-Market Stream: ESPN+
Local Radio: WDJO 99.5 FM | 107.9 FM | 1480 AM
Audio Stream: TuneIn App | www.fccincinnati.com
Eastern Conference standings
10. Chicago Fire FC | 20 points
11. Atlanta United FC | 19 points
12. Inter Miami CF | 18 points
13. FC Cincinnati | 16 points
14. D.C. United | 15 points