If possible, Head Coach Alan Koch said he wouldn’t have changed the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon at the New England Revolution.
After all, in FC Cincinnati’s last two matches, they earned a point at reigning 2018 MLS Cup champions Atlanta United FC and battered the Portland Timbers, the MLS Cup runner-up, in FCC’s home opener.
But that’s the problem: it’s not possible.
Five FCC players are absent Sunday with international duty. Here’s the list of healthy scratches:
- Kendall Waston, Allan Cruz (Costa Rica)
- Alvas Powell, Darren Mattocks (Jamaica)
- Frankie Amaya (U.S. Under-20s)
The first four were critical in the 3-0 home opener against Portland; the first three started.
But none are available in New England, and for the first time as an MLS club, FC Cincinnati will have to noticeably rotate their roster. (Only two changes were made to the starting lineup in three games.)
Thus, Koch said players needed to step up during training this week for an opportunity for minutes that potentially wouldn’t have been available otherwise.
“The group knows we have to make some changes, obviously,” Koch said. “Guys see it as an opportunity to embrace that chance. The guys that step up the most are the guys we’ll reward. You earn playing time not just by being here and being on a contract.
“You earn it in how you carry yourself and how you train every single day. Some players have been very, very intelligent and they’ve seized their moment and they’ve earned that playing time in how they’ve trained every single day.”
That opportunity arrives in New England, where sixth-place Cincinnati plays 11th-place New England. The Revs are winless through three matches and have one point.
“We know they’re struggling and that they’re at home,” midfielder Victor Ulloa said. “They want to get a result and turn that into the momentum we have. We have to focus on that, be responsible on the ball and go in there and fight for 90 minutes.”
FC Cincinnati at New England Revolution
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Where: Gillette Stadium
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, 57F
TV: WSTR Star64
Local Video Stream: FloSports
Out of Market Video Stream: ESPN+
Local Radio: WDJO (99.5 FM | 107.9 FM | 1480 AM)
Audio Stream: TuneIn App, fccincinnati.com
Here is our player to watch and his Health Carousel Player Resume:
Opponent’s player to watch: forward Carles Gil
Gil signed with the Revolution ahead of the 2019 season and has three goals in as many games.
Before New England, he played in La Liga and the English Premier League.