St. Louis

OPINION: FCC fans should welcome St. Louis to MLS

FC Cincinnati fans know what it’s like to play the role of upsetter in the U.S. Open Cup, make national headlines and win an MLS bid.

After all, without beating Columbus Crew SC and the Chicago Fire in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, maybe Cincinnati would still have an MLS team in 2019, but the path getting there certainly would’ve looked much different and without the same emotional journey.

So, that’s why Orange and Blue fans should see St. Louis winning an MLS expansion bid and be pleased – even if Saint Louis FC’s biggest moment before the expansion announcement was beating FC Cincinnati with a thrilling last-second goal in stoppage time of 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Before beating FCC, STLFC beat the Chicago Fire in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.

FCC has faced Saint Louis before in USL play, and even has three former players getting regular action for STLFC.

Whenever the teams meet again in the future – St. Louis joins MLS in 2022 – there will be a connection, and – maybe more importantly – another club that’s fairly close to visit for an away date.

Once St. Louis enter MLS, that’ll be four cities in the league within a five-hour drive each way: Columbus, Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis.

Maybe that’ll help grow a future rivalry. We’ll see.

But Cincinnati fans know how painful the MLS expansion process can be. They also know how rewarding it can be, too. So, credit to St. Louis fans for having that dream come true.

When FCC lost to Saint Louis FC two months ago, the match was heartbreaking for Cincinnati but magical for the home side. Sitting at World Wide Technology Soccer Park, you couldn’t help but think you witnessed history.

Two summers ago, that was Cincinnati writing history. This past June, the club got the bitter taste from the other side of a defeat by an upstart lower-level team.

I’ll be curious to see what happens when the teams meet again in MLS league play.