“In six weeks time, I realized how much the team and the staff had to suffer this season because of losses and changes. Now, everything came out.”
The Dutch are known for being blunt. If we’re being blunt about FC Cincinnati’s 2019 season, significant parts of it have been horrible. Last match, the 5-1 home loss to Toronto FC – the biggest home defeat in club history – was terrible.
So, to go from that game to Saturday night, when FCC scored after 27 seconds and won for the first time since July 13, it’s hard not to view the result as anything but hopeful. Hopeful for the season to end well. Hopeful for the offseason toward 2020. And hope in Ron Jans as FC Cincinnati’s head coach.
The Dutchman was the club’s third coach this season. Before his arrival, that meant a lot of losses, and, often times, by hefty scoring margins.
But since his first match on Aug. 10, he promised that positive energy and belief would lead to positive results. Against Montreal, FCC saw that come true.
When General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said earlier this summer that he wanted to find the right coach to turn FC Cincinnati around, he said that would take time. In that perspective, the timing meant weeks and months before Jans was hired.
But even when Jans became coach, he needed time to find a result. While we haven’t seen enough of him to see what his true potential as a coach can be, we’ve seen him provide hope to a team that spent portions of this season looking hopeless.
Now, there’s plenty of hope, and not just because of a win.
Greg Garza and Frankie Amaya spent time sidelined with injuries. Both are back in the starting lineup helping the team.
Against Montreal, Jans deployed arguably his strongest starting XI seen this season. And while that didn’t lead to a goal 27 second in – Montreal failing to clear the ball did – it did explain a good performance in the ensuing 99 minutes before the match official sounded the final whistle.
What comes next is four games remaining in the regular season, then an offseason that will see personnel changes. Like Nijkamp said, he wants Cincinnati to be a playoff team in 2020, and an MLS Cup competitor in 2021.
Jans crossed the Atlantic Ocean with the hopes of turning this club around. That’s why he was hired, and that’s what he said his biggest objective is. What he and FCC showed Saturday night, is that he is turning things around, and this isn’t the same team with the same mentality as when he replaced Interim Yoann Damet.
It’s too late for 2019 to be completely turned around for FC Cincinnati, but it’s not too late to see things are improving. Going from a 5-1 home loss to a 1-0 road win – for the first clean sheet since March 24 – shows improvement.
Like the Dutchman said, he saw how much everyone suffered.
What Saturday night at Stade Saputo reminded the players and supporters alike is the toughest moments are in the past. Everything came out.