Consider Sunday afternoon both an end and a beginning.
Today marks the end of FC Cincinnati’s inaugural MLS season. The matchup with D.C. United on Decision Day presented by AT&T concludes 2019, and the next game won’t be until 2020.
But in the buildup to the game, Head Coach Ron Jans said he wanted to play the individuals who will be part of the club’s future. In that regard, today’s lineup could be considered, in part, the beginning of what the 2020 roster could resemble.
And other than two mandatory changes, Jans kept the same starting XI from the home finale to start the club’s last game.
About the starters
Fatai Alashe and Caleb Stanko replace Frankie Amaya and Allan Cruz in the XI. Amaya picked up a groin injury late in the Orlando game, while Cruz is serving a yellow-card accumulation suspension, and – in turn – has already departed to meet up with Costa Rica for their Concacaf Nations League games.
Sunday marks Stanko’s first start since Sept. 7 when FCC lost 5-1 at home against Toronto FC.
This is Alashe’s first start since Sept. 18 in the 2-0 loss against Atlanta United FC at Nippert Stadium.
Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund will wear the captain armband in the season’s final match.
About the bench
All seven players were in the 18 in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Orlando City SC.
Tommy McCabe played in the second half against Orlando, while Kendall Waston, Rashawn Dally and Andrew Gutman could make their first appearances since the 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire on Sept. 21. Waston missed last game with a yellow-card accumulation suspension.
Justin Hoyte is looking for his first appearance since Aug. 31 at FC Dallas, while Jimmy Hague seeks his MLS debut.
About the absences
Kekuta Manneh (shoulder), Darren Mattocks (ankle), Jimmy McLaughlin (knee), Amaya (groin) and Spencer Richey (back) are all injured and unavailable in the final FCC match of 2019.