Position Breakdown: Forward

With the inaugural season in MLS complete, FC Cincinnati turn their attention toward 2020. Here’s a glance at which players are currently set to return next season, based on their 2019 season:

To read about the goalkeepers, click here.

To read about the defenders, click here.

To read about the midfielders, click here.

Fanendo Adi

MLS appearances: 12

MLS starts: 7

Minutes played this season: 695

When Adi was loaned to the Orange and Blue in July 2018 and later had his trade completed on Jan. 1, he became FC Cincinnati’s first Designated Player and the face of the future. But as the 2019 season started, the storyline was prematurely halted.

In the team’s third game of the year – in a match up against his former club, the Portland Timbers – Adi suffered an ankle injury in first-half stoppage time and missed the next two matches. Once recovered, he missed more time with a legal matter. 

When he returned to the field, he saw limited time before he suffered a hamstring injury in mid-June, followed by a calf injury in July that kept him off the field for the rest of the season. His last game was July 21.

Through all of this, he only made a dozen appearances. But when he played, Adi showed the signs of his attacking potential. He had a goal at Atlanta in the second game of the season waived off as offside, and then was a menace to Portland in the third game before exiting with the injury. When he was healthy, he scored the game-winning goal at the Chicago Fire on July 13 – a class finish that visibly meant a lot to Adi. That was his only MLS goal this season.

When Adi scored against Chicago, he told reporters that 2019 was a year of “hell.” Now that the 2019 season finished, there’s a chance to move forward and see what awaits in 2020. 

Rashawn Dally

MLS appearances: 12

MLS starts: 8

Minutes played this season: 546

Drafted No. 49 in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft – a third-round selection – Dally joined the club and was initially loaned to USL Championship side Memphis 901 FC. But when interim coach Yoann Damet needed attacking choices as injuries and international call-ups mounted, Dally’s loan ended and the striker became a nice attacking option for Cincinnati.

After making his MLS debut June 22, he finished with one goal – against Houston on July 6 – and showed that his quickness and positioning can help him entering 2020.

Darren Mattocks

MLS appearances: 21

MLS starts: 13

Minutes played this season: 1,274

The Jamaica international was FCC’s first pick in the Expansion Draft and had a season that flowed in waves rather than consistency. (In fairness, the waves were in lockstep with the club’s coaching changes.)

Early portions of the season saw Mattocks creating chances, but goals were sporadic. While he finished with three goals, his play indicated there’s more to come in 2020.

The pacey forward’s speed and technical ability was an asset as the club moved into a more possession-based approach on the field. After scoring at Columbus in the #HellIsReal derby, Mattock’s time diminished before he saw increased minutes toward the end of the season. However, an ankle injury at Montreal on Sept. 14 prematurely ended his campaign.

Joseph-Claude Gyau

MLS appearances: 8
MLS starts: 5

Minutes played this season: 461

Signed on the transfer deadline day in August, Gyau made his MLS debut three days later in the first #HellisReal Derby. He proved that given time to adjust, he’s a strong option on the wing who can create attacking chances and drew the starting nod out wide in five of the team's last six games.

He provided one assist, but offered the ability to get past defenders and set up teammates to score. As the season winded down, Gyau’s influence in the team grew.

Kekuta Manneh

MLS appearances: 27

MLS starts: 15

Minutes played this season: 1,498

“Scooter” Manneh had one of the best seasons of any FC Cincinnati attacking player. After arriving from Switzerland, Manneh instantly produced bursts of speed, dribbling and excitement. 

Intelligent in possession, he scored four goals and provided three assists in 2019, which ranked third in scoring and tied for second in assists.

While a hip injury and shoulder surgery ended his 2019 prematurely, he’s rehabbing now in hopes of being ready for preseason training. When healthy, Manneh was a regular on the field and one of the team’s most exciting players. That should continue in 2020.


Note: Emmanuel Ledesma and Jimmy McLaughlin are currently in negotiations in the club to potentially return to FC Cincinnati in 2020.