Down The Hatch

Down The Hatch: April 23

Hello, and welcome back to another week of my mailbag! While MLS play remains suspended, there’s still plenty of news surrounding FCC and the league. Of course, more news means more questions.

As a reminder, you can submit questions for the mailbag here, or by tweeting at me. Thanks for contributing!

Jane: Which player are you personally looking forward to tracking their progress this season?

I’m personally really excited to see Zico Bailey’s growth. While he’s technically the third stringer at right back behind Mathieu Deplagne and Saad Abdul-Salaam, Bailey is the second-youngest player on the team (19) and had a really strong preseason.

FCC acquired the fullback’s MLS Homegrown rights from the LA Galaxy for a 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick, with the potential to rise up to an additional $50,000 in General Allocation Money. (The Galaxy passed on the pick.)

In essence, Bailey was a low-risk acquisition who could develop into a nice addition to the roster. It was good business at the time, and if Bailey is able to make an FCC debut, he’ll be a nice option at right back. 

Cole: I was just wondering, after the COVID precautions come to a close, if we could see more player meet and greets this year?

It’s too early to guarantee anything, especially after the club and Pig Charities postponed the FCC3 race earlier this week. I’d say those will be on hold for the immediate future.

Wynston: How is COVID-19 affecting the coaching situation?

FC Cincinnati haven’t confirmed any of the previous coaching rumors and the search continues. The team hasn’t announced a timeline to appoint someone, and doesn’t need to anytime soon.

There’s no rush if there’s no immediate upcoming match. Additionally, the president’s new order just added a wrinkle if the club chooses to pursue a coach who doesn’t already live domestically.

FCC President Jeff Berding briefly addressed the question in his Twitter Q&A earlier today.

Khalil: Will delayed start benefit FCC?

I think so. When the season was suspended, the club was conceding goals at a worrying rate, and some of the team’s players were either injured (Adrien Regattin and Bobby Edwards), recovering from an injury (Tom Pettersson) or had literally arrived at the club days before (Siem de Jong).

When the season resumes, they’re all available, meaning FCC will be at full strength and – hopefully – with the strongest roster in team history. The team had an interim head coach when they last played. Will they again when they resume? Maybe not. But I think FCC are stronger now than they were then.

Isaiah: Is FCC still destined for year 2 success like Atlanta United?

We can hope! Greg Garza also has a nice little streak with expansion clubs in their second season.

Isaac: Funniest teammate?

I haven’t asked every player, but most say Nick “Skyline Boy” Hagglund.

Coltbabb_12: How will this season go?

Hopefully well when it starts! Like I said earlier, FCC had a lot of tools to work with. Now, they club needs to maximize the potential at its disposal once play resumes.

Connor: Why did Jimmy Hague get waived?

Jimmy Hague was waived the same week that Edwards joined the club. Regardless of who was on the roster between Hague and Edwards, both would find themselves sitting in the third spot behind Spencer Richey and Przemysław Tytoń.

I think Hague’s in a good spot now with Memphis 901 FC in the USL Championship. He’s in a spot to compete for minutes – something he never got with FCC in 2019.

FCC had two rookie goalkeepers last season: Hague and Ben Lundt. One went on loan to gain playing minutes; the other stayed with the MLS roster getting valuable repetitions in training.

There’s no right or wrong way to develop – it’s just everybody has a different path. Hopefully the one Hague’s on now will lead to playing time for a young goalkeeper.