Down The Hatch

Down The Hatch: July 2

Welcome to this week’s mailbag – the penultimate one before FC Cincinnati begin the group stage in the MLS is Back Tournament.

Just like always, there are plenty of questions. I hope this is a source of answers. Questions can be submitted here or by tweeting at me. Thanks!

Zach: How are things going inside the bubble so far?

So far, so good.

Based on what Kekuta Manneh and Tom Pettersson told the media on Wednesday afternoon, the players said they feel safe inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. They said they have to wear a mask basically everywhere with the exception of the practice field and their rooms, and Manneh mentioned they have a lot of amenities.

As for playing, practices are limited to 90 minutes in Orlando and both players sound pleased with the training sessions so far.

Scott: We haven’t seen Jaap Stam coach FCC yet, but any guess how he might use five subs?

Good question, and this will be fascinating throughout the tournament. Think back to this time a year ago when Yoann Damet couldn’t fill an 18-man squad on matchday. Now, there are 18 players who could legitimately start.

With more options comes harder decisions to pick the starting XI, but more subs means coaching has never been so important.

How do you manage minutes after four months without matches? Is there a right time to use a sub?

Personally, FCC using “super subs” on the wings could potentially be lethal against an opposing backline that’s tired and fighting both the opposition and humidity.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see one or two changes in the midfield or up top, either. Maybe throw on another center back as an aerial threat late in a match?

Tyler: Is the stadium being built right now?

Yes, and construction has continued on over the past few months. It stands out in the city skyline – you can clearly see it from I-75 – and construction will continue leading up to the 2021 home opener at West End Stadium. 

Yacinol: How big is the chance that Haris Medunjanin will stay one season more?

Honestly, it’s too soon to worry about 2021 roster decisions as we await the league’s confirmed plans beyond the MLS is Back Tournament.

As for Medunjanin, it’s worth noting he’s 35 years old and will be 36 next March. Depending on how this season goes – and how he’s feeling – he’ll have a better idea for what he wants to do beyond the 2020 campaign.

Personally, having watched Frankie Amaya’s performances in the first two matches, he might be the natural fit takeover Medunjanin’s role at some point in the future.

Tea_mx5: What is the status of Darren Mattocks?

Mattocks is not with the club. On Feb. 28, FCC announced their 2020 roster and stated, “Forward Darren Mattocks has been excused from the club and removed from the roster so he can attend to personal matters.”

Paul: When is the steel part of the west end stadium supposed to be completed.

The club should have more info on this soon – as in next week – but completion is very, very close.

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