Down The Hatch

Down The Hatch: July 23

The last time I published a mailbag, we all wondered what would happen for FC Cincinnati after they lost their MLS is Back Tournament group stage opener.

We have an answer: two wins and a spot in the knockout stage.

But we all still have plenty of questions, and I tried answering them here. As always, thank you for your submissions and you can always send more by using this link or by tweeting at me.

Laurastevens_cincy: Are Locadia and Cruz going to play on Tuesday?

Head coach Jaap Stam hasn’t specified whether or not Jürgen Locadia has joined group training sessions. I expect we’ll have a better idea following his pre-match press conference this weekend before Tuesday night’s game.

As for Allan Cruz, he was available to play Wednesday night against the New York Red Bulls but was an unused substitute.

Realmlsmemes: What’s chance since the first game, how have you been able to improve?

The biggest thing is adaptation. After struggling against Columbus in a possessive 4-3-3, Stam implemented a defensive 5-3-2 that plays to the strengths of the roster.

I think the players always had confidence in their qualities, but to earn big results against Atlanta United FC and the New York Red Bulls further illustrates how much progress the team is making.

Changing tactics won’t lead to instant results. You also need faith from the players in what they’re doing. That’s what we’ve seen in the last two matches.

Diego123thompson: How will you approach the rest of the tournament?

Stam’s made it pretty clear that he just wants to see progress and players feeling more comfortable in their playing system. FCC advancing to this point is an achievement, so what can they achieve next?

The defensive approach is working well, so I expect that to continue. Any additional games this team can play in for the team would be a luxury for a head coach who’s still learning his squad.

Vincentfilipek29: How many hours before a match do you eat? And how many hours do you sleep?

Team meals tend to be three hours before kickoff. There’s also a post-game meal after every match. As for sleep, that just depends on when the game is. If FCC play at 10:30 p.m. at night, players will probably sleep way later than a 9 a.m. kickoff and an afternoon nap.

Tk_soccer28:  What’s it like playing for a coach who had a great career as a pro?

Since Stam arrived, all the players said they’ve been impressed by their new coach and respect the experience he’s bringing to Cincinnati. Caleb Stanko had the best response to this question while the team was training in the Queen City. Stanko basically said it was a privilege to hear Stam talk about the game, let alone have him as a coach.

Joep_marissen: Can Siem de Jong speak some Dutch?

He and a lot of the players in the team can. FCC have multiple players who played in the Dutch Eredivisie (de Jong, Haris Medunjanin, Przemysław Tytoń, Maikel van der Werff and Locadia), while Stam, assistant coach Said Bakkati general manager Gerard Nijkamp can as well.

Chewy_1914: When are you getting back Rey Ortiz #25?

I’m excited to watch Ortiz and the other players out on loan in the USL Championship. It’s too early to talk about recalling a player from loan – especially when they have a confirmed season and MLS hasn’t announced anything beyond the MLS is Back Tournament.

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