FC Cincinnati is in the midst of building its roster ahead of its inaugural 2019 MLS season, a process that will ramp up considerably in the coming weeks.
MLS wastes very little time in turning the page from one season to the next, and that much was evident with Tuesday's expansion draft for new club FC Cincinnati.
Not even three full days after Atlanta United lifted MLS Cup, the league's 24th team has continued building its inaugural roster. FC Cincinnati has carried over a number of players from its successful USL club, including MLS-tested talent like former Portland Timbers striker Fanendo Adi and former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe. Reigning USL MVP Emmanuel Ledesma and reigning USL Defender of the Year Forrest Lasso will also be among those making the leap to MLS.
But Tuesday provided a chance to add more players experienced in MLS, or at the very least a chance to accrue assets to then spin off into either money or other players, and that's exactly what happened before the biggest announcement of them all–that the club has traded $200,000 in General Allocation Money and $250,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to Atlanta for starting left back Greg Garza. Even later in the day, the club splashed its allocation money some more, sending $750,000 of it (with the potential to reach $825,000) and an international roster slot to Vancouver in exchange for Costa Rican defender Kendall Waston.
You can watch their picks and reactions to them here (the clubs who lost players were compensated with $50,000 in general allocation money):
PICK 1: FC Cincinnati takes forward Darren Mattocks from D.C. United
Mattocks scored a career-high 10 goals for D.C. last season but always seemed to leave manager Ben Olsen and the supporters wanting more. He adds an element of speed and dynamism up top to complement Adi's skillset
"I think he's capable of even more than he's shown in the league," manager Alan Koch said upon making the selection.
PICK 2: FC Cincinnati takes forward Kei Kamara from Vancouver Whitecaps
FCC immediately traded Kamara to the Colorado Rapids, acquiring an international roster slot in exchange for the pick.
PICK 3: FC Cincinnati takes winger Roland Lamah from FC Dallas
With 19 goals and nine assists in his last two seasons with FCD, Lamah gives another attacking element to the wing
PICK 4: FC Cincinnati takes midfielder Eric Alexander from the Houston Dynamo
Alexander is an 11-year MLS veteran, and he brings plenty league experience to the table, although he has been more of a bit player in recent seasons.
PICK 5: FC Cincinnati takes defender Hassan Ndam from the New York Red Bulls
FCC will be familiar with the 20-year-old Ndam from his play in USL. The young Cameroonian center back made one start for the MLS version of the Red Bulls last season.
After Tuesday, presuming FCC holds onto the four players it didn't spin off, here is what the club's very-much-work-in-progress roster looks like entering its debut MLS season in 2019:
GOALKEEPERS: Spencer Richey
DEFENDERS: Greg Garza, Justin Hoyte, Forrest Lasso, Hassan Ndam, Blake Smith, Kendall Waston
MIDFIELDERS: Fatai Alashe, Nazmi Albadawi, Eric Alexander, Corben Bone, Roland Lamah, Emmanuel Ledesma, Jimmy McLaughlin
FORWARDS: Fanendo Adi, Darren Mattocks, Emery Welshman