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USL Insights – Cincinnati’s Centerpiece

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 05/11/17, 3:41PM EDT

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König’s addition provides focal point for Koch’s attacking system


Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC

The USL saw its first trade of the season come down on Wednesday lunchtime, and it was a doozy. FC Cincinnati and OKC Energy FC traded forwards, with 2015 USL Most Valuable Player finalist Danni König heading to Cincinnati in exchange for Andy Craven, as Energy FC regained part of its attacking corps last season.

König’s addition to FCC is what we’re going to focus on here, because it appears to provide a solution to a problem that had arisen for Head Coach Alan Koch. In the past two games since Djiby Fall’s suspension, FCC has really lacked what König will bring the side in terms of a central striker in the team’s 4-3-3 system that can execute strongly in the penalty area.

FCC looked at Andrew Wiedeman in that role, but it just didn’t quite seem to fit what is an otherwise excellent skill-set. Wiedeman has seemed more comfortable playing off a main striker – with two assists and nine chances created this season – and while he managed to get into the penalty area pretty consistently on April 29 against Bethlehem, this past Saturday against Richmond he seemed to drift wide more often than not, registering only four touches in the penalty area, and none within the area above the six-yard box.

Andrew Wiedeman, FC Cincinnati
Touch Map vs. Bethlehem, 4/29/17

ANDREW WIEDEMAN, FC CINCINNATI
TOUCH MAP VS. RICHMOND, 5/6/17

That space between the penalty spot and the top of the six-yard area is where König did his best work for Energy FC. He finished second in the USL Golden Boot race with 21 goals for Energy FC in 2015, and only one of those tallies came from outside the penalty area. Yes, he’s struggled for form since then – and has yet to find the net this season – but a change of scenery and the type of service he can expect to get from Wiedeman, Kadeem Dacres, Jimmy McLaughlin and others could be exactly what the Danish striker needs to get on track.

The first chance to see how this will work moving forward comes on Saturday against Orlando City B, when Nippert Stadium will be ready to welcome its new addition. It’s definitely one we’ll be tuning in for.

MONARCHS CONTINUE TO MOVE


Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II

San Antonio FC’s outstanding start to the season has earned a lot of headlines – see Billy Forbes’ earning the first USL Player of the Month award – but Real Monarchs SLC is almost keeping pace with the Western Conference leader after another impressive display on Wednesday night against the LA Galaxy II.

The Monarchs have scored the second-most goals in the USL after their 3-0 win against Los Dos, and it’s been a team effort to reach that point with five different players having recorded multiple goals this season. At the center of Wednesday’s win was the midfield triangle of Charlie Adams, Nick Besler and Sebastian Velasquez.

Real Monarchs' Adams (41) & Besler (43)
Passes + Shots vs. LA, 5/10/17

Adams and Besler both put in strong performances against Los Dos as their holding midfield partnership continued to flourish. While Besler held the center well, protecting the back four and finding good passes, Adams had the chance to freelance into wider spaces and further up the field, from where he created two more chances and found his first goal of the season, arriving late to knock in Daniel Haber’s smart knock-down in the penalty area.

Adams is tied for third in the USL with 18 chances created so far this season, and while part of that is due to his being the primary set piece taker for the side, it’s also because of the vision he’s shown getting into the final third. Add the movement and feel for connecting in the final third, and you not only have a side that’s turning heads higher up the organization, but also a credible threat to SAFC’s place in the standings.

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