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Paul King - Becoming Royalty

Started on 10 June 2019 by TheLFCFan
Latest Reply on 2 October 2019 by ScottT
Two huge teams knocked out in Galaxy and Atlanta which will give a bonus to all teams. The Toronto tie looks tough, especially with your opposite number Bielsa being an idol ;)

Toronto Break Cincy Hearts

Toronto FC have beaten FC Cincinnati 2-0 in the Eastern Conference First Round, thanks to goals from Jay Chapman and Laurent Ciman, breaking the hearts of Cincinnati fans.

After an incredible season, in which FC Cincinnati exceeded all expectations, Toronto FC have stopped them in their tracks in the first round of the playoffs. With Cincy going into the game with high hopes, they could never get a hold on the game, with Toronto showing their class throughout.

Controlling 57% of possession in the first 45, as well as limiting their opponents to just two shots, Toronto were unfortunate to not go into the half time break a goal or two ahead. Coming out of the break, it was the same as before with the Candaian outfit continuing to pile on the pressure. Cincinnati finally cracked in the 53rd minute, starting from a poor pass from Rasmus Schüller on a rare Cincy attack. With Schüller gifting the ball to former Derby County player Johnny Russell, the Scot burst forward. A clever pass found Jordan Hamilton, who then laid a pass off for Jay Chapman. Chapman, who won the games ‘Man of the Match’ award, made no mistake in firing it into the Cincy net.

Having dominated the game, Toronto started to show cracks following the opener. Leandro Bertone forced Alex Bono into his first save of the game in the 75th minute, before Brian Black came close twice, having come on as a substitute. Cincy’s best chance of the game however, fell to fellow substitute Jonathan Spector in the 78th minute.

A short Toronto goal kick was received by centerback Julian Dunn. Julian Gressel immediately put the pressure on the young Canadian, who instantly gave the ball back to his keeper. With Gressel joined by Jonathan Spector in applying the pressure, Bono had no options and kicked it straight into the chest of the German winger. Rebounding straight of Gressel’s chest, Spector had the entire goal to aim at from the edge of the area. Yet the experienced American international, saw his shot go wide of the near post.

A clearly furious Paul King was animated on the touch line throwing his jacket to the ground in fury. The miss proved fatal as Toronto once again took control of the game, earning a penalty with a minute to go. Centerback and Vice-Captain, Laurent Ciman was given the duty and made no mistake in converting the spot kick.

With little time left, Leandro Bertone once again came close, however, Bono ensured his side kept a clean sheet in their first round playoff match. Despite the impressive performance, Marcelo Bielsa, Toronto’s Head Coach, wasn’t overly complimentary of his sides win.

“I thought we were ok at best. We should have gone into half time at least one or two up and then when we finally did get that opening goal, we let them back into the game. Thankfully our defense and especially Alex (Bono) performed well to keep us ahead. We are going to need to improve again next week if we want to stand a chance against New York City, who are a very talented team.” commented Marcelo Bielsa with the help of his translator.

Toronto will now go to New York to face Eastern Conference regular season champions, New York City next week saturday. Whilst for FC Cincinnati, they will be going on holiday having impressed everyone throughout their debut season.

“Obviously right now in this moment I am very disappointed. It was a match we thought we could win and perform well in but we never managed to really get into it. Credit to Toronto they controlled the game well apart from a spell of about ten minutes. But overall I am so very proud of this side, we have done exceptionally well this year. With this platform in place we are looking forward to progressing and becoming even stronger. We can’t afford to now sit and say we have done well in the first year we can relax a bit and assume we will continue to make the playoffs every year. Next year we will have even more games with the CONCAF Champions League so it is important we strengthen well this off-season and get right back at it from the off next season.” stated Paul King.

With Cincinnati’s manager clear in his thoughts about the franchises future, it will be interesting to see how he strengthens his team. With six members (Nazmi Albadawi, Forrest Lasso, Jimmy Mclaughlin, Eric Kronenberg, Victor Ulloa and Fatai Alashe) of his squad seemingly running out their contracts, additions will certainly be needed.

Other Playoff First Round Results

Eastern Conference
New York Red Bulls
3-2 New England Revolution (AET)

Western Conference
Vancouver Whitecaps
2-2 Real Salt Lake (Vancouver Whitecaps won 5-4 on penalties)
San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 Houston Dynamo (AET)


Jim: Thank you mate. I really enjoyed that update, seeing how everyone had done more in depth whilst also noting their key players. Glad you enjoyed it!
Scott:Just a step to far. A team who has been able to develop a strong side over the past few years and with Bielsa in charge it was always going to be tough.
SOA:Unfortunately we couldn't quite manage it. They were excellent throughout the game and the better team went through.
Jack:It was certainly interesting seeing Galaxy and Atlanta not making the playoffs. Toronto were brilliant and dominated from start to finish. Unfortunately we just couldn't get anything going. Onwards and upwards next season though.
A bitter pill to swallow. :(
The season is over. Of course the final note was disappointing, but there's always be another season to play. Time to start preparing for your next attack on the title.
Of course it's heartbreaking to go out so soon, but King has shown to be a really capable manager and with a few signings, who knows what'll happen next year
A very hard defeat to take for Paul King`s men for sure and for the Cincy fans, but you have to be extremely proud of what Cincy achieved in this first season. Hopefully next season Cincy can take it a step further :)
Disappointing defeat, but I’m sure King and the Cincinnati lads will come back stronger from it.
The world doesn't end here, you did marvellously well with Cincinnati to reach this point. Time to grow from experience!
TheLFCFan's avatar Group TheLFCFan
4 yearsEdited

Black Bags Rookie of the Year award

After an incredible debut campaign, having been selected as the number one overall pick in the 2019 Superdraft, Brian Black has been announced as the 2019 Rookie of the Year award.

Born in Texas, in 1996, Brian Back was made the 2019 Superdrafts number one overall pick and FC Cincinnati’s first ever draft pick. Since then he has gone on to make 37 appearances in all competitions for the club with 11 coming from the bench.

Seen as the number one option at the beginning of the season by Head Coach Paul King, he started in fine form. Scoring twice and assisting two more in the Orange and Blue’s 4-1 win over Seattle Sounders, Black impressed from the off. Continuing to impress, he popped up with some highly important goals throughout the season, including his 89th minute equalizer against Montreal Impact and the only goal in our 1-0 win over Portland Timbers.

Despite losing his place to Aron Jóhannsson in the latter stages of the season, Black has made a total of 32 league appearances (8 coming from the bench) scoring seven goals and assisting on five occasions. Whilst in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, he scored twice, with one coming in the semi-final against Houston Dynamo and the other the winner in our 1-0 quarter-final victory over Philadelphia Union.

“It is an honour to win this award. Many greats of this league have won this award, including my team mate Julian (Gressel). But I know this isn’t the end now, I lost my place in the starting line up at the end of the year and I want to prove I deserve it back. I am looking forward to helping this team win trophies and we are already looking towards next season.” Brian Black told

As Black mentioned, many other future league hall of famers have won the Rookie of the Year award, including Omar Gonzalez and Clint Dempsey. Whilst current FC Cincinnati player, Julian Gressel captured the award in 2017, whilst playing for Atlanta United.

With Philadelphia Union midfielder Dave Wong coming runner up, it was David Cooper, who came in third place in the award. With Cooper making just nine league starts in the season, finding himself behind Gressel in the pecking order, he has clearly impressed enough with his limited game time. With two goals and two assists, Cooper certainly made an impact whenever he was brought onto the pitch and Head Coach, King, clearly values his young players.

“We are delighted for the pair of them. Both lads have worked incredibly hard this season and are deservedly been recognized. We weren't planning on having Brian be our number one guy this season, but after an impressive Pre-Season, there was no doubt he was our man. We obviously bought in Aron (Jóhannsson) half way through the season and Brian saw less game time. But it is important we don’t give these youngsters every minute every season, they are still young and need some rest. David, was also excellent whenever we called upon him and we are very excited about both men's futures here at the club.” Paul King commented.

Greg Garza and Kendall Watson were also recognized for their efforts this season, being named the second and third best defenders in the MLS respectively. Finishing behind Nuno Sequeira, left back, Garza and club captain Kendall Watson, were imperative throughout the year for Kings side.

“It’s well deserved. I think it was clear for anyone to see that when we had those two playing we concede less goals and win more football games. Our biggest slump in form came whilst the pair were away on International duty at the Gold Cup. It isn’t a coincidence that without them, we didn’t win as many games. Both the lads have been great throughout this year and it is exactly what we expect from two of our more experienced players.” stated King.

With Cincinnati now into the off-season, following their First Round playoff loss to Toronto FC, manager Paul King has wasted no time in making adjustments to his backroom staff. With no more than six staff members joining, namely, Jordan Elbaum, Jonathan Davies, Tony Colbert, David Kemp, Nicolas Nault and Brett Tucker, King has strengthened all departments of his backroom team.

“The arrivals are going to strengthen us and help improve us even further and that is always something I am looking to do. Tony (Colbert) comes in as a very experienced Fitness Coach, having worked at Arsenal for twenty years. Adding David (Kemp) and Jonathan (Davies) helps us strengthen our scouting department with those two bringing a wealth of knowledge to the side. Jordan (Elbaum), Nicolas (Nault) and Brett (Tucker) will all help us in our medical department in order to get our injured players out quicker.” Paul King told us.
With the players now on holiday they are expected back into training in January, with a training camp scheduled in Florida with a weeks worth of training from the 27th January - 3rd February.


Scott: A tough result to take but the experience will make us better!
Justice:Overall a good season in Kings books, now it is time to bring in some players to improve us further!
Syb:We will certainly be looking at bringing in some signings to help strengthen us further. Disappointing to go out in round one but again, we were never expected to be there in the first place.
BigMaguire:It was a hard one to accept as after our great season we didn't want it to end so soon. But next year is another chance at improvement so hopefully we can go further in the playoffs.
SOA:That is certainly the goal. No point sitting back and feeling sorry for ourselves as we now need to bring in players to improve us.
Jack: Exactly what we need to do. Getting to the playoffs was a great achievement and for a group that lacked playoff experience it wasn't an unexpected result. We now need to learn from it and improve!
Black is following in the footsteps of some good players there. He's got good company with the likes of Dempsey and Gonzalez! His award is thoroughly deserved.
No surprise really given the impact he had, especially at the start of the season. The club has a lot of promising players within their ranks. Glad to see some real experience coming in to assist Paul for next season. Every top manager needs a team of top staff!
I think it was expected. Black is an amazing player and he has proved that many times. Also, the additions to the staff can only have good impact. They'll help King take the team even further beyond!
Fantastic achievement for Black and this just shows what a wonderful impact King is having at Cincinnati, giving youth the chance
Definitely deserved for his efforts this season. He has become a crucial player for the team, and will go from strength-to-strength.

30 Minutes with: Joe Aribo

With our debut season in the MLS coming to a close, having made it all the way to Round One of the MLS Playoffs, we sit down with the fans “Signing of the season” Joe Aribo. Joining the squad on a free transfer in July, Joe made an immediate impact on the team. Scoring on debut against New York City, he has gone on to play in ten league games this year scoring five.

Welcome Joe, thank you for sitting down with us today having been announced as the fans signing of the season and having also signed a new contract with the club earlier today.

It is my pleasure, I am delighted to be here now and also at the football club as a whole. We had a tremendous first season in the MLS and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

We are delighted to have you here. Lets get underway. You were born in London, England and from a young age fell in love with the game. What caused that love and desire to be on the soccer pitch?

Growing up in England, it’s almost a way of life. You go to school and everyone is talking about it in the classrooms and playing it on the playground at breaks. You don’t escape it. For me that was great, I immediately fell in love with it and it wasn’t long until I got a semi-pro offer from Staines. Playing all the time just grew my love and the fact that I could tell I was better than most kids my age, I think that also played a part.

You were signed by Staines in 2014 and within a season, named Youth Player of the year. How do you remember your time there?

It was a good learning curve for me. I hadn’t, at that point, attracted any real attention from the ‘big’ teams in the country, so going to Staines was great. It was my first taste of high level football, playing semi-pro. I had a really good time there and winning the academy player of the season was a really big moment for me. It gave me confidence and also helped to attract the attention of Charlton, who gave me a trial after that.

As you said, Charlton offered you a trial in 2015, following your academy player of the year award. What was that like, being under a high level of pressure with a big step up?

Before the trial I certainly felt some pressure. But as soon as I had my boots on those nerves disappeared. I just enjoyed myself. As I have previously said, I love the game so I just did whatever I could and when the trial was over I knew I had given it my all. I knew if I hadn’t got offered the trial it was because they didn’t think I was good enough so it didn’t matter to me. As long as I knew I had given it my all I was happy. Thankfully they did think I was good enough.

They certainly did. You were offered a youth deal following your trial and spent a year in the Charlton academy. It was towards the end of 2016 when you broke into the First Team. What was it like to play at a much higher level than before?

Again, the level wasn’t difficult to adapt to. Obviously the players on the opposition was a lot better and stronger than I had played against before, but so were my team-mates. I knew I was good enough to play at the level so I had no worries going into it. I made my debut against Crawley Town and was in and out of the first team for a few months following that. Karl Robinson then made me a more regular member of the first team towards the back end of 2016 and I was very pleased to be seen as someone he trusted.

He definitely did trust you, even comparing you to a ‘Young Patrick Viera’ as well as Dele Ali, who he gave a debut to at MK Dons at just 16. What do you think of those comparisons?

I always loved working under Karl, he gave me a lot of confidence and belief in my skills and ability. That sort of comparison is crazy to me. Patrick Viera is a legend of the game and led Arsenal for years. Dele Ali is currently an England starter and plays a key role for both England and Tottenham Hotspur, so to even be considered as someone similar to those is great for me. But I don’t want to be seen as ‘the next…’ I want to leave my own legacy behind and show everyone my own unique quality and what I can bring to the table. Something I am hopeful of continuing here at Cincy.

Following Karl Roninsons departure, Lee Bowyer came in as Charlton manager. What was it like working for him?

Lee (Bowyer) is another name that most people in the game know. He had a really good career in the top leagues in England, especially at Leeds. As a manager he certainly had the respect of the players and was always looking to improve us. He made me a much better player by taking me out of my comfort zone and playing me on the wing at times. That allowed me to improve and learn more about the game. I am grateful for what he did for me and he is doing a great job for the club. We were very unlucky to not go up last year and Sunderland were just to good for us, hopefully they get another crack at the playoffs this year.

Following that unsuccessful playoff run, you decided to join us at Cincinnati, turning down supposed interest from some very big clubs around the world. How tough was that decision?

There was interest. I believe I was being watched by Arsenal, Spurs and supposedly Juventus. But when the Cincy offer came in I was intrigued. A new club with a very passionate fanbase and already doing very well in the league. I took my time and did some research and I thought it was best for me. Experiencing a different nation and way of living is really important for me and I am very happy to be learning so much under Coach King at Cincinnati.

You have made an immediate impact here, scoring five in ten league matches, what more can we expect from you?

Well I joined mid-season so my impact was limited. Hopefully I can cement my place in the side further and really help the team. My role isn’t all about goals, it’s about doing my bit to create pressure on the opposition winning the ball back and getting into dangerous positions that will make the defense worry. I won’t set a goal target for myself but I will do whatever I can to help the team win games.

Thank you Joe. Do you have a final message for the fans as we go into the offseason?

I hope everyone has a great winter and Christmas break celebrating with your families and friends. We will be back to work in the new year and I can’t wait to get going again. I hope to prove the club right in giving me this new contract and hopefully we can give you more to cheer about next season.

Thank You for your time Joe.


Jack: Clint Dempsey is arguably the greatest talent to leave American football, so he is certainly in some good company with other recipients of the award.
Scott:There certainly is some really good youngsters coming through, something the MLS isn't necessarily known for. Black has been superb this year and had no real competition for the Rookie of the Year award.
Jim: The added staff members will certainly bolster our team. Hopefully we see improved performances on the training pitch from now on.
Syb:Youth are often overlooked in the MLS so part of Kings philosophy is to bring more into his side and use them effectively.
Justice:He has become an important player thats for sure. He brings goals from the bench or when he is starting and will be a vital cog in the future.

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