We May Have Place a Bid, But We Still Crushed the League

2018 might have been one of the most exhilarating sports seasons for a Cincinnati sports team, ever. It certainly has been the best season for a pro team in the Queen City in the last 10 years. FC Cincinnati crushed the USL league, and proved that an organic club can thrive in a city full of hungry fans.

To start with full disclosure, I am a season ticket holder who doesn’t agree with the concept of buying your way into a league with a bid that can be accepted after factoring in earnings potential with merchandise sales and ticket numbers.

A more rational way (that admittedly can not be supported yet in the US soccer infrastructure) would be for Cincinnati to win the league outright with the most points and be promoted to the MLS. We should earn our way by winning and getting to the top of the table and finishing above all teams in both conferences.

The best part about this is it still would have happened this way.

I thoroughly enjoyed our season run, with the boys crushing most teams that came their way. We held an impressive 23 game unbeaten streak, as well as finally claiming a win over Louisville.

FCC capitalizing on a 1–0 win over Louisville

One of the biggest reasons why I loved this club’s season run was not only their class performances on the pitch, it was also their off-the-pitch behavior that really shined a light on the positivity that runs through the blood of this club.

FC Cincinnati Deserve A Promotion — Not Due to Money, But Due to Hard Work and Unparalleled Winning

Unfortunately fans of other teams will say we bought our wins, we bought our league title, we bought our way into a higher league. They’re right about buying our promotion, but even if we didn’t buy our way in, we still earned our spot with points.

I have had some thoughtful — and not-so-thoughtful — conversations with other USL fans on Twitter. While we don’t get to play anyone in the Western Conference in a regular season, most pro leagues around the world have a promotion system where generally somewhere around three teams are promoted at the end of the season.

With two conferences, the USL could hypothetically promote two teams, one from each conference, or two teams from each conference. Either way, Cincinnati’s impressive 23–8–3 2018 season deserves a promotion.

Both USL conferences combined.

To say it wasn’t honestly earned through hard work and winning and incredible organic fan support is an accusation that will remain a baseless accusation that seems to evidently be founded on some form of rebuffed jealousy (if you don’t believe me, read USL fans barking about the club’s success on Twitter).

This club is not a heartless, commercial mountain of money. It’s a club that has had an incredible three years, leaving the old league behind after dominating the opponents in it’s last season there. You can say we have spent money, and yes we have, but that is no reason to diminish our success. They can’t seem to grasp how 22,000+ fans show up every game without the words “plastic” or “fake” being thrown into the equation. They can’t help but redirect the attention to the money the club has spent buying players over the years to increase the strength of our squad.

Let me tell you, association football is nothing but organic and vibrant in this city. When the ball finds the back of the opponents’ net, the stadium erupts. We chant, we fill the stadium with smoke, we bang drums for two hours, we march. We watch the full 90+ minutes without leaving, even when we are losing to Louisville. When the players lose, we stand and applaud their effort and let them know that the real fans are those that stick around and give them the energy needed to go into the next match.

Seeing this team grow throughout this season after a troubling start to turning it around and setting records was something I will never forget. Being there game after game, week in and week out, this team worked themselves and gave us fans one of the best farewell seasons we could ask for.

So farewell, USL.

Maybe we will see you again in the Open Cup.