In the second season of MLS life, FC Cincinnati found itself in the cellar of the Eastern Conference once again, watching both of the league’s 2020 expansion teams Nashville SC and Inter Miami climb out of the conference and into the expanded playoff field.
That sentiment will undeniably tough to swallow for some time, but fortunately for all parties involved, the season is firmly in the rearview mirror.
Though the bright spots were few and far between, a handful of players walked away from the 2020 campaign with new feathers to put in their caps, with a trio of mainstays grabbing their first goals for the club, one committing theft of a win from the I-71 rival, and another responsible for an internationally-discussed wonder strike.
With only 12 to choose from, SBI has reviewed each of Cincinnati’s goals in 2020, and has put together a top 5 list. The rankings are comprised of importance, aesthetics, and skill all in mind.
Here are SBI’s Top 5 FC Cincinnati Goals of 2020:
1. Frankie Amaya vs Atlanta United, Jul. 16
The first professional tally was long a time coming for FCC’s talented youngster, who was blanked in 2019, being off by inches on a pair of dramatic occasions.
Last year’s catalog of near-misses clearly did not affect his confidence, though. With time ticking on, and his team playing up a man for the lion’s share of the match, Amaya’s rip from distance ensured the team’s advancement to the knockout round of the MLS is Back tournament.
As skillful of a shot as they come, but goal tops the list because Amaya, 19-years-old at the time, took matters into his own hands in a high-leverage situation for a memorable moment, broadcasting a sterling reminder that he will be a factor in the team’s hopeful march out of its cellar-dweller status.
You can see what it meant to his teammates in the celebration.
HAVE A HIT
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 16, 2020
2. Haris Medunjanin vs New York Red Bulls, Sep. 20
Skill, skill, skill.
The crafty veteran later admitted that he does practice the strike, but the intent was to earn an assist in this instance. With Medunjanin’s humble demeanor, the note is almost certainly his attempt to downplay the wild moment. The practice paid off and gifted Cincinnati one of its four wins of the season at a time when a playoff berth was still possible for the taking.
🚨 HARIS MEDUNJANIN OLIMPICO 🚨 pic.twitter.com/vN3OGwo58L
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 20, 2020
3. Yuya Kubo vs Atlanta United, Mar. 7
While the effort only reduced the margin of defeat, Kubo’s MLS account-opener showed his ability. The league newcomer and designated player had a bit of mystique around him early in the season, and his early-season show stopper settled the belly of the FCC faithful in a hurry.
He was good for two more in 2020, but this one is understandably hard to top.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 8, 2020
4. Nick Hagglund vs Columbus Crew, Oct. 14
It has been established that wins were a rarity for the Orange and Blue in 2020, but one of them had a little extra zest.
With the season well out of hand, a new coach trying to stop the bleeding, and a handful of players needing to justify their spots for the future, Nick Hagglund delivered a death blow to the eventual champions Columbus Crew in the year’s fourth and final installment of the Hell is Real rivalry with a second-half header.
What’s more? The team’s lone hometown representative celebrated by performing the iconic Ickey Shuffle, a nod to former Cincinnati Bengal Ickey Woods, who was good for the dance each time he scored a touchdown in the late ’80s.
That will stick in the craw of the Crew, who now hold the lead in all competitions of the bitter rivalry by just one win.
The Cincinnati kid! 👀
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 15, 2020
5. JoE Gyau vs Inter Miami, Nov. 8
In the team’s final act of the season, it traveled to Miami to play in horrendous conditions thanks to Tropical Storm Eta.
They came up short in trying to spoil the expansion side’s playoff clinch, but Gyau found a way to work with the wind to whip in a top-binner, absolutely freezing Miami keeper John McCarthy to give his team hope in ending the season on a positive.
Like Amaya, Gyau is in his second season in Cincinnati and figures to be an important player going forward, who was more than deserving of his first MLS goal on a handful of prior occasions, which makes this one worthy of punctuating the list.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 8, 2020