What Victor Mansaray Brings to FC Cincinnati

mansaray-cover

On Monday, FC Cincinnati signed U.S. U-20 international Victor Mansaray to a loan deal from the Seattle Sounders. For details of the transfer and a bio of the 19 year-old, see the following sources.
FC Cincinnati Lands Talent Victor Mansaray on Loan – Last Word on Soccer
FC Cincinnati Official Press Release

What does Mansaray Bring to FC Cincinnati?

He certainly checks a lot of boxes. He brings size, speed, tricks, finishing ability, potential, and US Youth National team cachet. He also brings the ability to play as a central striker or as a wide right player. He has played on the right for the U-20’s and Transfermarkt lists his position as a right winger. The MLS scouting report on Mansaray says he’s a “natural wide player.” He did start and score goals for S2 as a central number nine.

Getting Crowded In Here?

Mansaray is the fourth attacker signed this offseason by FC Cincinnati and will compete with Cummings, Townsend, Craven, and Fordyce to lead the line for the Orange and Blue. Coach Harkes made quite a point last year that nobody’s spot in the starting 11 is guaranteed. One would expect the same standards to apply to this year’s squad, which should make preseason competition entertaining to watch.

Or Will It?

Mansaray is currently in Orlando, Florida participating in the U.S. U-20 camp which lasts until February 10th. If he performs well there, he will be selected to compete in the U-20 CONCACAF Championships in Costa Rica. That runs from mid-February until early March. Four teams will advance from that tournament and go to the 2017 U20 FIFA World Cup in May. It will be truly exciting to have a player on FC Cincinnati’s books competing for our country on the international stage. It’s a double-edged sword though. Success with the U-20’s means less time playing and contributing for the Orange and Blue. It’s a good thing there is depth on the current squad to support this in and out movement.

Why FC Cincinnati and Not S2?

Why would the Sounders organization loan Mansaray to FC Cincinnati rather than develop him at their own MLS2 club? We haven’t heard from coach Harkes or anyone in the Sounders organization on this yet, but there are several plausible reasons.

  1. Sean Okoli was a young young striker with potential and a Sounders academy player. He needed experience, playing time, and service to develop. He got that at FCC and ended up with the USL MVP and Golden Boot trophies. Why not follow the same model to develop Mansaray?
  2. At FC Cincinnati, Mansaray will play and compete for minutes with more experienced professionals than at Sounders 2, players that he can model himself after (i.e.: one MLS proven goalscorer Omar Cummings comes to mind). Some have also suggested he needs to be pushed out of the nest to accelerate his development.
  3. Seattle may have other talented young strikers they want to develop in parallel. Mansaray’s loan move allows them to get valuable USL minutes for more than one player and see what pans out.
  4. Money. It’s likely a less important factor, but the receiving club typically pays the players wages for the season he is on loan.

Three Videos

#13 Masaray speaks about his first US Youth National Team experience in 2014 (0:47). The US U-18’s won the Vaclav Jezek tournament in the Czech Republic that year.

Mansaray scored a preseason Goal against Sporting Kansas City in February of 2015, after he was signed as a homegrown the November prior. Unfortunately for Mansaray, opportunities were limited and he made just three first team appearances in the regular season for less than 30 total minutes.

Here is a little more from the man himself in a video from shortly after he signed his Homegrown contract with the Seattle Sounders at the tender age of 17.

With the acquisition of Mansaray, the 2017 roster is looking largely complete. Perhaps a little more defensive depth would improve the squad, but FC Cincinnati 2.0 looks built to compete for USL Cup.

FC Cincinnati kicks off their preseason on February 19th against OKC Energy in Bradenton Florida. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more color commentary on FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

Photo Credit: Major League Soccer

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