FC Cincinnati Signs Mélé Temguia: 4 Questions with Tristan D’Amours

Temguia-Header
Photo courtesy of Montréal Impact

FC Cincinnati announced the signing of Canadian defender Mélé Temguia on Tuesday. The 21 year old center back most recently played as a trialist for FC Cincinnati in a preseason match against the Ottawa Fury on February 25th. Temguia spent the 2015 and 2016 USL seasons with FC Montréal after coming through the Montréal Impact academy system.

FC Cincinnati Official Press Release

Four Questions with Tristan D’Amours

Tristan D’Amours is a Montréal based journalist that covered FC Montréal for the past two seasons.* He answered a few questions from Orange and Blue press about FC Cincinnati’s most recent signing.

What kind of player is Mélé Temguia? What are his strengths and weaknesses as a defender?

“Temguia is a tall centreback that impressed with FC Montreal from the get-go. At his young age, he already had a great defensive vision and was one of the only players to cope with the physicality of the USL in FC Montreal’s first season. The lack of defenders back in FC Montréal’s first season gave him the opportunity to impose himself very quickly as a regular starter despite being one of the youngest on an already very young team. Back in 2015, he was regarded as a “raw diamond” kind of player. He was highly regarded within the Impact.”

Mélé got a decent number of starts for FC Montreal and some USL recognition in 2015, but only 4 starts for 128 minutes in 2016, what were the reasons for his lesser role?

“Mélé was the number one centreback in 2015 but a leg injury ruled him out for most of the 2016 season. I remember his first start back after months on the injury list, he started the game despite it being his first minutes back from his injury because the team was short on defenders. He only played the first 45 minutes but everyone was very surprised by what he had done. Then assistant coach Simon Gatti told me after the game that he was surprised at what he brought to that game after months of sitting out. Playing consistent soccer at a level he already played at will be very good for him in 2017.”

Is there anything else about Mélé that people should know?

“I remember speaking to him after his first start after he returned from injury. We spoke to him about his 45 minutes and was so happy to be able to play again. He wanted to make a mark on the rest of the season. The downside of this was that there were only a handful of games remaining. His injury made him fall down the pecking order for the Impact, and the arrival of Thomas Meilleur-Guiguère in 2016 bumped him down as best prospect at centreback. Both were invited to training camp for the Impact but only Meilleur-Guiguère managed to get a spot, and was later sent to Ottawa.” 

Temguia was in Tampa with the Impact for a preseason tournament hosted by the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He joined FC Cincinnati in nearby Bradenton to play the match against Ottawa as a trialist.

What has the reaction been to the dissolution of FC Montréal locally? Do people/media generally think it was the right move for the club?

“Fans barely made their way to FC Montreal games. In 2015, the games were free of charge and no one came. In 2016, the games moved to the Impact’s former home and ticket prices rose to $10—and $5 for season ticket holders with the money going in part to the Impact’s foundation—and still barely no one came. One of the reasons for cutting the team was costs and the fact that the team wants to concentrate on a select few prospects and not field a team of 23. When the Impact announced they were shutting down FC Montreal and affiliating with Ottawa, the only ones who reacted to the news were the few that went to the games and a small portion of the media.”

Orange and Blue Press Reaction

This was an absolutely mandatory signing for Koch before embarking on the 2017 campaign. Mélé Temguia brings depth, size, and potential to FC Cincinnati’s central defense.

Mélé will provide needed depth for a defense that is very thin at center back, especially with Austin Berry injured. At 6’2”, he has good size, which will benefit FC Cincinnati against physical strikers like Romario Williams and Heviel Cordoves, who we’ll see this Saturday. He also brings youth and potential to the central defense. At age 21, he’s still a developing player and can grow his game under Koch with Delbridge (25), Berry (28), and Nicholson (30) to aide the process.

He acquitted himself well in the match he played against Ottawa in February. He made a few timely interventions, and looked comfortable with the ball in a match that ended 1-1. Paul Nicholson is still most likely to start this weekend given how fresh this signing is, but Temguia is a natural center back and could push for minutes early.

FC Cincinnati kicks off its 2017 USL season against the Charleston Battery in South Carolina this Saturday. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for coverage of FC Cincinnati’s upcoming season.

*Tristan D’Amours is a coordinating editor at The Link and an MLS staff writer for SBI Soccer.

Temguia-Header.jpg
Photo courtesy of Montréal Impact

 

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