We’re continuing our series that looks back at the players we won’t see suit up in Orange and Blue this season, and discuss how we’ll cope without them. Next up…
He’s possibly the most popular player to ever put on an Orange and Blue jersey, and he made contributions both on and off the field that will be hard to replicate. He was our second-leading goalscorer in 2016, behind Golden Boot winner Sean Okoli. That hair too, …amazing hair. He’s an “inaugural” and he will surely be missed.
“Wieda” scored the first goal in franchise history* in 2016 against Bethlehem Steel FC. He also scored a perfectly good onside goal in extra-time that could have won the US Open Cup match against the Chicago Fire, but was sadly disallowed.
He scored a number of memorable goals but none were more impressive than this individual effort against the Charleston Battery. It was one of the top 10 goals of the USL’s 2017 season.
Where’s He Going
After FC Cincinnati’s 2017 playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, he told traveling fans about his plans to retire. He confirmed that news last Wednesday via Twitter and the FC Cincinnati press release that followed.
Time to make the worst kept secret official. Turning in my boots for a bookbag. Big thanks to @fccincinnati & all the fans for helping to cap off an incredible 8 years. Very lucky for it to have lasted so long. Much love, The Best Finsiher of the Modern Era
— Andrew Wiedeman (@awiedeman3) January 17, 2018
Many hoped Wiedeman might pursue a coaching role or continue playing and accept a locker room leadership role like the one Omar Cummings performed in 2017. Alas, it was not to be. He recently married in his native California and is planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of California – Berkeley, where he played college soccer.
Who Can Replace Him?
Wiedeman spent most of his on-field time positioned in an attacking role on the right flank. He tucked inside frequently, and at times operated in a playmaking capacity behind the forwards.
The replacement for him is not immediately clear because we don’t yet know Koch’s preferred formation. It’s not clear if wingers will play as prominent of a role in this year’s setup as they have the past two seasons. So we’ll look at both playmakers and right-footed attackers that could replace the roles filled by FC Cincinnati’s #23.
In terms of playmaking ability, Alan Koch added talent in that category superior to what this team has seen in the past. Emmanuel Ledesma is a right-footed forward that has playmaking ability in buckets. His 73 chances-created in 2017 led the NASL by a large margin. The Argentine also accumulated 10 goals and six assists in only 17 starts. Ledesma could certainly set up on the right and drift inside to attack and create for others. He is likely to start and should be a treat to watch in 2018.
One can also look to Nazmi Albadawi as a talent that can replace the playmaking work that Weideman contributed. He’s more of a midfielder than a forward though and one would expect him to contribute to the team in that capacity. He’ll also likely play more centrally than Wiedeman typically did.
Jimmy McLaughlin has almost always featured on the left, but could flip to the right, and play the same role. Daniel Haber is also a natural right winger. The 25-year-old Toronto native has 14 goals and 5 assists over the past two seasons with Whitecaps 2 and Real Monarchs. Emery Welshman is also a righty, and a forward whose speed could be an asset on the wing. The Guyana native accumulated 11 goals between his time at Real Monarchs and Puerto Rico FC between 2015 and 2017. Welshman has a lot of potential, but we’ll see whether he can break into the first team on this loaded roster.
FC Cincinnati’s preseason slate of games should give us more clues as to exactly how Wiedeman’s role will be filled with this new cast of characters. Regardless of who does the job, the Orange and Blue shouldn’t be short on attacking prowess in 2018.
“Wieds was fanstastic”
Alan Koch had the following to say about Wiedeman’s retirement after the first session of preseason training.
“Wieds was fanstastic, an unbelievable guy, not just with our group but in the community, he had a great career as a player and obviously we wish him nothing but the best moving forward…, but he was a huge member of the club for the past two years and we’ve obviously had to identify guys to come in and replace him.”
It’s clear that Andrew Wiedeman’s play, his spirit, and his humor made a connection with the Cincinnati community. He’s an Orange and Blue legend and he will be missed. Thanks Wieda and good luck in the next chapter.
It’s going to be hard to replace this.
— Andrew Wiedeman (@awiedeman3) June 29, 2017
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of the FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.
*regular season USL goal, excludes 2016 preseason