Training Week 1 – Top Quotes & Hagglund’s First Session

Quotes, images, and audio from FC Cincinnati’s first week of training at Sheakley Athletics Center, including Nick Hagglund’s first session and interview.

Image: Ryan Meyer

FC Cincinnati’s first week of training concluded with local product Nick Hagglund joining the squad. The Orange & Blue’s latest defensive signing participated in practice on Friday and addressed the local media after the session. He and the team will now head to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for one of two trips south this preseason.

After four days of preparation in the Sunshine State, Alan Koch’s men will face the Montreal Impact, Colorado Rapids, and DC United over a span of nine days starting January 30th. Here is our collection of quotes, images, and audio from FC Cincinnati’s first week of training.

Nick Hagglund

Nick Hagglund on the opportunity to come back to Cincinnati.

“It was first on the top of my list and when the opportunity came, I knew I wanted to be here and have an opportunity to be here from the beginning and be a part of the growth of this team in the coming years.”

Hagglund on telling his parents after learning the news that he was returning to Cincinnati.

“They were just ecstatic. My Mom couldn’t stop smiling and my Dad was just giddy. My sister went overseas and came back to Cincinnati. I went to Canada and now I’m here. So for all of us to be back is really special.”

Full interview below.

Fanendo Adi

Adi on what FC Cincinnati fans should expect from defender Alvas Powell, who was acquired in December. Powell and Adi played together in Portland for four seasons.

“He’s a great player. We know how fast he is and how he can get forwards and backwards. We have to use him to the best of his abilities. He has a lot to add to the team, to help us on the back line and to help us attack. For me personally, he’s a guy that can give me a lot of goals, so I’m looking forward to his service. But he’s going to be very helpful to the team.”

Full interview below.

Leo Bertone

Leo Bertone on what he tries to focus on during preseason.

“I try to get confidence and take responsibility, and get into (my) role as fast as possible. . . more (focus on) mentally than in terms of playing style. “

Leo on the transition from living in Europe to Cincinnati.

It was easy really because in Switzerland the weather is a little bit like this, and the people are open and they give a warm welcome, which makes it easy to start.

Full interview below.

Images: First Day of MLS Training for FC Cincinnati

Greg Garza

Garza is currently on a “day-to-day” timeline for return from a quadriceps strain. Greg commented on the injury sustained while with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“It was something very minor. I sat down with Greg Berhalter and George Chiampas, the national team doctor. We decided that it would probably be better (for me) to come to the new club . . . Especially for my career and starting this new project with Cincinnati, it was better to start here instead of force something that could lead to something worse.

Full interview below.

Alan Koch

On whether last year’s approach to building a team is a blueprint for success this season.

“Because we had so much change, last year was a great learning experience for us. But doing it in the first tier is completely different. The goal is the same but now we are playing at a much higher level . . .We go into the season clearly as underdogs this year BUT, internally we have a lot of confidence in this group. We just need the time, . . I’m sure we’ll go through some difficult times to start the season, but we’ll stay true to the process. I feel confident that eventually we’ll get where we need to get.”

Full interview below.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

Three Things Leo Bertone Brings to FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati signs central midfielder Leonardo Bertone from Swiss outfit BSC Young Boys for an undisclosed fee.

Photo Credit: AmBu License image-modified

Leonardo Bertone
Age: 24
From: Wohlen bei Bern, Switzerland (international spot)
Former Team: BSC Young Boys
Market Value: $1.7M
Deal: Transfer – undisclosed terms
Tranfermarkt Profile

FC Cincinnati signed midfielder Leonardo Bertone from BSC Young Boys of Switzerland for an undisclosed fee on Tuesday, December 18th. The Wohlen bei Bern, Switzerland, native comes to the Queen City as a 24-year-old, but already as a veteran of the Swiss Super League.

Bertone was a bonafide starter for Young Boys for most of the past three seasons, barring an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for about three months in 2017. His playing time dwindled considerably in the 17’/18′ season, however, and he’s been reserved mostly for substitute roles since. His contract also would have expired in the summer of 2019, so the Swiss club was likely looking to get a return for him before he left on a free transfer.

Three Things Leo Bertone brings to FC Cincinnati

Top Flight European Experience

Bertone has a substantial amount of first division experience despite playing for only one professional club, similar to rumored transfer target Mathieu Deplagne. He boasts over 100 starts in the Super League, and can claim Europa League and Champions League experience as well. The bulk of that experience is from 16 appearances he made in the Europa League between 2015 and 2017. He also earned one start and two substitute appearances in the UEFA Champions League in 2018. How many MLS players can say they’ve played against Cristiano Rolando in a competitive match? Bertone has.

Midfield Versatility

Bertone wore the number 6 at BSC Young Boys, but Transfermarkt describes him as a box-to-box central midfielder that can also play defensive midfield. Also of note is that during his substitute appearances this season, he came on for wide or attacking midfielders. Of course, those substitutions could have been made late in games to take advantage of Bertone’s defensive qualities. Regardless, it seems the 24-year-old can play a variety of roles, and versatility may have been part of the attraction for Alan Koch and his technical staff. 

Right-footed Set Pieces

Kenney Walker was most often the right-footed set piece man during FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season. Who will step up to that role in 2019? If you watch the video below, you’ll notice that a number of Bertone’s highlights come from free kicks or corner kicks that he delivers. Other candidates will likely emerge on the experienced roster that Alan Koch is building, but Bertone is certainly now one of the options.

Alan Koch had the following to say about the new roster addition.

“We are excited to add Leo to our roster. He’s a skillful player and we believe he is a great fit for our style of play. He comes from a culture of success with Young Boys and we believe he’ll be an important part of our foundation as we instill a winning mentality within our group.”

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati offseason and MLS roster build.

Photo Credit: AmBu License image-modified