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FC Cincinnati sign Miles Robinson, set to lose Brandon Vazquez

Reigning MLS Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati landed free agency's biggest prize in Miles Robinson, but their star striker Brandon Vazquez seems set to move to Mexico.

Robinson is a 26-year-old center back with supreme athleticism. He joins a top-10 defense in MLS based on goals allowed.

Cincinnati's defense already consists of talented players in Matt Miazga, Alvaro Barreal, Ian Murphy, Alvas Powell, and Santiago Arias, backed by goalkeeper Roman Celentano. Robinson, who has 27 United States Men's National Team appearances to his name, will be the new anchor of that unit.

Robinson will replace 22-year-old center back Yerson Mosquera, who returned to Wolverhampton Wanderers in England after his loan to Cincinnati expired.

FC Cincinnati head coach Chris Albright has used a 5-2-1-2 formation since joining the club ahead of the 2022 season. Robinson will likely fill in as the right center back, with Miazga - who wins aerial duels at a slightly higher rate than Robinson - in the center and the left-footed Murphy as the left center back.

Flanking the center back unit will be Barreal on the left and one of Powell or Arias on the right, barring new signings.

The question of how to replace the outgoing Mosquera was answered by the signing of Robinson, but a new question arose: how will FC Cincinnati replace Brandon Vazquez?

Vazquez scored 26 goals in 62 games over the past two MLS seasons, and reports say he is set to join Monterrey in Liga MX. Cincy still has reigning MLS MVP Luciano Acosta, but Vazquez's physical presence up front opened things up for his strike partners and Acosta, a 5-foot-3 playmaker who plays the No. 10 role in Albright's 5-2-1-2.

In terms of replacing his production, there are issues: Vazquez's backups and strike partners last year, Sergio Santos and Dominique Badji, have never scored 10 goals in a season.

Albright could turn to Gabonian forward Aaron Boupendza, who scored 22 goals in 36 matches for Hatayspor in Turkey in 2021/22, eight goals in 17 matches for Al-Arabi in Qatar in 2021/22, and 11 goals in 17 matches for Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia.

The club will likely venture into the transfer market once they receive the reported $7.5 million up-front fee for the 25-year-old Vazquez, who has eight USMNT caps and four USMNT goals to his name.

A native of Chula Vista, California, Vazquez trained with Liga MX side Club Tijuana in his youth. He'll look to score plenty of goals for Monterrey as he chases his previously-stated goal of playing in Europe one day.

FC Cincinnati is +1200 to win the 2024 MLS Cup, the fourth-shortest odds.

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