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FCC Notebook: Obinna Nwobodo's Dominant Performance Comes as Wins Build Confidence & Miles Robinson Called to USMNT

May 24, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release

FC Cincinnati's DP defensive midfielder Obinna Nwobodo has a very clear, relatively simple philosophy on in-season progress and improving as a player and a team week over week.

Winning makes things easier.

A not so revelatory approach, sure. But the Nigerian star midfielder routinely points to that as the most important ingredient to the team's success week over week. When you win, training is easier and more fun. Even if the effort remains the same, and it assuredly does, Nwobodo explains that the confidence gained from victory helps make improvements clearer, and looking honestly at the challenges the team faces is easier to address as the team works towards the next week.

So with FC Cincinnati on a six-game winning streak, it makes a lot of sense that Nwobodo is finding the form so many have come to expect from him.

"I feel (best) with how we've been playing as a group," Nwobodo said after the 3-1 victory against St. Louis CITY SC, marking the club's sixth win in a row. "We fought together, talked together, came in feeling better from the previous game and then kept winning...we're still keeping it the same mentality. That we can win, move on and and still keep working."

"I say, it is always (easier) to find the missing pieces while we're still having success. Everyone works hard and does better after the confidence of a win."

Nwobodo's individual success has in no small part fueled the team's success. In the St. Louis game, the defensive specialist set a personal season high winning all six of six attempted tackles while also earning an interception on the night. Nwobodo was everywhere on the field, winning second balls, finding the perfect outlet pass, cutting off an opponent's passing lanes and forcing danger away from the FCC goal. It was as complete of a performance from the man who is routinely regarded as one of the most underrated midfielders in the league.

"He opened up a lot in terms of the attack, with and without the ball," Head Coach Pat Noonan said postgame on Saturday about Nwobodo. "I'm trying to think of a better game that he's had. We know what he's capable of defensively, but just reading plays, breaking up plays, second balls that didn't allow them to consistently put our backline under pressure, he was there and then not only doing that with the ball, I thought he got us out of pressure on the dribble, he found the right passes. Just all around strong performance, probably his best of the year."

Battling a nagging injury for much of the early part of the season, Nwobodo has not always had the performances he expects of himself. But the success the team has had made it easier to work through the struggles and find joy in the game.

"It's always more fun to train when you win the last game," Nwobodo added with a smile. "Because it makes you feel confident in playing and makes you believe you can continue to win games. When you win you can start to see where you can improve and where you can keep going."

FC Cincinnati defender Miles Robinson was called in to the US Mens' National Team for the pre-Copa America camp as the squad prepares for this summer's tournament. The Stars and Stripes will take on Columbia and Brazil in friendlies before opening the tournament later in June.

Robinson is one of just three players selected for the camp from an MLS club, joining goalkeeper Sean Johnson of Toronto FC (who FCC will face off with this weekend) and defender Shaq Moore of Nashville SC (who FCC will see on Wednesday of next week at TQL Stadium). 27 players total were taken, including nine defenders, and with rosters for the Copa America limited to a maximum of 26 players, at least one of the selected camp attendees will not be on the final roster.

While camp begins on Tuesday, May 28 for players to begin reporting to the Washington, D.C. area training center, Robinson will not depart FC Cincinnati until after the Wednesday, May 29 match with Nashville. Fortunately for The Orange and Blue, Robinson will not miss any matches during this specific window as FCC has a scheduled bye weekend on Saturday, June 1 whereas many other MLS teams do not have that luxury. FCC would then be on a 16-day break and would have Robinson available for at least the June 15 visit to San Jose Earthquakes.

Should the FCC defender be selected for the tournament squad at the end of June however, the team would be without its star defender for as many as six matches should the Americans go all the way to the finals, scheduled for July 14. The earliest he could return to FCC would be after July 1 if the USA does not make it out of the group stage, meaning Robinson could miss as few as three matches.

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