Lucho Acosta hasn’t taken long to make a positive impression at his new club. 

The attacking midfielder, signed by FC Cincinnati last week after spending 2020 at Liga MX side Atlas, has begun to familiarize himself with his new teammates and coaching staff in training. Head coach Jaap Stam has only positive things to say about the former D.C. United standout, who has 24 goals and 35 assists to his name in 126 career MLS games.

“It’s been very positive,” Stam told media on a virtual press conference when asked of his first impressions of Acosta in training. “Before he came in, I knew him from games and had seen him play both here in MLS and in Mexico. When you see his ability on the ball, his creativity, he’s clever. It’s what we needed.”

Cincinnati scored a league-fewest 12 goals in 23 matches in a truncated 2020 season, ranking near the bottom in chances created as well. Last winter’s import at the position, Siem de Jong, didn’t quite work out, failing to contribute a goal or assist in 15 appearances (eight starts).  Acosta’s ability to be dynamic and create for others, including Designated Player forwards Brenner and Jurgen Locadia, is precisely why he was acquired. 

“We spoke about the positions we needed to change, players with ability to create and score goals,” Stam said. “He’s the right player, it’s very good we were able to bring him in.”

Another position on the club’s winter list of needs was left back, though Cincinnati addressed that far earlier this offseason in acquiring Ronald Matarrita from NYCFC. The Costa Rican international is having an impact on the squad both on and off the pitch.

“He’s been very positive, very good,” Stam said. “He’s a big addition for the squad. He goes forward and even scores as well. We needed to change the mentality in the team, that’s something he’s brought. It’s good to have him on this roster.”

Acosta, Brenner and Matarrita have been Cincinnati’s three biggest additions of the offseason as they seek to reverse fortunes in 2021 after two challenging seasons in MLS.

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