Even in preseason, results like the 3-0 loss FC Cincinnati took against Louisville City FC won't go far in winning over the hearts and minds of FCC's supporters.
On the other hand, inferring too much from the closed-door game is also likely a fool's errand.
Absent statistics, details about the flow of the match and in-person impressions of how FC Cincinnati looked under head coach Jaap Stam, now in his second season at the held of the club, it's hard to know what to make of the scoreline.
That Louisville's been training for more than five weeks compared to less than a week for FC Cincinnati further complicates assessing the match if you didn't have eyes on it yourself
Stam, however, shed some light on the nature of FCC's loss on Saturday at the Mercy Health Training Center in Milford in his post-match comments released via FC Cincinnati.
Stam described how FC Cincinnati went down two goals in the first half, initially through conceding a penalty kick and then through a failed attempt to play out of the back.
"We conceded a goal, the first one a penalty and the second one a mistake from the goalkeeper or a bad touch but you can also say, 'OK, do you need to play that pass at the moment?'," Stam said. "Because that's also a decision from our players and then the first touch wasn't good enough and then he gives it away and they score, so two difficult goals. "But before these goals that they scored, we had opportunities to score ourselves as well. So that's an important thing to take with us as well. Before the one-nil, before they got the penalty, we had a couple very good opportunities with Franko (Kovacevic), with Alvaro (Barreal), very close. We needed to pull the trigger ourselves as well to take the lead. We didn't do that and you always know that the opposition is getting in front of our goal as well.
"Second half before they scored the (third) one, Yuya (Kubo) got a couple of times in front of goal. We could have scored over there as well making the right choices. Didn't do that either... You see as well that conditionally, we need to become stronger. We need to also do things better to minimize the risks of conceding and losing games. It's sort of a good wake-up call for everybody in terms of what we need to improve."
Stam also underscored that the club still needs reinforcements from outside the organization.
FC Cincinnati has holes at multiple positions, including in the attacking central-midfield role where the club remains interested in Luciano Acosta but a reported deal for the player hadn't been completed as of Friday.
"I know very well what I need within this group," Stam said. "We need to have, and we spoke about that, we need to add certain players of certain abilities to the group to challenge each other even more. We also need to take into consideration that today we played with kids from the academy who are 15 or 16 years old, so that's a big difference between academy games and first-team football... We still need to add a couple of players to this roster of players for them to be more competitive."
The scrimmage loss was FC Cincinnati's first competitive action of the preseason, which started on Monday.
The next scheduled preseason matches will take place in Orlando against Chicago Fire FC on March 27, Orlando City SC on March 31 and Minnesota United FC on April 3.
FC Cincinnati will host Louisville City again in a closed-door scrimmage on April 7, 10 days before the club's regular season opener at Nashville SC.