FC Cincinnati fell to Inter Miami CF 3-2 in the inaugural match at TQL Stadium on Sunday. The Orange and Blue once again conceded early into the match with a Brek Shea goal in the seventh minute. Gonzalo Higuain added a pair with the eventual winner in the 85th minute. FC Cincinnati ended its 300-plus minute scoring drought with a 59th-minute goal by Alvaro Barreal. Cincinnati native Nick Hagglund briefly tied the game with an 82nd-minute goal.
Check out Cincinnati Soccer Talk’s post-match report here for more details.
- Each player starts off with a 6 as a standard rating. Six signifies an “average performance” for the match.
- Players will receive additions or subtractions to their score based on individual moments and the overall team performance.
- We’ll look at multiple criteria such as statistics and sites such as Who Scored and Stats Zone to assess a player’s rating.
- A player may receive an N/A if they are subbed in/off before any quantifiable statistics are available.
Expected Goals (XG) – Inter Miami CF 2.3- FC Cincinnati .80- per MLSSoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
GK – Kenneth Vermeer: 5
I’m going to give Vermeer the benefit of the doubt on his performance as he joined the club in the past week and was one of three players at the back making his first appearance in Orange & Blue. I think he was slightly indecisive on the first goal, and as I just referenced, I think it was more a symptom of poor chemistry between he, Joseph-Claude Gyau and Geoff Cameron.
RB – Joseph-Claude Gyau: 4.5
I didn’t think there was much in the way of genius from either coaching staff, but if I could pick one, it was Phil Neville moving Brek Shea up to left wing from his usual left back role. FC Cincinnati has been susceptible on long balls and crosses into the box, and that is how Shea scored his goal. Shea stayed on Gyau’s shoulder, especially in the first half, and wouldn’t let the right back get comfortable. I have a lot of sympathy for Gyau that was echoed by coach Jaap Stam Sunday night. He’s trying to learn a new position but has yet another new centerback and goalkeeper that he needs to get familiar with. As soon as the musical chairs stop, I think we will see some progress because he has a lot of the tools to be successful.
CB – Geoff Cameron: 5.5
I can’t give him a 6 because the defense conceded three goals, but I really liked what Cameron brought to the team. From my vantage point behind the goal, it was easy to see the center back try to position and direct his teammates where they need to be or where the ball should be played around the pitch. He was clearly exhausted by the 80th minute, having just arrived midweek from Queens Park Rangers in England, and it’s not a shock that he was tired. Unfortunately, that left FCC exposed in the 85th minute, leading to Higuain’s winner.
CB – Gustavo Vallecilla: 5.5
If FC Cincinnati fans would like some hope that the defense has the potential to turn the corner, I think Vallecilla gave them some with his first appearance in Orange & Blue. At just 21 years old, Vallecilla was a lot bigger and stronger than I thought he was going to be in person. He held up well for the most part outside of Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal. To be fair, Vallecilla wasn’t the first and won’t be the last person the former World Cup finalist put on ice skates. Eighty-eight percent passing in his first MLS match is a bright spot for a team with a history of bad turnovers.
LB – Rónald Matarrita 6.5
I know it has to be killing Mataritta to be on a team that hasn’t been succeeding on the scoreline, but he’s always keeping his head up looking for the next opportunity. When FC Cincinnati was down 2-0 in the 59th minute, most of TQL Stadium started to go to sleep. Fans had seen this story before time and time again the past two-plus seasons, and with a lack of goal scoring, nobody really felt FCC was coming back. Seconds before the goal, commentator and former United States men’s national team vet Stu Holden was expressing his displeasure with how the Orange & Blue were playing. Matarrita picked a long pass to fix off a sprinting Alvaro Barreal, who flicked it just over the Miami keeper, and all of a sudden life came back into the stadium. You have to credit the Costa Rican for staying in the match instead of folding. If that back line can get it together and the midfield can slow down the opponents, FCC might start to have something.
CM – Allan Cruz: 5.5
While it was an encouraging night possessionally for Cruz, opponents are still too easily able to play through FC Cincinnati’s midfield. You will not see results change for FC Cincinnati on a consistent basis until they prove they can stop an opponent’s transition of play. I think if you give Cruz some time next to Kamohelo Mokotjo when he returns, you may see progress.
CM – Yuya Kubo: 5.5
Numbers don’t jump off the page either way for Kubo, and I think it matches what my eye told me. He was “just fine”. I’ll have to let Coach Brad Gough tell me what I’m missing this week so make sure you listen to Talking Tactics!
RM – Álvaro Barreal: 7 (Man of the Match)
Three shots, three shots on target, and a goal. Those are great lines from any attacking player, and Barreal, while he disappeared at times, made his moments count when given the opportunity. I think he’s still figuring out his role, but it was another promising performance cutting in from the wing.
LW – Calvin Harris: 5
Pulling the youngster at half was potentially a message from Stam telling the youngster he needed to track back and play on both sides of the ball. In the 38th minute when Miami countered, Mataritta had to press up into the midfield to take on the ball, leaving the entire left side of the back exposed. Harris needed to be aware of that situation and cover for Matarrita. Instead of hustling back, he lingered upfield, allowing both Higuain brothers to find space behind him. While Vallecilla will get burned for not winning the ball in the end, the entire play could have been prevented if Harris would have recovered faster. A learning moment for the young man.
CAM – Luciano Acosta: 6
It was a mixed bag for me with Acosta. While he undoubtedly has flair and is dangerous at any time, I think he was a tad rusty and loose with the ball. It was likely due to missing the last two matches and developing a relationship with Brenner up top. I felt there were too many times where he just put the ball in the mixer with nobody there (see Brenner below).
ST – Brenner: 5
Let me just say, I think Brenner will be fine, and the four-match start for FC Cincinnati hasn’t been ideal for a fox-in-the-box type scorer. FCC just isn’t getting many chances from the run of play, and Brenner likely wants to make his mark to justify the fee. I would just encourage the young forward to stay patient. Often he dropped too deep to help in the buildup in play, leaving FCC without a player up top. He needs to trust Acosta to get him the ball in dangerous spots. He did get a chance — in the 53rd minute he hit into row Z of the Bailey — but if he stays up higher, he’ll get more chances.
SUB – Jürgen Locadia (46th Minute): 5
I thought it was telling that Locadia didn’t start this weekend and clearly signifies he’s not in Stam and Co’s plans for the future. I just don’t think he does enough off the ball, and when he does get onto it, he’s too indecisive.
SUB – Issac Atanga (74th Minute): 5.5
Without knowing the physical state of Barreal at the time of this sub, I thought it was a mistake. He could’ve been gassed, but Atanga didn’t have an effect on the match with just five touches in 16 minutes plus stoppage time. I won’t harp on the young man as a move without a preseason has to be tough for him.
SUB – Haris Medunjanin (74th Minute): 6
Medunjanin replaced Kubo with FCC needing a goal and provided nice distribution to help build up play. I just love watching him play.
SUB – Nick Hagglund (78th Minute): 6
Had to be a bitter-sweet night for Hagglund, netting the tying goal in the opener of the new stadium in your hometown and then three minutes later shanking the clearance straight back to Miami leading to the counter on Gonzalo Higuain’s second goal. It didn’t help that Cameron was on one leg and Gyau had to split two men. Still, that goal, like Austin Berry’s in Nippert’s opener will be a moment I won’t quickly forget.
SUB – Brandon Vazquez (86th Minute): N/A
Vazquez was a late sub for Geoff Cameron.
Injury Notes: Franko Kovaćevič (hamstring-IR), Maikel van der Werff (sports hernia-IR), Tom Pettersson (Achilles), Kamohelo Mokotjo (healthy absence)