FC Cincinnati took the field without 7 potential starters on Sunday to play Western Conference leaders LAFC. Despite these depleted odds, the Orange and Blue took a 1-0 lead into halftime behind a goal by Luciano Acosta in first half stoppage time. USMNT regular Kellyn Acosta drew LAFC level just after halftime with a rocket from outside the box. Then the Black and Gold got their game-winner when Alvas Powell turned the ball over in his defensive third, giving Carlos Vela the chance to pick out Danny Musovski in transition.
Despite losing 2-1, there were many positive things to take from the performance, including the play of rookie goalkeeper Roman Celentano, a first start for the season for 2nd year player Calvin Harris, and another solid outing from Ian Murphy.
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 player rating systems from Who Scored and FOTMOB
- We won’t use .5 increments, because that is weak-sauce.
- We will not be afraid to give players a perfect 10 if they deserve it, but will never give a rating of 0, because there is always some sort of positive.
- A player may receive an N/A if they are subbed in/off before any quantifiable statistics are available.
Expected Goals (xG): FC Cincinnati – 1.4, LAFC – 1.8, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 7
Pat Noonan must have struggled to put together a starting lineup with so many regulars unavailable. He elected to roll out Calvin Harris for his first start of the season and rookie Goalkeeper Roman Celentano. Both rewarded their skipper with solid performances. Noonan’s game plan was coherent, simple, and effective: press with the midfield and forwards, drop the back line deep to avoid getting countered, defend narrow, and look to hit on the break.
The only thing keeping Noonan’s score from going higher was the head-scratching decision to make two subs in the 90th minute, bringing on Haris Medunjanin and Arquimides Ordonez, wasting valuable time to get an equalizer without much benefit.
GK – Roman Celentano – 9 (Man of the Match)
Celentano more than stood up to the task of looking competent in his first match as a pro. The rookie faced a post-shot xG of 2.9 and recorded 6 saves. He also left his box to make a key play to thwart one LAFC long ball. Neither of the goals that he conceded can be placed on the young GK’s shoulders. One area of improvement that he could target in training is his passing. His long balls were inaccurate, completing just 2 of 14.
RB – Alvas Powell – 5
Powell turned in a very good performance offensively, completing 4 of 4 dribbles and being credited with 5 progressive carries. He also tallied a key pass and completed 3 passes into the penalty area. Defensively, his 5 combined tackles and interceptions were near the top of the team. However, his one big error led directly to LAFC’s game-winning goal, and his 70.8% passing needs to be improved.
CB – Ian Murphy – 8
Ian Murphy is looking more and more like an MLS starter. It’s hard to pick out many things wrong with his performance. His seven ball recoveries are a decent number for a center back, and his 76.2% passing is adequate. His 4 passes into the final third are outstanding for a player at his position. You’d like to see him get more than 1 tackle and 1 interception, but not making errors as a central defender is the name of the game.
CB – Tyler Blackett – 7
Blackett had a good performance playing alongside a rookie center back and in front of a rookie goalkeeper. He was tasked with tracking the center forward into the midfield and recorded 11 pressures. Like Murphy, he didn’t make any major errors, but also only contributed 1 tackle and 1 interception. He was graded down as a veteran for his 76.1% passing, his failure to win 4 of his 6 aerial duels, and any of his 3 ground duels.
LB – John Nelson – 7
John Nelson is what he is, which is a lockdown 1v1 defender with below-average speed and nearly non-existent offensive threat. He escaped a match in which he spent a majority of his time faced up with Carlos Vela, and escaped without being dribbled a single time. He recorded 3 interceptions and 4 tackles, and also was able to grab 12 ball recoveries… good enough for 2nd on the team. His grade would be much higher but for his 69% passing and his 0 for 9 duel rate.
DCM – Yuya Kubo – 6
Kubo was oddly quiet in this match. He completed 77.8% of his passes and completed a dribble. However, he was also dispossessed once and had a missed touch. He recorded a respectable, if below his usual 7 ball recoveries, led the team with 36 pressures, and chipped in with 6 combined tackles and interceptions and 4 blocks. His lack of meaningful ball progression keeps his performance at average.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 8
Moreno has become a major piece of this squad. It will be interesting to see what Pat Noonan does with him once Nwobodo arrives. He once again put in a solid performance in possession, logging 83.8% passing. He had 2 progressive passes and 2 passes into the final third. His 23 pressures, 4 blocks, and 5 combined tackles and interceptions are all good numbers for a DCM. One area that needs improvement is his 1v1 defense, as he was dribbled twice. He was also dispossessed twice, which is two too many times in that area of the pitch
CAM – Luciano Acosta – 7
Lucho put in one of his better performances of the match. His goal in first half stoppage time was well taken, and his 4 key passes and .4 xA led the team. Overall, however, his 55.3% passing is well below where it needed to be, and he was dispossessed a whopping 7 times. He did complete 3 dribbles but was also tackled on 3 dribbles, leaving him at even on the night.
RW – Dom Badji – 7
Dom Badji looked thrilled to be back in an attacking position, putting in his best performance of the season. He completed a dribble and had a respectable 71.4% passing rate. He tallied 2 key passes that led to 2 shooting opportunities. His real area of improvement came in his first touch, however, where he received 71.4% of the passes sent his way. The real area where he needed to do better was in his shooting, where he put both of his attempts on target but scuffed them badly making them easy saves in the end.
LW – Calvin Harris – 7
2nd-year player Calvin Harris put in a solid performance including 2 shot-creating actions and .1 xG. His 84.6% passing was tops among starters, and he completed a dribble as well. It wasn’t all good, however, as he only received 58.3% of the passes sent his way, and he was credited with a missed touch and was dispossessed once.
ST – Brenner – 5
Brenner was highly involved on the night, touching the ball 30 times, tallying 2 shots, and grabbing the assist on FCC’s lone goal. His .2 xG and .4 xA aren’t terrible numbers, but you’d like to see him get in more goal-dangerous positions. The real trouble with the young Brazilian comes in his inability to hold the ball up for his teammates when they need to relieve pressure. He only received 57.1% of the passes sent his way, and was credited with a woeful 5 missed touches. Ultimately, as a designated player, we need Brenner to do more than just look decent.
Geoff Cameron (67th minute) – 6
Cameron came on in the 2nd half for an injured Ian Murphy though he was recovering from an injury himself. He was solid in his limited time, racking up a good 85.7% passing and a blocked shot.
Allan Cruz (78th minute) – 6
Cruz came on to replace Calvin Harris as Noonan looked to grab a goal back late in the match. He nearly came through with a great late run into the box that saw his extremely difficult goalward flick sail just wide. his 80% passing was good, and he wasn’t dispossessed or credited with a missed touch. His defensive effort was solid, but he wasn’t able to win the ball back for his team at all.
Nick Markanich (78th Minute) – 5
Markanich replaced Brenner to the Brazilian’s dismay to try to grab a late equalizer. He was very active defensively, contributing 5 pressures and a tackle. He also didn’t give the ball away, with 100% passing and only one missed touche and no dispossessions. However, he looked to panic a bit on his one good chance when Dom Badji cut a pass back for him from the end line. He didn’t put either of his 2 shots on target, and had 0 shot-creating actions… stats that you don’t want to see in a player coming on with the team chasing a 1 goal deficit.
Haris Medunjanin (90th Minute) – N/A
Arquimides Ordoñez (90th Minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Ronald Matarrita (ankle), Alec Kann (Lower Body), Ray Gaddis (Leg), Brandon Vazquez (leg), Álvaro Barreal (sickness), Nick Hagglund (suspension),