FC Cincinnati shocked just about everyone on Saturday when they played host to the Eastern Conference’s #1 team and the league’s best defense, and got a resounding 3-1 win. After a first half where it looked like FCC was the better team, things remained scoreless heading into halftime. But just 5 minutes after starting the 2nd frame Brandon Vazquez gave the Orange and Blue the lead after a great pass from Álvaro Barreal. Brenner doubled that lead in the 55th minute when Lucho Acosta slipped him in. Then, Barreal got into the goals column in the 71st, stretching the lead to 3. TQL stadium held their collective breaths after Paxten Aaronson clawed one back in the 77th minute, but the home team held strong and the match finished 3-1.
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 a N/A if they are subbed in/off before any quantifiable statistics are available.
Expected Goals (xG): FC Cincinnati – 1.7, Philadelphia Union – 1.3, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 9
Pat Noonan finally had a near full-strength squad to work with, and it appeared that he got his starting lineup spot on. Barreal at left wingback was a constant threat going forward, and having Murphy behind him to back him up made his defensive life a bit easier. Noonan’s game plan, as mentioned extensively in the latest Talking Tactics episode, involved Acosta splitting wide, into the half space, and attacking from the outside-in. It worked masterfully, and a Philadelphia Union defense that had been excellent gave up 3 goals for the first time this season.
The only mark against Noonan is that he waited a bit too long to introduce substitutes after the Union upped the tempo around the 60th minute. When he finally did put on Yuya Kubo and John Nelson, the team was on the back foot and gave up a goal soon after.
GK – Roman Celentano – 7
Celentano wasn’t asked to do much. The only chance that he really had the opportunity to save he came up trumps and snuffed out the danger. Aaronson’s goal was a fluke, and I’m not sure Celentano could do anything about it. His distribution continues to be spotty, but his string of solid performances remains intact.
RWB – Alvas Powell – 6
Powell had a solid if unspectacular match on Saturday. The Union focused most of their attack on the opposite side of the pitch. Had Brenner’s 1st half goal stood, he would have had an assist, but instead he ended the match with 0 accurate crosses and only 1 shot-creating action. He also failed to earn a tackle, winning just 1 of 5 ground duels.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 7
Hagglund’s aggressive positional play was key to FCC being able to keep the Union from switching fields. However, he only logged 1 tackle and failed to win 3 of his 4 ground duels. Offensively he stepped forward and helped the team in possession, completing 83% of his passes and earning .3 xA, good enough for 2nd on the team.
CB – Geoff Cameron – 7
Cameron had a fairly flawless match. Offensively, not only was his passing percentage good (84%), but he completed 12 of 13 passes that traveled 30 yards or longer and had 5 passes into the offensive third. Defensively he played the role of organizer more than destroyer. He won 1 of his 2 ground duels and had 2 interceptions, but wasn’t able to log a tackle.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 7
Murphy had an excellent first half, and would be rated higher had he been able to continue after halftime. His 6 pressures and 7 recoveries led the defense even though he only played 45 minutes. He also had a tackle and an interception, and won his only ground duel.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 10 (Man of the Match)
How can you argue with anything that Barreal did in this match? Beyond having a goal and an assist, he led the team in touches, progressive passes, and passes into the final third. Furthermore, he chipped in 2 of 4 accurate crosses and 6 of 10 long passes. He was active defensively as well. 4 of his 6 pressures were successful, and he positioned himself well enough to contribute 4 blocks and earn 5 interceptions. There is no such thing as a perfect match, but allowing for typical and harmless mistakes Barreal played just about as perfectly as is possible.
DCM – Obinna Nwobodo – 8
Obi continues to assert himself on both sides of the ball for the Orange and Blue. His 97% passing over 90 minutes is insanely good and includes 6 of 6 long passes, 5 passes into the attacking third, and 7 progressive passes. His 21 pressures pore than doubled his closest teammate, but he was dribbled past 4 times. Finally, though he only won 1 tackle, he led the team with 12 recoveries. Obi’s most surprising stat though… he committed 0 fouls.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 6
Moreno continues to put in solid performances, but hasn’t stood out since returning from injury. He is positionally sound and good on the ball. His 10 pressures were good enough to tie him for 2nd on the team, and he also contributed 2 shot-creating actions while completing 92% of his passes.
CAM – Lucho Acosta – 9
Lucho Acosta continues to show why he is an MVP candidate. Even when a guy like Barreal steps up and takes over, he is still key to making things tick. He contributed 11 shot-creating actions and 10 progressive carries, far and away the best player on the team in both categories. His assist to Brenner was a perfect pass, and his perfectly weighted ball to Barreal helped to create Vazquez’s opener.
ST – Brenner – 9
Brenner’s run and shot for his game-winning goal illustrate how much confidence the young Brazilian is playing with. He also nearly set up another goal, and contributed two other shot-creating actions. His 5 shots led the team, even if only 2 of them were on target. He was also key to progressing the ball into the attack, notching 5 progressive passes and 5 progressive carries, and also receiving 11 progressive passes.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 8
Vazquez’s excellent near-post finish keeps him in contention for the MLS Golden Boot, but he continues to do so many great things off the ball as well. His movement creates space for Brenner and Lucho, and his holdup play seems to improve every match, receiving 84% of the passes sent his way in this one. However, to be a truly elite forward he will need to clean up his touch. He was dispossessed 3 times and credited with 4 missed touches… both first or tied for first on the team.
Tyler Blackett (46th minute) – 7
Tyler Blackett is typically not nearly as aggressive in pressing as his defensive counterparts. However, in this match he logged 5 pressures in just 45 minutes… equal to Cameron and Hagglund’s entire 90. However, none of those pressures were successful, and he failed to record a tackle. He did contribute a block and an interception but was also dribbled once.
Ray Gaddis (67th minute) – 5
By the time Gaddis entered the match, replacing Alvas Powell, his team was up 2 goals and the Union were on their heels. In 23 minutes he logged only 6 touches, completing all 3 of his pass attempts. He didn’t really make a mistake, but was also completely uninvolved in the match. Defensively his stat line is blank save for 3 unsuccessful pressures.
John Nelson (76 th minute) – 4
Nelson was introduced along with Kubo as Philadelphia pressed to gain an advantage. He yielded immediately to that press, turning the ball over that led to Paxten Aaronson’s goal. He didn’t win a tackle or log an interception, and contributed only a single pressure. His 67% passing was also poor at a time that the team needed to keep the ball to kill off the match. He is typically very solid, so we can chalk this one up to the game state by the time he came onto the pitch.
Yuya Kubo (76th minute) – 5
Kubo came on for Moreno late in the match to try to hold onto a 3 goal lead. After coming on, Nelson’s poor turnover put him in a position to win the ball off of Aaronson, and he failed. However, outside of that, he was very tidy on the ball, completing all 5 of his passes and logging a progressive carry. He also contributed 4 pressures, which would have put him on pace to lead the team over 90 minutes.
Haris Medunjanin (85th minute) – 10
Availability Notes: Sergio Santos (leg), Nick Markanich (Concussion), and Ronald Matarrita (ankle).