FC Cincinnati welcomed the Columbus Crew into TQL stadium for a Hell is Real Derby with some actual meaning, with both teams sitting near the playoff line. Unfortunately, a questionable offside no-call and a late game collapse meant that the game ended in a 2-2 draw, leaving neither team any better off in the standings.
FCC came out of the gates rockin’ and rollin’ and created some early chances before Brandon Vazquez finally broke the duck by scoring his 16th goal of the season after a through pass from Lucho Acosta. Then, in the 74th minute, substitute Derrick Etienne Jr. headed home a Cucho Hernandez cross from a questionable position – looking to be offside. Much to everyone’s dismay, VAR did not review the play. But the Orange and Blue didn’t pout. Instead, Matt Miazga reclaimed the lead for his team just 3 minutes later blasting home in the aftermath of an Alvas Powell long throw in. However, as the Crew pressed for another equalizer and FCC continued to sit deeper, all of our worst fears once again came true when Steven Moreira made it 2-2 with virtually the last kick of the game.
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 – 1.4, Columbus Crew – .4, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 5
Pat Noonan made the logical change of inserting Yuya Kubo into the lineup for the suspended Obi Nwobodo. His initial game plan of keeping Lucho Acosta really high up the pitch and using Kubo’s mobility and Moreno’s passing to help progress the ball forward also worked to perfection.
Once again, it was in the substitution patterns and personnel that Noonan seemed to overthink things. Bringing on Nelson to replace Barreal with the lead heading into the final 20 minutes of the game makes sense. Pulling Yuya Kubo at the same time when he had been performing really well and showing no signs of tiring was questionable, but also defensible. Similarly, one could argue for putting on fresh attackers in Badji and Santos late on to provide pressure and the ability to counter attack, or against bringing on rusty attackers that hadn’t played in weeks for two players in Brenner and Vazquez that are dangerous every time they touch the ball.
Finally, I have no idea what Noonan was thinking bringing on Ray Gaddis for Lucho Acosta in the 87th minute. His team was already sitting way too deep, and introducing a wide defender for an attacking midfielder only exacerbated that problem. There weren’t many other options, but I think bringing on Calvin Harris and asking Dom Badji to drop deep in midfield or bringing on Bailey as a DCM (a position he has been playing a lot of on the 2 team) would have both been better options.
GK – Roman Celentano – 5
Celentano giving up 2 goals on a PSxG of 1.3 doesn’t look good. However, this is primarily because Moreira’s goal was scuffed and bouncing through traffic and therefore has a very low xG even though it’s tough to tell if Roman could have conceivably gotten a touch to it. Roman had virtually nothing to do in the first half, and through the majority of the 2nd, he was good when called upon. He had to be alert when Zelarayan smashed a free kick toward the upper corner in the 61st minute, and also claimed another dangerous looking cross/shot from the Armenian a bit after. In possession, he was even shakier than usual completing just 30% of his passes, including only 4 of 20 long balls.
However, the play everyone will be talking about is whether or not he should have called off Geoff Cameron and easily claimed Degenek’s lofted ball into the box that led to the Crew’s 2nd goal. Hurtado was closing and it appeared Cameron was going to win it easily, so even though I would have liked him to be aggressive and claim it I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. That said, it was a mistake, and added to his shaky distribution it gets him a scoring downgrade.
RWB – Alvas Powell – 5
The curious case of Alvas Powell continues. He can look so incredibly good on the ball, dribbling forward at will. Against the Crew, he carried the ball forward further than any of his teammates (179 yards, 6 progressive carries). However, he so often creates virtually nothing from his dribble progression. For all of that progression, he finished the match with 0 key passes, 0 passes into the final third, and 0 accurate crosses. To add insult to injury he strayed badly offside for his disallowed goal, when he probably still could have scored had he held his run.
Finally, the Jamaican slowed badly down the stretch of the match and ultimately couldn’t help his team see out the win. He was dribbled past twice and had a couple of bad giveaways when FCC really needed to keep the ball.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 6
Nick Hagglund did an excellent job of stepping out to defend Kevin Molino in the half-space during the first half. His aggressive pressuring was a big part of why Columbus couldn’t get anything going. As Columbus pushed higher in the 2nd half he remained defensively solid, but like his counterparts failed to contribute to progressing the ball. This allowed the Crew to maintain a lot of possession and mount pressure on FC Cincinnati’s goal.
To add to his inconsistent performance, he failed to steer a free header from a difficult angle on goal in the 59th minute but played a big part in Miazga’s go-ahead strike by rising high to flick on Powell’s long throw. Haggs wasn’t at his best but ultimately played solidly enough.
CB – Geoff Cameron – 4
Cameron followed up my praising of him last week by showing why so many are reluctant to give him any credit. He was firmly the worst player on the pitch for the Orange and Blue, and accordingly earned the game’s lowest FotMob rating. Initially, he did well pressuring Cucho and keeping Columbus from being able to create anything offensively. However, as the match wore on he started to struggle. The final tally had him losing all 3 of his ground duels and getting dribbled twice.
Finally, his non-clearance in the 96th minute of the match was inexcusable. The ball in from deep was lofted and posed no danger. However, he misread it forcing himself into the situation of jumping backward to head attempt to head the ball away. Then, he directed his header directly to the middle of the box when anywhere else would have sufficed.
LCB – Matt Miazga – 6
Miazga had a solid outing overall. His defensive numbers weren’t outstanding, but he also didn’t make many mistakes. Surprisingly he finished with only 2 pressures, the lowest of any starter. However, he still contributed a tackle, 4 blocks, and 2 interceptions. He only got into 2 ground duels, winning one of them, and lost his only aerial duel.
Had he not scored, Miazga’s rating would be lower. His passing percentage was too low for a center back (73%), and like his partners, he failed to help FCC progress the ball. That said, it was good to see him go 90+ minutes, and if this is his floor he should continue to be a great addition to the Orange and Blue.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 7
Once again Barreal looked like a competent defender in this match. He won 4 of his 6 ground duels, had 3 tackles, and added an interception. Oddly, it was his offensive production that looked off on the night. In his past 4 starts, he was averaging 6 progressive carries and over 5 dribbles. In this match, he logged 2 and 0 respectively. When his team was so badly struggling to progress the ball he was unable to help.
Even so, his excellent cheeky touch to free up Lucho Acosta led to Powell’s offside goal. Finally, he got forward enough to be a nuisance, finishing the game with 2 shot-creating actions and a key pass.
DCM – Yuya Kubo – 7
It is hard for me to know why Kubo was pulled from the game in the 71st minute. To that point he had been very solidly defensively, winning 7 of 10 ground duels, 3 interceptions, and 2 tackles. His work rate was incredible as well, as his 32 pressures nearly tripled that of his next closest teammate.
His offensive production wasn’t fantastic, and his 63% passing rate was poor. However, I have to think that his presence on the pitch could have made a difference as his team struggled to close out the match.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 7
Moreno looked back close to his best on Saturday. Offensively, his 5 progressive passes were 2nd on the team, and his 88% passing rate was excellent. He also had 4 passes into the final third and contributed a shot-creating action. Defensively he looked pretty spot-on in his positioning and tied for the team lead in tackles (3) and was 2nd only to Kubo in interceptions (2).
The only complaint about Moreno’s performance was his mobility. Before his injury, he was averaging 17 pressures per match. His 11 pressures on Saturday continue to be far lower than what is expected of him.
CAM – Lucho Acosta – 8 (Man of the Match)
After his stinker against the Red Bulls it was good to see the FCC Captain back pulling the strings. To go along with his assist he led the team in touches (63), shot-creating actions (5), progressive passes (6), and progressive carries (10). He was dispossessed 5 times and completed under 70% of his passes, but some of that is par for the course for a player that is trying to create magic.
Down the stretch, however, he was as sloppy as anyone on the team, turning the ball over in a few key moments when possession would have given the Orange and Blue a chance to breathe. Finally, having to come off with a cramp before stoppage time forced Noonan into a change that brought on a 6th defender and threw the team’s shape into chaos.
ST – Brenner – 6
Brenner struggled to make much of an impact in this match. He was able to help create 3 shots but finished with an xG of 0. He also was unable to complete any of his 3 dribble attempts. That said, he was good at linking play and wasn’t dispossessed at all. His defensive effort rivaled most on the team, with 6 ball recoveries and 7 pressures.
Finally, his agility and effort to get a shot off through traffic helped to create Matt Miazga’s go-ahead goal.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 7
Brandon was once again not at his best on Saturday. The Crew center backs paid particular attention to him, and Mensah was at his back nearly every time he touched the ball in build-up. However, even though he wasn’t able to progress the ball or break the game open through his passing, he didn’t give the ball away either.
He failed to get off a meaningful shot when a Columbus player passed the ball to him in the middle of the box in the 27th minute. You also have to grade the young American down for missing a sitter in the 34th minute. However, he made immediate amends for that howler with an excellent run and finish just minutes after.
Allan Cruz (71st minute) – 7
Though I question pulling off Yuya Kubo, I thought Cruz played pretty well in closing out the match. In his 19+ minutes he was 8 of 8 passing and had a shot on goal. Of his 6 pressures, he helped his team win the ball back on 3 of them. He also added 2 blocks, an interception, and a tackle.
However, it wasn’t all good. Cruz also only won 1 of his 5 ground duels and was a step too slow in closing down Moreira on his game-tieing volley.
John Nelson (71st minute) – 5
It seems that, as a sub, Nelson cannot quite get into the match when he comes on. He played over 25 minutes including stoppage time and logged only 4 touches. He had only 2 passes and turned one of them over. He also didn’t get into a single ground duel and had only 2 pressures (0 successful).
It’s not that you can quite pick out anything that the young left back is doing wrong, per se. He simply isn’t involved enough to do much “right” either.
Sergio Santos (82nd minute) – N/A
He wasn’t on long enough to get a grade, but I have to mention how tired he looked after only a few short runs. He will need to work hard to get back to fitness if he is going to contribute down the stretch.
Dom Badji (82nd minute) – N/A
He wasn’t on long enough to get a grade, but he failed at his chance to be the game’s hero when he was in on goal all alone in the 89th minute but failed to trouble Eloy Room’s goal.
Ray Gaddis (87th Minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Ronald Matarrita (ankle).