FC Cincinnati ended an MLS best 11 match unbeaten streak, falling at home to the Chicago Fire by the score of 3-2. After a first half that saw FCC dominate in scoring chances while being unable to break the deadlock, Jáder Durán opened the scoring for the visitors in the 56th minute. Just 3 minutes later the deficit became 2 when Brian Gutiérrez struck in transition. Durán earned his brace in the 75th minute when he cheated the offside line and once again beat the FCC backline for pace before lofting the ball over Roman Celentano’s head.
Just when it looked like all was lost, Lucho Acosta clawed a goal back in the 78th minute, then Brandon Vazquez cut the lead to 1 in the 89th. Then, Sergio Santos was issued a straight red card in the 5th minute of stoppage time, ending any chance of a comeback for the Orange and Blue. The draw left FCC sitting in 5th place in the Eastern Conference, but in need of a win next week to secure a playoff birth.
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 and statistics from websites like FB Ref, Who Scored, and FOTMOB.
- All statistics used will be taken from fbref.com.
- We won’t use .5 increments, because that is weak sauce.
- A player may receive a N/A if they are subbed in/off before any quantifiable statistics are available.
Expected Goals (xG): FC Cincinnati – 2.5, Chicago Fire – 1.6, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 5
It’s tough to criticize a manager too much for a loss when his team managed to create an xG of 2 prior to any goals being scored. However, from the off I questioned Noonan rolling out the exact same lineup that put in such a limp performance just 4 days prior in the match away to Seattle.
Furthermore, teams are now keying on Obi Nwobodo in the midfield and pressing in a way to force FCC’s outside center backs to progress the ball, and Noonan still has yet to adjust. Chicago was no different, following the playbook set forth by the rest of the league to perfection.
Finally, Noonan waited far too long to really go for the win. All of his changes were like-for-like, and he didn’t push the issue offensively until the 88th minute when Dom Badji was introduced for Geoff Cameron.
GK – Roman Celentano – 5
Roman had an abysmal 4.9 rating on FotMob, and it wasn’t without its merit. He didn’t have any howlers, but also didn’t really make any big saves outside of denying Durán in transition from a tough angle in the 48th minute.
Celentano gave up 3 goals on a PSxG of just 1.4. Furthermore, he hit numerous passes straight out of bounds under no pressure. Only 3 of his 11 long passes ended with FCC keeping the ball.
RWB – Alvas Powell – 6
Powell really needed to have a better game for FCC to be successful. He made so many poor decisions in the final third, wasting clear opportunities. In the 17th minute he had space inside the box on the right to cross, but cut the ball back and attempted a poor left-footed shot. In first half stoppage time, he again found himself open on the right with 4 targets to aim at, and instead went for glory, smashing his shot into the side netting.
That said, he still did well to get himself into so many dangerous positions. His work rate up and down the right flank was excellent, and he contributed 4 shot-creating actions with an xA of .6. He also had a decent game defensively, with 5 tackles (only 2 won the ball), 25 pressures, 3 blocks, and an interception.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 4
Whether Hagglund is getting worn down, playing with an injury, or just getting exposed defensively, he hasn’t been his dominant self the past few matches. He trailed all defensive starters with only 7 pressures, had only 2 tackles (won 1), and failed to register a block or an interception. He also was dribbled once and lost 4 of 5 aerial duels.
Whether it was a lack of opportunity or truly poor play, the Cincinnati Kid just wasn’t involved much. He attempted only 10 passes (completing 9) before he was taken off with a half hour to play. His final indictment comes with the fact that he was caught forward and unable to make a play on Chicago’s first two goals.
CB – Geoff Cameron – 5
Cameron’s numbers were good in this match. He had an 86% pass rate, including going 7 of 8 on long passes and playing 2 balls into the final third. Defensively he had an impressive 11 pressures, 3 interceptions, and won 8 of his 10 duels (4 aerial, 4 ground).
However, on Saturday Cameron simply showed how slow he has become. When pressuring the ball he is a step behind. Of his 11 pressures, none led to FCC winning the ball. Finally, he got torched by Durán for both of the big man’s goals.
LCB – Matt Miazga – 7
Miazga had a good, aggressive match where he racked up 12 pressures and got into 9 aerial duels (won 5). He also tied for the team lead with 16 ball recoveries. He ended the match as FCC’s highest rated defender on FotMob (7.1), winning 6 of 10 ground duels.
Miazga also passed the ball relatively well. When I scouted him, I said that, even though he was a competent passer, passing wasn’t a strength of his, and I stand by that. For the most part, his passes are not the kinds of line-splitting passes that open up defenses. However, in this match he begged to differ, completing 78% of his passes including 6 passes into the final third and 3 progressive passes.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 6
Sometimes we forget that Barreal is a wing playing wingback. He makes that easy to do, but in this match, he reminded us all. Even with his active 5 tackles, he won only 1 of them. He also got dribbled on 3 occasions.
We can forgive a lot of defensive errors when he is clicking on the other side of the ball, but he also failed to do that against the Fire. He was dispossessed 4 times and completed only 63.5% of his passes. Even so, he had 5 shot-creating actions and 7 switches of the field… both key metrics in creating opportunities.
DCM – Obinna Nwobodo – 9 (Man of the Match)
For the majority of this match, Obi looked to be the only player capable of linking the defense with the attack, chipping in 12 progressive actions (10 passes, 2 carries). He added a key pass and 4 passes into the final third. Lastly, his bravery in attacking a 2nd ball led to him being credited with an assist on Brandon Vazquez’s goal.
Defensively he was his typical menace, tallying an impressive 35 pressures, 4 tackles (all won), 3 blocks, and 2 interceptions. The only thing keeping Obi from earning the perfect “10” in this match was being dispossessed 4 times and getting caught trying to win an unwinnable header that led to Chicago’s 3rd goal of the match.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 6
Moreno had an average match… again. His 74% passing is adequate. He added *yawn* 11 pressures and an interception. However, he simply is not affecting matches as he did prior to his injury. He had 0 tackles and was dribbled once, and of his 11 pressures only 2 resulted in FCC winning possession.
Offensively he is not doing enough to keep teams from keying on Obi. He was only able to muster 3 progressive actions (all passes) and only passed the ball into the final 1 time. Moreno is an extremely useful player to have in the side, but when the team needs to dominate the ball he is both too slow to eliminate the inevitable counter attacks, and too timid to affect the game offensively.
CAM – Lucho Acosta – 8
Lucho splits opinions often, and this match was no different. Lots of people were claiming he had an intensely poor match. He certainly missed 2 sitters, only completed 59% of his passes, and was only successful on 1 of 4 dribble attempts. However, he had 7 shot-creating actions, 4 key passes, and 17 progressive actions (7 passes, 10 carries).
Certainly, his leadership in terms of arguing with the officials and keeping players focused leaves a lot to be desired. However, if you want a leader to lead by example with his play, you could do worse than 33 pressures (2nd on the team) and 16 recoveries (tied for 2nd).
ST – Brenner – 4
Brenner had 2 outstanding matches in a row prior to falling back to earth a bit along with the rest of the team against Seattle. However, if he fell back to earth on Tuesday he crashed unceremoniously in this match. Not only did he fail to score despite being put into some decent positions, but he didn’t even hit the target with any of his 3 shots. He also was dispossessed twice and had 3 mistouches.
The biggest problem with the youngster, however, is when he is struggling to get involved offensively he also drops off the face of the earth defensively. He had the fewest pressures of any starter (5) and failed to register a tackle. He also won only 1 of his 5 ground duels. Saving his score from being any lower was his respectable 2 shot-creating actions and excellent 92% pass rate.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6
Brandon finally got back to his scoring ways with an excellent turn and volley that gave FCC something to play for heading toward the final whistle. However, outside of the score he once again struggled to find his form. With 4 mistouches, 2 dispossessions, and a 67% pass rate, he didn’t help his team keep the ball. Even his goal was a touch sloppy with the ball deflecting up off his chest before he could get his shot off.
In the 30th minute, Vazquez was played into the right side of the box with lots of space and elected to shoot. Not only did he hit his shot right at Spencer Richey, but Acosta was wide open for the return pass which would have led to a potential tap-in. The one hope is, with his goal coming so late in the match, perhaps he’ll play with a renewed sense of confidence on decision day.
Yuya Kubo (60th minute) – 6
Yuya came on for Junior Moreno after FCC was down 2-0. He made an immediate impact with his pace and ability to progress the ball. In his short time on the field, he equaled Moreno with 3 progressive passes and added a progressive carry. His excellent diagonal pass to Brenner in the 62nd minute led to an opportunity that Acosta should have buried.
It wasn’t all good for Kubo, though. As FCC was pushing to get a foothold back in the game he was a bit all over defensively. He added only 3 pressures and completely lost Freddie Navarro in the 2nd minute of stoppage time leading to a shot on goal that went out for a corner and ultimately ate up 1:20 of the game clock before FCC got the ball back.
Ian Murphy (60th minute) – 6
Murphy came in for Hagglund in a surprise move that also shifted Miazga to the right of the back 3. He was able to make a good impact on the match in possession, completing 10 of 12 medium range passes (15-30 yards) and 2 of 3 long passes. His passes were effective ad line-splitting too. He had 2 passes into the final third and 2 progressive passes and added a completed pass into the penalty area.
Ronald Matarrita (72nd minute) – 6
Mata looked to be well up for this match as he certainly will want more playing time on decision day. However, outside of his assist (which was a really well-hit cross by the way), he was fairly ineffective. He only contributed 2 pressures and was unable to complete a progressive pass. Finally, on FCC’s final opportunity, a corner kick in the dying moments of the match, Mata hit the first defender with his cross.
Sergio Santos (73rd minute) – 1
Santos has been so effective at creating chaos for the opponent in his role as a substitute. However, in this one, he created chaos for the wrong team. He was on the pitch for 17 minutes and had 3 mistouches, including the turnover that led to what proved to be Durán’s game-winning goal. And, of course, he lost his cool picking up a red card that not only killed his team’s chances of completing the comeback but will now keep him out of next week’s must-win match against DC United.
Dom Badji (88th minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Other than backup goalkeepers the squad was fully healthy for this match.
- xG – Expected goals (or xG) measures the quality of a chance by calculating the likelihood that it will be scored from a particular position on the pitch during a particular phase of play
- xA – Expected assist (or xA) is directly related to the xG of a shot that the pass creates.
- Post-Shot xG (PSxG) – Post-Shot xG is calculated after the shot has been taken, once it is known that the shot is on-target, taking into account the quality of the shot.
- Progressive Pass – A pass that advances toward the opponent’s goal where the distance between the starting point and the next touch is:
- at least 30 meters closer to the opponent’s goal if the starting and finishing points are within a team’s own half
- at least 15 meters closer to the opponent’s goal if the starting and finishing points are in different halves
- at least 10 meters closer to the opponent’s goal if the starting and finishing points are in the opponent’s half
- Progressive Carry – Carries that move the ball toward the opponent’s goal at least 5 yards, or any carry into the penalty area. Excludes carries from the defending 40% of the pitch.
- Dribble – Moving past the opposing player while maintaining possession of the ball. When a player shields the ball or otherwise uses physical strength to maintain possession, this is not a dribble.
- Key Pass – A pass that immediately creates a clear goal scoring opportunity for a teammate. A key pass does not have to lead to a shot, and thus is different than a shot-creating action.
- Long Pass – Definition depends on the site being used. Typically, a pass that travels a distance greater than 30 yards.
- Mistouch – When a player fails when trying to gain control of the ball without a defender earning a tackle or a ground duel.
- Ground Duel – A challenge between two players to gain control of the ball, progress with the ball, or change its direction.
- Dispossessed – The times a player loses control of the ball after a tackle from an opponent, not including attempted dribbles.
- Recovery – Any action that ends the possession of the opponent without the ball going out of bounds. Recoveries are typically duels (44%) or interceptions (16%), but can happen without any specific action from the player doing the recovery (positioning himself correctly or simply collecting the ball).