FC Cincinnati looked to continue to make history as they headed back to Subaru Park to take on the top-ranked Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference semi-final on Thursday.
The team played well, but ultimately couldn’t get their offensive players going. When Nick Hagglund picked up a yellow card in just the 25th minute, and then Matt Miazga followed him into the book in the 58th making it known that neither would be available should FCC advance, it looked like it just wasn’t going to be the Orange and Blue’s day. That sentiment immediately became crystalized when Leon Flach shinned a bouncing ball past Roman Celentano to give the home side the lead in the 59th. The game ended, along with FC Cincinnati’s season, on a bit of a flat note, with a final score of 1-0.
In my opinion, this is just about the best way your team can lose a match as a fan. There was no heartbreak, no terrible officiating to blame, and the Union is a likable enough team to not cause me too much consternation. FCC didn’t play well, and that is reflected in the scores below, but they didn’t play terribly either. On another day and against another goalkeeper they might just have created enough to get a victory.
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 when possible.
- We won’t use .5 increments in order to force more subjective opinions.
- A player may receive a N/A if they are subbed in/off before any quantifiable statistics are available.
Expected Goals (xG): FC Cincinnati – 0.8, Philadelphia Union – 1.9, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 7
I can’t grade Noonan down much for this loss. He was forced to make a change to his starting lineup with Geoff Cameron taking a knock, and also forced to play with no usable midfielders with Yuya Kubo’s absence due to “family reasons.” One could potentially criticize him for not bringing along Allan Cruz but with the Costa Rican’s performances this season that would be a tough argument to make. I was surprised he didn’t have Harrison Robledo on the bench as an emergency sub. The homegrown hasn’t been excellent with the first team this year but has shown enough to warrant a shot considering the hybrid Zico Bailey was the only recognized midfielder available as a substitute. Also, Miazga has proven recently that he is not comfortable playing in the middle of the back 3, so despite his lack of experience there it may have been beneficial to give Murphy the nod in that spot instead of on the left.
Noonan’s substitution patterns would have been fine had the team gotten a result. However, with the loss, things get scrutinized. Subbing Matarrita on for Alvas Powell and shifting Álvaro Barreal to the right in the 68th minute was an excellent piece of gamesmanship. However, waiting until the 75th to introduce Santos for Murphy and go all-out in attack felt a bit late. Then, I am categorically opposed to making any substitutions past the 85th minute when your team is trailing, as it disrupts your team’s rhythm and doesn’t allow the sub time to impact the game. Therefore, introducing Badji for Moreno in the 89th was not a great decision in my opinion.
GK – Roman Celentano – 8
Philadelphia undoubtedly had some excellent chances throughout the match. However, they managed only one goal on a PSxG of 1.9. Celentano made 5 saves to keep his team in contention throughout the match. I also don’t think there was anything Roman could have done about the goal he allowed. It was hit after a period of chaos from fairly close range and found the top of the net.
Roman’s distribution, however, continues to be a problem for the team. On passes longer than 30 yards, Roman went just 6 for 16. None of these passes was costlier than the one he kicked straight out of bounds under pressure in 2nd half stoppage time when his team desperately needed to score.
RWB – Alvas Powell – 7
The Jamaican international constantly found himself in good positions to contribute offensively throughout this match. He had 3 shot-creating actions, 2 completed dribbles, and 3 key passes. He was also instrumental in advancing the ball, with 8 progressive actions (3 carries and 5 passes). However, Powell created so little from these opportunities. He had just .2 xA and a single accurate cross on 4 attempts (5 on some sites). He also had 2 mistouches, was dispossessed once, and only completed 67.5% of his passes.
Defensively Powell was pretty good. His stats weren’t eye-popping but he also didn’t make any egregious mistakes. Despite not winning a tackle he won 80% of his ground duels and 60% of his aerial duels. He also chipped in with 7 recoveries.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 6
Whether the knowledge that he’d be suspended for the next match should his team advance after his yellow card affected his performance, or it was something else, the Cincinnati Kid was a bit out of sorts for this match. He was only able to complete 66% of his passes, including only 6 of 10 short passes. At least twice he made ill-advised passes into the middle of the field that led to Union transition opportunities. However, even with this low tally, he was able to contribute 5 progressive passes and receive every pass that was sent his way without mistake.
Defensively he was able to stay fairly aggressive, racking up 10 pressures which was good enough for 3rd on the team and far better than either of his center back partners, and 17 recoveries which led the team. However, probably due to his operating on a yellow card, he wasn’t able to win the ball with any of those pressures. Finally, though it wasn’t his fault one could imagine a world in which he stepped to Flach during the scrum that led to the Union goal, thwarting the opportunity.
CB – Matt Miazga – 6
Matt Miazga recently slid to the center of the back 3 when Geoff Cameron was substituted against New York Red Bulls, and he did not look comfortable. That trend continued as he was forced to play there against the Union due to Cameron’s injury. From that position, he was able to nab 3 interceptions. However, he added just 2 pressures and no tackles or blocks. Furthermore, he got badly exposed for pace numerous times when faced with 1v1 situations… including leading up to the Union’s goal.
In possession, Miazga redeemed himself a bit. His 74% passing wasn’t elite, but not bad either, and included a respectable 11 of 15 on long passes. Finally, even though he only had 1 progressive pass, he did manage to make it a key pass into the final third.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 5
Murphy was a surprise start when the lineup was released due to an apparent knock taken by Cameron in the last match. We all wondered if the rookie would be able to stand tall under the bright lights of the conference semi-final. Unfortunately, though he didn’t make any terrible mistakes, he didn’t cover himself in glory either.
Murphy’s 73% passing was fine but included a mere 2 for 8 on long passes and no progressive actions. Defensively he was a virtual non-factor. He logged 0 tackles and only 1 block and 2 interceptions. What’s more, he was dribbled once and only contributed 2 pressures.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 7
Before the match, it seemed as if a great game turned in by Barreal could lead to an FCC win due to the Union’s typically narrow 4-4-2 diamond formation. The young Argentinian played pretty well but was unfortunately unable to find that cutting edge with his final ball. His 14 progressive actions (7 carries, 7 passes) led the team, and his 4 shot-creating actions were among the best. However, he didn’t manage a key pass and only contributed 1 accurate cross.
Defensively Barreal looked a bit lost. He was dribbled twice and didn’t manage a tackle. His 7 pressures look good compared to many of his defensive counterparts but were still far below his typical output.
DCM – Obinna Nwobodo – 8 (Man of the Match)
Obinna “Obi” Nwobodo may have been FCC’s most important player down the stretch. His work rate and ability to cover ground coupled with his calmness in possession have been key to the Orange and Blue’s playoff push. This match was no different. In possession, his 82% passing and 4 progressive actions were more than good enough and he had 6 passes into the final third. He wasn’t able to capitalize on a golden chance from 23 yards in the 30th minute, however, and his shot sailed wide of the post.
Defensively is where Obi makes his biggest mark. He led the team with 14 pressures and 4 tackles (3 successful) and added 2 blocks and 2 interceptions. He worked himself into near oblivion, however, and was noticeably tired heading into the final moments of the match.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 8
Junior Moreno finally looked back to his near best for this final match of the season. His 86.5% passing was excellent and his 4 progressive passes were more adequate. He was also in form defensively, adding 12 pressures, 4 interceptions, and 3 tackles (2 successful).
The one glaring mark on his performance, however, was his excellent chance to score in the 50th minute from 20 yards when Brenner laid the ball on a platter for him at the top of the box. He wasn’t able to hit his shot with any conviction, and Andre Blake saved it with relative ease.
CAM – Luciano Acosta – 7
Lucho will probably be disappointed with his performance in this loss. He seemed to really press down the stretch, constantly trying to do too much with the ball and turning it over. He had 2 mistouches, was dispossessed 3 times, and managed only 69% passing. However, these are all pretty typical numbers for FCC’s talisman.
What Lucho really lacked in this match was the final ball. His 6 shot-creating actions led to only .2 xA, and his team-leading 4 key passes were a bit lower than his average. To add to his struggles, his set-piece delivery in this match was utterly atrocious.
ST – Brenner – 7
Brenner may not have been as invisible as he was in FCC’s 1st playoff match, but he wasn’t at his best either. It was fantastic to see him manage 44 touches, but more than half of them (28) were in the defensive or middle thirds. At first look, his 100% passing seems elite. However, none of those passes were progressive and only 2 of them were key passes.
Brenner also struggled once he was on the ball. He wasn’t able to put either of his 2 shots on target. Finally, he was credited with a team-high 4 mistouches and was also dispossessed once. Defensively, the young Brazilian was active, adding 13 recoveries and 9 pressures.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6
Vazquez did pretty much all he could with his best chance of the match, a right-footed strike from 17 yards off a Union mistake that Blake was just able to keep out with an excellent reaction save. His 70% passing was adequate and featured a key pass and 2 progressive passes.
One of Vazquez’s biggest contributions was his team-leading 10 progressive passes received. However, he still had 3 mistouches and was dispossessed twice. He was also a meager 2 for 9 on aerial duels.
Rónald Matarrita (68th minute) – 5
Mata came on for Alvas Powell, shifting Barreal to the right after the team fell behind in the 2nd half. He pressed forward often, managing 5 crosses and 4 passes into the final third. However, none of these had any hope of being dangerous. Only 1 of his crosses found a target, none of his passes were labeled as “key,” and his xA was exactly 0.
Defensively he managed only 2 pressures even though the team was trailing and badly needed possession, and was dribbled once.
Sergio Santos (75th minute) – 4
Santos’s game relies heavily on speed and power. With the Union sitting deep with a 1 goal lead, he wasn’t able to use either. He didn’t have much time to make an impact and managed only 6 touches. With those 6 touches, he was dispossessed twice and completed only 2 passes. Furthermore, though he is known as one of the best defensive forwards in the league due to his immense effort and speed, he didn’t log a single pressure or tackle, and only 1 recovery.
Dom Badji (89th minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Yuya Kubo (family matter)
- 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).