FC Cincinnati came home to the friendly confines of TQL stadium on Saturday still licking its wounds from last week’s hefty defeat. Lucho Acosta was welcomed back to the lineup, and the Orange and Blue rode the fantastic atmosphere in the stadium to a 2-1 victory to remain a perfect 5-0-0 at home this season.
Let’s look at what FCC players contributed most to this victory.
Check out Cincinnati Soccer Talk’s post-match report HERE for more details.
- Each player starts off with a six 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.
- A player may receive a N/A if they are subbed on/off before any quantifiable statistics are available.
Expected Goals (xG): FC Cincinnati – 1.9, Portland Timbers – 1.6, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 8.5
Pat Noonan must have been thrilled to have Acosta back. In fact, the lineup he rolled out might very well be FC Cincinnati’s best XI once Brenner is permanently moved to Udinese. Beyond the lineup, it looked as if the gaffer had his team primed to counterattack, which is what made them so effective on offense last year. He was rewarded with a performance that saw each of his strikers score. The only tactical quibble that I have is that FCC failed to take advantage of Portland’s scant box defense. Sergia Santos and Brandon Vazquez were often matched up 2v2 on the Timber center backs when the ball was wide, but FCC remained reluctant to try to serve in a few early crosses.
Noonan’s substitutions were also astute. Bringing in Marco Angulo and Malik Pinto late in the game to see it out shows some real trust in the youngsters and made the midfield much more mobile. Alvas Powell for Ray Gaddis was an obvious change at an obvious time. The only sub that is questionable is bringing Badji on in the 64th minute. But, I like it, since it gives a guy that is probably going to see his role increase in a big way once Brenner is gone.
GK – Roman Celentano – 5
Celentano’s performance left a bit to be desired in this one. He did make three saves en route to a 2-1 victory but wasn’t really tested with any of them. One of those saves, a late reaction to a Santi Moreno shot, he deflected the ball right into the middle of the box. Luckily, Miazga was on hand to clear. He probably also shares a bit of blame for the Timber’s lone goal as well, once again deflecting a Moreno effort into the middle, unable to push it wide, for Dairon Asprilla to hit home.
Roman’s distribution was shaky as well. In the 23rd minute, he mishit a simple back pass and popped it up, but luckily his team was able to win the second ball. Then in the 40th minute, he played a free kick directly out of bounds. Finally, his goal kicks seemed particularly erratic on the day, sometimes traveling 65 yards and sometimes barely clearing 40.
RWB – Ray Gaddis – 6
Gaddis didn’t have a ton to do defensively, as the Timbers attacked down the FC Cincinnati left 49 percent of the time. However, even with limited exposure, he seemed to get burned a few times. In the 69th minute, he let Moreno inside too easily and then lost him for the return pass, resulting in Portland’s best chance of the match outside of Asprilla’s tap-in. It wasn’t too bad for the veteran though. He contributed two tackles and an interception.
Offensivelym Gaddis was much better. He tallied three shot-creating actions and three progressive actions. He got forward a few times to great effect and probably could have had an assist had Barreal been able to pick out the near corner after Gaddis found him at the back post in the 56th minute.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 6
Nicky Haggs do what Nicky Haggs do. The Cincinnati Kid was dominant in the air in this one, winning all five of his aerial duels. He also won two of his three ground duels and won two tackles. However, the performance still wasn’t his best.
In possession, Hagglund only completed 58 percent of his passes and failed to log a single progressive pass. His struggle passing the ball culminated in the 90th minute when he sent a free kick straight out of bounds with his team up 2-1 and holding on desperately for the win.
CB – Matt Miazga – 7.5
Miazga very well could have had a much lower number in this match. He had absolutely terrible giveaways in the 11th and 14th minutes resulting in Portland having a lot of early pressure in the match. However, he settled down and ended the game with an 80 percent passing rate. He also had two progressive passes, one of which was a calm, line-splitting effort in the 23rd minute that led to Santos having a golden opportunity to open the scoring.
Miazga also continues to be a rock of this back line, tallying a tackle, two blocked shots, and three interceptions. He also won five of six aerial duels and both of his ground duels.
LCB – Yerson Mosquera – 8
“Ourson” was back to his uber-aggressive self on Saturday, constantly stepping forward into the midfield to challenge Portland as they looked for outlet balls. He got into the most duels by far of any center back (eight) and won seven of them. He contributed three tackles and two blocks. Finally, he led the team in interceptions (five) and was tied for second in recoveries (ten).
Offensively, Mosquera proved to be effective stepping forward as well. He passed at an 86 percent rate and led the team with three passes into the final third. He did, however, have a mistouch and was dispossessed once.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 8.5
No one might have been happier to see Lucho back on the pitch than Barreal. With Acosta drifting around on the left, teams simply can’t key on the younger Argentine, and he delivered. His assist on Santos’ opener was an incredible cross. He was successful on four of five take-ons and wasn’t dispossessed a single time. Finally, he was second on the team in progressive actions, including seven progressive passes.
Defensively, Barreal was active as well, leading the team with four tackles and 12 recoveries. One of those tackles was key, when he alertly scrambled in the 70th to block a Juan David Mosquera cross after Portland took a free kick quickly. His great tackle on Mosquera in the 73rd also denied what looked like a great opportunity for the visitors to level the score. Could he have been man-of-the-match? Perhaps, but his 50 percent passing wasn’t quite up to snuff.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 7
I thought Moreno was fantastic in moments on the night. There were a few times when Portland looked to be closing in on the Venezuelan, but then he dropped a shoulder or spun away from a challenge and kept the ball moving. His performance wasn’t quite what it was the past two matches, but with Lucho back, perhaps it didn’t need to be. He contributed only two progressive passes, and his 77 percent passing was good, but below his usual. He also lost the ball more than either of his other midfield counterparts, with one mistouch and one dispossession.
Defensively is where the veteran continues to struggle to contribute in real ways. He rarely makes big mistakes but also struggles to make an impact. He had no tackles or blocks and managed only one interception. The only player to have fewer than his four recoveries was Brandon Vazquez. Finally, and perhaps most disappointing, he won only one of his five ground duels and led the team with three fouls.
DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 7.5
Obi still wasn’t quite back to his best coming off his several-week injury layoff, but he looked faster and played with a bit more tooth. He tied Barreal for the lead with four tackles won, and also added two blocks and an interception. His 10 recoveries were good enough to tie for second on the team. He flew around the pitch and got into a whopping 12 ground duels. However, he won only four of them.
In possession, he was solid if unspectacular. He had a respectable 81.4 percent passing, but only two progressive passes. He also had a bad mistouch that led to him picking up a yellow card in the 31st minute. Finally, he failed to log a key pass or a shot-creating action.
CAM – Lucho Acosta – 9 (Man-of-the-Match)
I feel like giving Lucho a 10 just for being on the pitch on Saturday because of how meaningful his presence is to the way this team wants to play. He was the team leader in ball progression with nine progressive passes and six progressive carries. He also contributed six passes into the attacking third and seven shot-creating actions. Finally, he was instrumental in the buildup to Vazquez’s game-winning goal. Amazingly, he wasn’t dispossessed at all and had only one mistouch.
Acpsta wasn’t perfect, as he was mostly absent on the defensive side of the ball, logging zero tackles. However, he got into 14 ground duels and won nine of them, and drew four fouls, so his effort was clearly there.
ST – Sergio Santos – 8
Santos gets high marks for his well-taken diving header at the near post that opened the scoring. He also had five shot-creating actions and remarkably led the team with three key passes. He was instrumental in ball progression, receiving seven progressive passes and actively combining with the midfield all over the pitch.
However, Santos also had some head-clutching mistakes. He failed to slide the ball across the box for a Vazquez tap-in in the 23rd minute, electing to shoot himself from a bad angle instead and hitting it right at the goalkeeper. His assist to Vazquez was nothing but luck, as he tried to shoot and nearly whiffed but the ball bounced kindly toward his strike partner. He also failed to make good contact with a left-footed shot in the 4th minute when he did well to free himself up for the shot.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 7
Vazquez has struggled for opportunities to score of late, so it was good to see him bag the game-winner in this one. He also contributed with fantastic hold-up play for most of the match, including down the stretch when he drew two fouls in the closing minutes of the game with his team bunkering a bit and holding onto a one-goal lead. When doing that kind of work, you’re always going to give the ball up a bit, but I’d still like to see his four dispossessions and two mistouches come down a bit. Finally, he had three shot-creating actions and drew a dangerous foul
Vazquez’s first touch also let him down when Santos found him with a through ball in the 25th minute, causing him to have to shoot from 25 yards when he might have created a better opportunity. He also probably should have done better with a deflected Santos cross at the back post at the 40-minute mark when he was stretching at the back post to prod it home.
Dom Badji (64th minute) – 5
It was good to see Badji get a decent chunk of minutes, coming on for Santos in the 64th minute. His effort and professionalism are without question. The best illustration of this was in the 90th minute when he used sheer willpower, work rate and strength to lock the ball in the corner against two Timber players for a good chunk of time. In his 27 minutes, he won three of six ground duels and had two successful tackles.
However, his technique needs to catch up with his effort. He completed only two of four passes and had a mistouch. He also was on the pitch plenty long enough to get off a shot, have a shot-creating action or play a key pass … all things that he didn’t manage to do.
Alvas Powell (77th minute) – 6
Powell came on for Gaddis in the 77th minute to see out the match and lock down the right flank. He did just that, contributing two recoveries, an interception and a block in his short time on the pitch.
Malik Pinto (89th minute) – N/A
Marco Angulo (90th minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Yuya Kubo (knee), Santiago Arias (hamstring), Brenner (transfer)
- 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).