FC Cincinnati defended its perfect home record on Saturday against D.C. United and came away with a 2-1 victory. Lucho Acosta opened the scoring with an Olimpico goal off a corner kick before Alvaro Barreal made it 2-0. United got a set-piece goal of its own to make things interesting at the end, but the Orange and Blue held firm to stay tied with New England atop the Supporter’s Shield standings.
Let’s look at where your favorite FCC players ranked for this match.
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 – 1.2, DC United – 1.1, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 7.5
I think Noonan got his tactics spot-on this match. Because D.C. United tends to create pressure pockets on the outside when setting up its defense, daring opponents to play to a wide player before pressing, Pat dropped Acosta into that space and pushed his wingback higher. This allowed FCC’s best dribbler to work out of the field’s tightest spots. Handing Alvas Powell his first start of the season also paid off, as you’ll see in his rating below.
So why only a 7.5? I seriously question the gaffer’s substitutions down the stretch. First, I think he brought Brenner onto the pitch too early. The Brazilian was clearly rusty, and Sergio Santos still had energy in the tank. Second, substituting Ray Gaddis for Barreal meant he didn’t have any outside defenders left on the bench when Powell was hobbled late on in the match. This forced Ian Murphy to play wingback. Ultimately, Gaddis and Murphy both played a part in the goal that FCC allowed late on.
GK – Roman Celentano – 7.5
Roman Celentano had another good shot-stopping game between the sticks. He made four saves en route to giving up one goal on a 1.1 PSxG. His kick save on Ruan in the 24th minute and his 42nd-minute save, when he was able to get low quickly and deny Benteke, allowed the match to stay scoreless headed into the half.
He was also more aggressive than is typical with aerial balls. He came out and got a touch on a corner kick in the 30th minute, taking the ball just out of reach of Victor Pállson, and came out to claim a cross before Christian Benteke could get a head on it in the 45th minute. Finally, he was able to come out and claim a cross in the dying moments of the match to preserve the win.
However, Celentano’s distribution was still erratic at best. He also dropped the aforementioned claim in the 45th minute before recovering it and deflected a save right into the middle of the box in the 44th that Miazga was able to clear. Ultimately, Celentano did enough to get the win and played well, but he was far from perfect.
RWB – Alvas Powell – 7
Alvis Powell far exceeded what we’ve seen from other right wingbacks this season. His five crosses, three shot-creating actions, one key pass and three passes into the penalty area don’t quite show his full contribution. His excellent first touch and cutback off a long diagonal from Matt Miaga in the seventh minute should have led to the first opportunity for FCC had Santos not scuffed the shot. He had a similar opportunity in the 49th minute where his cross just illuded Brandon Vazquez at the near post. His cross to Barreal in the 27th minute led to an Acosta shot opportunity that was hit over the bar. Finally, his positive play and decent cross in the 59th minute led to the corner kick that Acosta scored.
However, Powell is far from the perfect prototype for his position. He got dribbled three times and committed two fouls in the defensive third of the field. He also had several mental lapses that led to turnovers out of bounds or shots on goal for D.C. United. His four mistouches were tied for the team lead. Ultimately, the Jamaican international did enough to warrant far more playing time than he’s gotten, but he needs to stay focused in order to be an every-week starter.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 7
Nick Hagglund’s 84 percent passing and three progressive passes are good numbers for an outside center back. He also managed a key blocked shot and an interception. Ultimately, however, his four of nine long passes coupled with his only getting into one ground duel left a bit to be desired.
The key to Hagglund’s game has always been his physicality and his work rate. The Cincinnati Kid won four of five aerial duels in a match where he was put up against Benteke on several occasions. That alone is enough to warrant a respectable score, but the fact that he was spot-on in his positioning to limit Taxi Fountas’ midfield presence didn’t go unnoticed either.
CB – Matt Miazga – 8.5
So much of what Miazga does won’t ever show up in the stat sheet. He constantly tracks runners into wide areas when his outside center backs get pulled out of position. He marshalls center forwards, tracks checking midfielders and is a constant presence on every ball into the box. In this match, he didn’t get into a single ground duel or log a tackle. His lone defensive number was a singular interception. However, he also won three of four aerial duels and didn’t really put a foot wrong all night.
In possession, he was also darn near perfect. His 93 percent passing included going 10 of 12 on long passes and he contributed three passes into the final third. On at least two occasions his long diagonals to Powell got the offense rolling and created opportunities. If Miazga continues to play as he did in this one, he should end up as a mainstay in the USMNT.
LCB – Yerson Mosquera – 8
If Miazga was excellent, I’m not sure there’s another superlative to describe Mosquera’s game. He bettered his central partner in passing percentage (94.5 percent), and tied for the team lead for progressive passes (seven) and passes into the final third (four).
Like Miazga, he didn’t have defensive numbers to speak of, logging only one block and one interception. Unlike Miazga, however, he only won three of his six aerial duels and two of his four ground duels.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 8.5
Álvaro Barreal is proving to be indispensable at left wingback. If you don’t believe me, go back and watch the final 12 minutes of the match when Gaddis replaced him there, followed by Murphy. Barreal is never going to be a lockdown defender, but he doesn’t need to be with Mosquera behind him. Ruan got the better of him on several occasions, including a really good opportunity that led to a Celentano save in the 24th minute. Despite this, he is more than adequate defensively. In this match, he contributed three tackles, a block and an interception.
Offensively is where the young Argentinian really shines. His goal was a cracker of a shot, and he could have easily had an assist when he laid a ball off to Acosta in the 28th minute. He also contributed five progressive passes and two progressive carries to go along with a key pass. His one black mark in possession was his abysmal two of 10 long passes.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 6
Junior Moreno can be infuriating to watch when FCC is in possession. He constantly takes up great positions and takes care of the ball. He managed 91 percent passing in this one. However, he also constantly ignores opportunities to move the ball forward in favor of playing it safe. If you see his passing chart below you’ll notice conspicuously few arrows pointing in the offensive direction. And passing forward isn’t his biggest weakness in this regard! The number of opportunities that he has to move the ball forward via the dribble is astounding, yet he constantly ignores them in favor of cutting the ball back and playing square.
That said, not hurting the team is also important, and Moreno rarely does so. He tracks runners adeptly, clogs passing lanes, communicates constantly and (as mentioned before) takes care of the ball.
DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 7
Obi Nwobodo caught a bit of the Morenos in this match, being reluctant to move the ball forward. His two progressive passes and one progressive carry simply aren’t good enough for a player in his position. Even so, he still managed to move the ball forward when it was absolutely key to do so, tying for the team lead with four passes into the offensive third.
If the other half of his midfield pivot was more positive in possession, this wouldn’t be an issue for Nwobodo. His defensive metrics were off the charts in this one as per usual. He led the team with four tackles while earning a block and an interception as well. He also got into 16 ground duels, winning nine.
CAM – Lucho Acosta – 9 (Man of the Match)
I don’t think Acosta had his best match of the year. Despite this, when you have a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win … you often win Man of the Match. He led the team (or tied for the lead) in shots (three), shot-creating actions (three), progressive passes (seven), key passes (two) and passes into the penalty area (three). Simply put, he was key to everything the Orange and Blue did offensively.
It looked to me like Acosta also covered a lot more ground than he typically does on Saturday. He dropped deep and wide to open up passing lanes and push the wingbacks higher up the pitch. He also tracked back defensively on several occasions, though he doesn’t have the defensive stats to show for it.
ST – Sergio Santos – 5.5
It’s not often that the bulk of a striker’s rating comes from his defensive effort, but it is the case for Sergio Santos in this match. Santos’ two tackles, one block and eight ground duels are impressive numbers for a frontman. No moment in the match epitomized his work rate more than in the 58th minute when he caught center back Donavan Pines in possession from behind on two consecutive plays.
That said, strikers need to strike … or at least be a threat to do so. Santos’ fluffed shot in the seventh minute was a good opportunity and he should have done better. Furthermore, neither of his two shots were on target, he had zero shot-creating actions and he was zero for two with his take-ons. In all, he only ended up with 20 touches, and only 11 in the offensive third. If not for his defensive effort, his rating could have really been ugly.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 4.5
I couldn’t get around giving Vazquez the goat horns in this match. Despite his very minimal involvement (only 24 touches), he tied for the team lead with four mistouches and added a dispossession. His 47 percent passing was jaw-droppingly poor. He also failed to score with the highest xG chance of the match, a wide-open shot from 17 yards off a Yuya Kubo interception.
Brenner (65th minute) – 6.5
A lot was made of how much better FCC was once Brenner entered for Santos in the 65th minute. Despite only playing 26 minutes, he tied for the team lead with three shot-creating actions. His calm holdup play and back heel were key moments in the buildup to Barreal’s game-winner. Finally, his excellent bit of skill in the fourth minute of stoppage time might not have led to a penalty call, but it absolutely could have.
So why only a 6.5? Brenner entered the match for a player that, minutes before, engaged in two separate long sprints to track down a center back progressing the ball and win it for his team. He came into a match with his team holding onto a one-goal lead. Yet, he didn’t really engage in pressing much, didn’t earn a tackle, block, or interception and only had two ball recoveries.
Ray Gaddis (79th minute) – 4
Noonan didn’t do Ray Ray any favors by putting him into the match on his less-favored left side, then switching him to the right halfway through his appearance. However, Gaddis didn’t do his team any favors by losing his mark at the back post for D.C. United’s only goal of the match. Furthermore, “Gatman” was on the pitch for 11 minutes but only had two touches … one of which was a turnover. Gaddis has a lot of good qualities as a veteran for this team, but his introduction was not a positive one in this match.
Malik Pinto (87th minute) – N/A
Ian Murphy (87th minute) – N/A
Yuya Kubo (88th minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Santiago Arias (quad), Quimi Ordoñez (international duty)
- 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).