Player Ratings

Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati 3, Columbus Crew 2

FC Cincinnati stretched its lead in the Supporters’ Shield standings to five points on Saturday with a win over Columbus Crew in the Hell is Real Derby. Acosta netted a brace before Columbus was able to fight back. However, FCC was not to be denied its 10th win at home in all competitions this season, and Junior Moreno nabbed the game-winner in the 67th minute.

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 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 – 2.5, Columbus Crew – 1.4, per

Formation: 3-5-2

Now onto the ratings:

Manager – Pat Noonan – 8.5

I desperately want to grade Pat Noonan down for electing to start Ray Gaddis after the great run of form that Powell has been in. Even if you account for him going around 60 minutes at midweek, he still should have been fresh enough to start. However, I can’t question the result. Noonan set his team up to get out on the front foot and press all game long. That pressure led to some great chances, including the game-winning goal. I thought he pulled the right strings in the second half, putting Yuya Kubo and Powell on for Dominique Badji and Gaddis in the 66th minute, changing the midfield to a flat three and accounting for the half-spaces that the Crew had been dominating. Then getting a tired Acosta off in the 85th before making some time-killing subs in stoppage time.

Even with that praise, I do have one nit to pick with the gaffer. FCC continues to be put under pressure early in the second half of matches. The team often comes out of the locker room either complacent or flat. I’m not sure what the conversation is like at halftime, but Noonan has to figure that one out.

GK – Roman Celentano – 8

Roman Celentano had a relatively quiet match to attend to. The first big action he was called into wasn’t until the 26th minute when a deflected shot fell to Cucho Hernandez to try to head home from the left. The young goalkeeper dove to save the initial shot then had to leap to his feet and have the presence of mind to tip the header over the bar. However, he also came up with a few nice, if routine, saves. And, of course, you can’t discount his game-winning block off a Steven Moreira header at point-blank range in the third minute of stoppage time.

A big part of a goalkeeper’s job is managing things on the field. Of course, he has to communicate to his backline and set up walls and defenders on set pieces. Celentano seems to have his team’s confidence in all of these. However, he still is uniquely positioned as a goalkeeper to be able to manage the flow of the game by holding onto the ball after saves or slowing down restarts. I think Celentano was masterful at this on Saturday.

It still has to be said that he made some mistakes. While his goal kicks have improved, a few of his clearances were bad and put FCC under pressure, including punting the ball straight out of bounds when his team was holding on for dear life in second half stoppage-time. He did well to stop Cucho’s volley in the 52nd minute but spilled the rebound right into the middle of the box for Amundsen to poke home when he could have pushed it wide. All of that said, having five saves and giving up only two goals on a PSxG of 2.7 is good enough for me.

RWB –  Ray Gaddis – 5

I thought starting Gaddis at home was a bit of a head-scratcher. I understand leaning defensively on the road, but in a match at home where pinning Amundsen back on the FCC right was going to be key, I thought Powell would have been a better selection. Gaddis only had one tackle and one block, and also got dribbled once. Gaddis got beat to a header by Cucho off a corner kick in the 42nd minute that was luckily plucked out of the air by Celentano. He also lost Cucho on the ball across that led to the Colombian heading down for Amundsen’s game-tying goal.

Offensively he was an abysmal 65.2 percent passing with only one progressive pass. He didn’t play a single successful pass into the attacking third. And, needless to say, he didn’t have a cross or create any shots. The question remains whether Gatman is a big enough upgrade defensively over Powell to justify the massive dropoff offensively.

RCB – Nick Hagglund – 7.5

The Cincinnati Kid earned his relatively high score in this one in an unfamiliar fashion … by being good in possession. His 82 percent passing was best among defenders and also included a key pass. His effort to win a back-post header late in the game led to the Crew’s Jimmy Medranda having to acrobatically clear the ball off the goal line to preserve the 3-2 scoreline. Finally, I thought he did a great job splitting lines to pick out targets up the field all night.

Defensively, he was extremely active, constantly chasing Lucas Zelarayan into the midfield and dropping back to cover as the Crew swung the ball around the back. He tied for second on the team with four tackles and also added a block. Finally, he won five of seven ground duels. He was dribbled once, but the only major mistake was when he was matched up with Zelarayan when the Argentinian, but plays for the Armenian national team, got free to poke home Cucho’s cross for the Crew’s first goal.

CB – Matt Miazga – 7.5

Matt Miazga was the second lowest-rated player on FotMob (Ray was first) in large part due to his losing all three of his ground duels and putting up very few defensive stats. He had zero tackles, two blocks, two interceptions and was dribbled once.

However, if you watch the film, it is all too evident how key Miazga is to everything the back line does. Throughout the match, he took on the responsibility of making sure that Cucho was marked, whether he was leading the line or dropping deep to connect play. Finally, Miazga came up with a goal-saving block in the 26th minute when Zelarayan skinned Hagglund in possession and had a shot from 12 yards.

LCB – Yerson Mosquera – 6

Yerson Mosquera had one of his more forgettable evenings in an Orange and Blue shirt in this match. His 77 percent passing was the lowest among the center backs and he contributed no progressive passes. He was dispossessed once and also had a mistouch. Finally, Mosquera shares a lot of the blame with Hagglund for Columbus’ first goal. He got beat badly by Cucho in the lead-up, then, trying to recover, he blocked Miazga off from making a play on the ball.

However, Columbus attacked down the left side of the pitch 44 percent of the time, and though he was dribbled three times, he also came up with five tackles, a block and three interceptions. He also won both of his aerial duels and seven of 12 ground duels.

LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 6.5

Álvaro Barreal had an excellent free kick destined for the corner of the goal well saved by Schulte in the 90th minute. Then, he followed that up with a nice corner kick that led to the Crew’s Medranda having to acrobatically clear the ball off the goal line. However, outside of those opportunities, he was largely anonymous when FCC was in possession. This was probably due to the large amount of defensive pressure he was under.

Defensively, he held his own, and his effort throughout was fantastic, but he also wasn’t fantastic. He was pressuring and diving into tackles into the 90th minute. Like Mosquera, he was dribbled three times but also contributed four tackles, two blocks and two interceptions.

DCM – Junior Moreno – 7.5

Junior Moreno was a key player in this match. Of course, you can’t discount his game-winning goal, which was really well-taken. Offensively, he was tidy as well, completing 97 percent of his passes, though few of them were progressive or dangerous. Unusually, he was dispossessed once and had two mistouches.

Defensively, his lack of mobility forced Nwobodo to play both sides of the field. He managed to grab two blocks and two interceptions, but didn’t take a tackle. However, where his presence is really noticeable is in his field awareness and positioning. Throughout this match, Moreno was constantly aware of where Zelarayan was camping out. He adjusted his position accordingly to block off easy passing lanes, forcing the Argentinian to drop deeper or receive on his back foot (see image below).

Moreno cuts off a pass to Lucas Zelarayan

DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 7.5

Nwobodo’s field presence is always noticeable, none more than when you look at his heat map. While Moreno’s signature is mostly concentrated in the center of the park, Obi’s is scattered from sideline to sideline. He tied for the team lead in tackles (five) and interceptions (three), and led outright in blocks (three).

Offensively, outside of his two shot-creating actions, Obi didn’t progress the ball as much as I would have liked. He also got dribbled three times. And finally, it was Obi’s mark that got free for the initial flick header that led to Moreira having a chance to tie the game at the death if not for a stellar Celentano save.

CAM – Lucho Acosta – 9 (Man of the Match)

I have to take a minute here to wax poetic about how hard Lucho Acosta has worked over the past few matches defensively … yes, defensively! He is the player that initiates FCC’s press. On Saturday, he got into an astounding 22 ground duels! The next closest player was Barreal with 13.

Offensively, his match was far from perfect. He had six mistouches and only completed 52 percent of his passes. Despite that, he still contributed to all three goals, starting the play and scoring the first, burying the penalty kick after a long delay for the second, and picking the goalkeeper’s pocket to create the third.

ST – Dom Badji – 8.5

Badji showed off his speed to create the game’s first chance in just the fifth minute when he got in behind Moreira and squared for Brandon Vazquez, whose shot was blocked. He was able to flash his acceleration to dribble away from Gustavo Vallacilla and cut the ball back to assist on Acosta’s first goal. Finally, his game intelligence and strength were on full display as he held off Philip Quinton, then went down when he was pulled back in the box to draw the penalty kick that led to Acosta’s second goal. Badji’s two key passes led the team, and his four shot-creating actions were good enough for second.

However, Badji still showed some real rustiness and a lack of confidence. He did well to work forward and pick off a Patrick Schulte-headed clearance in the 32nd minute but then hesitated to shoot, allowing the goalkeeper to recover. In the 35th minute, Moreno pressed, won the ball back and found Badji in the center of the pitch. Badji could have opened up onto his left foot and had a huge lane to shoot or dribble into, but elected to receive on his right foot and play a negative pass instead (see image below).

Dom Badji receives in the middle of the park and has space to turn and play forward.

Badji was also in on goal in the 43rd minute when his touch let him down, allowing the goalkeeper to save easily.

ST – Brandon Vazquez – 7

Brandon Vazquez may not have made it onto the score sheet in this match, but his effort and distribution were evident throughout. In the 28th minute, he dropped off the back line to connect with Barreal on the left and hit a perfect one-touch switch to Gaddis. That play eventually led to him volleying home a Badji layoff that was correctly ruled out for offside. He also had a really good diagonal pass in behind the defense to Acosta in the 35th minute. And, though it didn’t count, it was good to see him take his volley so well in the 28th minute.

Vazquez was key in the build-up to the penalty kick, dropping deep and then passing in behind for Badji. However, his pass wasn’t good enough and needed a Quinton mistake to make it through to his strike partner. Vazquez had a decent effort from a bad angle saved in the 33rd minute when he really should have squared the ball for Badji making an excellent run. Though he did well to square the pass that led to Moreno’s game-winner, the pass was actually behind Kubo, requiring the Japanese international to make an athletic play to get a touch and set up Moreno’s shot. Finally, he could have sealed the game in the 86th minute when Kubo darted in behind for a Powell throw-in and cut back to find Vazquez, who couldn’t sort his feet out to get a shot away.


Alvas Powell (66th minute) – 5

As good as I thought Powell has looked over his past two starts, he didn’t exactly shine as a sub in this one. In 25 minutes, he only attempted three passes and only completed one of them. He also was marking Moreira on the play where the Frenchman got free at the back post to nearly tie the game at the death. That said, Powell contributed two tackles, so his appearance wasn’t a total waste.

Yuya Kubo (66th minute) – 7

Like Powell, Kubo entered the match at a moment when FCC was under a ton of pressure from the Crew. He managed only nine touches but was fairly effective with them. One of his touches was an athletic turn of the hips to get a touch on the pass from Vazquez that led to Moreno’s game-winner, earning the Japanese international an assist. He also had two progressive carries. Finally, he was active on the defensive side of the ball, contributing two tackles.

Malik Pinto(85th minute) – N/A

Marco Angulo (90th minute +5) – N/A

Santiago Arias (90th minute +5) – N/A

Availability Notes: Sergio Santos (groin), Quimi Ordoñez (international duty), Brenner (ankle)


  • 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).
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