FC Cincinnati proved that reports of their demise had been greatly exaggerated with a resounding 3-0 win over New York City Football Club. Aaron Boupendza opened the scoring when he was quickest to react to a Brett Halsey shot and headed it home. Junior Moreno doubled the lead just after the break when he finished off a fantastic team move. Then, Nick Hagglund had the sweet taste of redemption when he headed home from a corner kick to complete the rout.
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, NYCFC – 1, per mlssoccer.com
Now onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 8
Whatever Pat Noonan and his staff did to get the team turned around from Wednesday and focused on rebounding worked. Any time a team wins as comprehensively as FCC did on Saturday, you have to give props to the tactical setup. In this match it distinctly looked like there was a dedicated effort to play Boupendza as more of a target forward, putting passes into his feet with a defender on his back instead of trying to play the ball to him in space. In fact, this pattern of play using one-touch passing and playing off a target player was present throughout the match on every level of the field. Defensively, Noonan also chose to back FCC’s press off of their usual intensity, resulting in less space for NYCFC to play between the lines and presumably preserving his players during this busy stretch of the season.
Speaking of a busy stretch in the season, the complaints that I do have about Noonan’s managing this match all surround his substitutions. Up 3-0 in the second half, I’m not sure why you wait until the 72nd minute to make any changes to the team. Then, when he did make those changes he left Moreno and Lucho Acosta on the pitch … two players that played a ton of minutes on Wednesday, have played a ton of minutes over the course of the season and are integral to your team’s success.
GK – Roman Celentano – 9
Roman Celentano was a virtual spectator for much of this match. That’s why it makes it even more impressive that he was in top form when called upon. In the 56th minute, with his team ahead by just two goals, he had to be alert to spring out and push away a deflected cross that looked destined to fortuitously bounce straight to Monsef Bakrar for a tap-in. Then, in the 70th minute, he made an excellent reaction save on a Keaton Parks header to preserve the clean sheet. In all, he earned a shutout by making four saves that combined for a PSxG of 0.9. That’s the kind of performance that can help a team win games when things are tight.
The one quibble I’ve had with Roman of late is that he tends to give up bad rebounds at times. In the 57th minute, after a bad Matt Miazga turnover, Celentano saved a soft header from Julián Fernández, but inexplicably spilled it. He was lucky to be able to smother the rebound before Fernández could react. That is one area of his game where he’ll want to improve.
RWB – Santiago Arias – 8.5
Santiago Arias looked excellent on Wednesday and was excellent again in this match. His three progressive passes and one progressive carry are respectable numbers for a wingback. However, his real contribution in this match was his ability to break forward at pace. He led all players with seven progressive receptions. He wasn’t rewarded with numbers on the scoresheet, but his excellent run down the right and accurate cross created the corner from which Nick Hagglund headed home for FCC’s third goal on the night. He also added two key passes, four passes into the attacking third and two accurate crosses.
Defensively, he was a bit quieter. He only got into four ground duels (winning two) and was dribbled past twice. However, he didn’t make any big mistakes, and if his offensive output remains as it has the past two matches, he is going to be a key piece to FCC’s success moving forward.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 8
If Nick Hagglund’s confidence was shaken after missing his spot-kick in the shootout loss on Wednesday, he didn’t show it in this match. His 59th-minute header that put FCC out of reach of an NYCFC comeback was both perfect and well-deserved. He was also mostly good in possession, completing 90 percent of his passes, though he struggled with long balls (only one of four) and only had two progressive passes on the night
Defensively, the Cincinnati Kid was a monster in the air, winning four of five aerial duels. His lone mistake came in the second half when he let Talles Magno drift behind him and get a header at the back post, but he did enough to put Magno off and no danger came of it.
CB – Matt Miazga – 7.5
When earning a shutout victory, I can’t very well give FCC’s central defender anything less than respect. However, Miazga actually looked a bit off the pace in this match to me. He was a step late to track a few diagonal runs but wasn’t punished due to NYCFC failing to connect on passes. He had some shaky moments in possession also. With his team ahead by two in the 57th minute, he turned the ball over on an ill-advised pass out of the back in transition, gifting NYCFC with one of their four shots on target.
All of that said, the big center-back also completed 88 percent of his passes including six of seven long passes. He did well to organize the back line and prevent many major opportunities for the visitors. Finally, he added five recoveries and an interception.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 7.5
Murphy continues to make steady strides toward becoming a rock-solid MLS defender. Though he was dribbled past once in this match, he tied for the team lead with three tackles and led the team with three interceptions. He showed several times that he is a capable 1v1 defender while covering for Brett Halsey when the wingback got caught forward. Finally, he won three of five ground duels and his only aerial duel.
Murphy continues to stand out on this team as a capable ball-playing center-back. He tied for the team lead with four progressive passes while adding two progressive carries. He also earned a key pass and had a shot-creating action in this match. Overall, Murphy looks to me like he will be a locked-on starter in 2024.
LWB – Brett Halsey – 7
Brett Halsey was incredibly impressive in this, his first MLS start. He did well to take the shot with his first touch in the sixth minute, causing Luis Barraza to parry the save right into the path of Boupendza for the game’s opening goal. He showed lots of promise coming in on his right foot and connecting passes. Furthermore, he also looked to be a capable defender for a rookie, earning three tackles and winning half of his ground duels. So why is Halsey rated at only a 7?
Halsey was impressive … for a rookie. However, he has a long way to go still to be more than a backup in MLS. Defensively, it looked to me like he was giving too much space out wide on several occasions. He was slow to close space on the wing in the 69th minute, allowing the cross that created the best NYCFC chance of the game. He was also turned inside out in 1v1 defense by Andres Jasson, allowing another cross just minutes later. In all, he was dribbled past three times, more than any other FCC player. Offensively, he was bright but still didn’t create a ton outside of his shot that led to the first FCC goal. In all, he only had one progressive pass, one pass into the final third, and wasn’t accurate on either of his two crosses. We should all be impressed by the youngster, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves by anointing him as Álvaro Barreal’s heir apparent.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 7.5
With no Obinna Nwobodo in the lineup, Junior Moreno was more impressive in possession than he typically is. Not only did he take his goal so calmly, finishing through traffic, but he was also instrumental in the buildup, playing the pass that released Lucho down the line into space before continuing his run into the box. Uncharacteristically, he had three progressive passes and a progressive carry. His 96 percent passing included completing four of five long passes.
NYCFC wasn’t exactly impressive on the ball, but Moreno still racked up some decent defensive numbers as well. He ended the match with a tackle, two blocks, and two interceptions. Moreno’s performance was good all around, and he was a big part of why FCC was able to handle business so easily.
DCM – Yuya Kubo – 6.5
After looking nearly unplayable on Wednesday when he came into the match, I had high hopes for Kubo in this one. He certainly showed flashes of what could make him such a key midfielder in this team by being active defensively and dynamic on the ball. His six progressive actions (four passes, two carries) were second only to Lucho Acosta. Defensively, he was no Obi analog, but he still contributed two tackles and two recoveries.
However, Kubo’s inconsistency on the ball can be mind-numbing at times. He turned the ball over by trying to play ill-advised square passes on several occasions. His poor turnover and foul in the 50th minute led to him taking a yellow card. Finally, despite his clear skill on the ball and ability to dribble at pace, he still didn’t manage to earn a key pass or shot-creating action. I still think that a midfield pairing of Kubo and Obi could be fun and effective, but Yuya’s concentration will have to improve before he ever earns a full-time starting position.
CAM – Lucho Acosta – 9 (Man of the Match)
Lucho Acosta was feeling it this match. First, it was his incredible cross-field volley started the play that led to FCC’s first goal, then it was his fancy footwork that drew defenders away from Halsey before Lucho slotted him the ball for his shot. His excellent run, vision and feet allowed him to both start the play that led to FCC’s second goal, as well as provide the assist. He nearly scored off a free kick in the 77th minute but for an excellent save by Barraza. Finally, he played an excellent ball in to Hagglund for the team’s third goal of the match. In all, he had two assists and led all players by a mile with eight shot-creating actions.
Lucho’s game wasn’t perfect though, and he still needs to find a way to get on the same page as Boupendza. When he and Boupendza had a 2v1 runout transitioning from a corner kick in the 64th minute, he dwelled too long on the ball and turned it over. The team was up by three at that point so it was somewhat inconsequential, but plays like that are absolutely maddening for his teammates. He also made four mistouches in this match. However, when you have a player who can create like Lucho, you sometimes just have to take the good with the bad.
ST – Aaron Boupendza – 7.5
Aaron Boupendza looks to be slowly finding his feet with the Orange and Blue. His header in the sixth minute may have been a tap-in, but he did well to stay active on the play and react to the keeper’s save first. He played well as a target player, constantly checking to the ball and linking up play. His three shot-creating actions and four progressive passes are excellent numbers for a forward. He also worked hard defensively throughout this match, constantly pressuring NYCFC and earning two blocked passes in the process.
However, “Boup” has not quite shown the fans his true quality as of yet. Though he has an excellent first touch when he concentrates, he ended the match with a whopping six mistouches. He had a head-clutching turnover in the 53rd minute when he tried to backheel a pass to Kubo at the edge of the defensive third, presenting NYCFC with a rare opportunity to run at goal with numbers. If Boupendza wants to hear the Bailey singing “Boup, there it is” more often, he’ll need to find a way to get on the same page with his teammates.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6.5
Brandon Vazquez looked a bit heavy-legged in this match. Though he displayed some really nice moments of target play and tied for the team lead with seven progressive receptions, he also had two mistouches and was dispossessed twice. At the 33-minute mark, after an incredible pass by Acosta put Arias in behind on the right, Vazquez’s bad first touch made it so he couldn’t get a shot off. He wasn’t terrible in possession, completing 85 percent of his passes and earning two shot-creatin actions, but he wasn’t quite on point either.
Despite this face, his strong hold-up play was instrumental in the buildup to FCC’s second goal. He also added three progressive carries and won seven of his ten duels (four ground, three aerial). Finally, he drew four fouls for his team, showing that he was a nuisance to the NYCFC center backs and a good outlet for his team.
Sergio Santos (72nd minute) – 6
It’s always tough to come into a game when your team is up by three and in virtual cruise control. A sub in this situation has to find a way to raise the energy of the team, or just slip into second gear and see the match out with the rest of the squad. Santos chose the latter option. He only touched the ball four times despite being on the pitch for nearly 2o minutes. He did have a nice darting run in the 89th minute and looked dangerous, but he couldn’t get a clean shot away and instead settled for a corner for his side.
Marco Angulo (72nd minute) – 6.5
Like Santos, Angulo also appeared to struggle to up the tempo of the match. However, unlike Santos, he also found a way to make his mark on it, earning a shot-creating action while contributing two tackles and two interceptions defensively. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Angulo get the start against Atlanta United in the midweek.
Álvaro Barreal (73rd minute) – 6
Barreal got a deserved rest in this match. Once he finally came on for the last 15-plus minutes, he looked lively, contributing two shot-creating actions, two progressive actions and earning two key passes.
Ray Gaddis (73rd minute) – 6
Ray didn’t have anything to do in this match when he came on for Arias in the 73rd minute. He made no mistakes or contributions.
Gerardo Valenzuela (84th minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Dom Badji (quad), Obinna Nwobodo (yellow card accumulation), Yerson Mosquera (hamstring)
- 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).