Player Ratings

Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati 2, Philadelphia Union 2

FC Cincinnati stormed into the Keystone State with a chance to take another step toward the Supporter’s Shield but without talisman Lucho Acosta. That storm turned out to be a light misting, as the team fell flat in the first half and went into the locker room down 2-0. However, halftime substitute Aaron Boupendza announced that the floodgates could still open when he scored a tap-in in the 49th minute to cut the deficit to one. Then, Boupendza turned provider by curling a beautiful ball in behind the Philadelphia defense that was finished off by strike partner Brandon Vazquez to draw the game level. A Yerson Mosquera second yellow in the 83rd minute made things interesting down the stretch, but FCC held out for the 2-2 draw and a vital road point.

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 – 1.2, NYCFC – 1, per

Formation: 3-5-2

Now onto the ratings:

Manager – Pat Noonan – 10

If you told me FC Cincinnati would go on the road to Philadelphia without their MVP Lucho Acosta and get a draw, I’d have bitten your hand off for it. If you told me that they would do it after going behind 2-0, I’d have bitten off your whole arm. The players on the pitch deserve a lot of credit, but so does the gaffer.

Noonan elected to start Yuya Kubo in place of Acosta but didn’t play him as an orthodox #10. Instead, he allowed Kubo to play to his strengths, pushing forward as a forward at times while one of the true forwards checked back into the midfield. Then, with his team down 2-0 at the half, he not only made the right subs by bringing on Ian Murphy and Aaron Boupendza, but he also tweaked the team’s formation. When FCC went forward in the second half, they shifted to a back four and allowed one of the center backs to push forward as an outside back and the wing back on that side to drift to the middle. Finally, after his team was able to claw a goal back he brought on Dom Badji for Yuya Kubo, moving to a base 3-4-3 formation with all three forwards able to lead the line, drift wide or drop in and link up play.

This was a masterful coaching performance.

GK – Roman Celentano – 5

It’s odd to say about a game where he gave up two goals and made three saves, but Roman Celentano didn’t have a lot to do on the night. The only one of his three saves that wasn’t completely routine was a smart save in the 40th minute to deny Dániel Gazdag at the near post, but even that shot was probably going wide. Plus, even after that save, on the ensuing corner kick, he came to punch and got nowhere near the ball, forcing Junior Moreno to have to make a goal line clearance.

As for the goals, the Union’s first looked like a really good strike. Though I’m not sure Roman could have done much about it, the post-shot xG of only .29 makes it look as if he could have read it better so as not to have gotten beaten from that distance. Then, even though he was hung out to dry by his defenders letting Dániel Gazdag in on goal in the 35th minute, he charged the midfielder rather recklessly and brought him down when the ball never looked like it was going to sit for the Union player to get a decent shot off.

Not a disastrous appearance for the youngster, but not one where I could find a ton of positives either.

RWB –  Santiago Arias – 6

For a player with so much experience, Arias certainly forgets himself sometimes on the field. After chasing down Mikael Uhre in the 73rd minute and forcing him to turn backward, he chopped the forward down from behind giving the Union a dangerous free kick. They weren’t able to capitalize, but we saw a very similar play in the Inter Miami match that helped turn an FCC victory into a loss. He tied for the team lead with three fouls committed in all. Beyond his rushes of blood to the head, Arias also didn’t have a great passing night, completing only 74 percent. He was especially poor in the first half, having several turnovers with errant passes that should have been easily completed.

However, Arias still showed why he is and should be the starting FCC right back. Despite his less-than-stellar passing, he still managed four progressive passes and a shot-creating action. He was also a constant outlet, receiving five progressive passes himself. Finally, his ten ball recoveries tied Obi Nwobodo for the team lead.

RCB – Nick Hagglund – 6

Nick Hagglund was replaced at halftime, but I don’t think it was entirely for his performance. Instead, I believe that the manager wanted to change tactics, and Hagglund isn’t as comfortable on the ball or defending in a back four as either Yerson Mosquera or Murphy. I thought he put in a workman-like performance in his limited minutes. Not only did he pass at a 91 percent rate, but he had three progressive passes.

That said, I think that the Cincinnati Kid showed a bit of naivety by allowing Uhre to grab hold of him and make it look like he was the one fouling. His yellow card was a bit harsh, but it was also a play in which he got bated into making a rash challenge.

CB – Matt Miazga – 7.5

Matt Miazga had me worried when he was on a yellow with better than 70 minutes left to play, but he settled down and was a solid defensive presence throughout. The veteran finished the match with two tackles (both won), three blocks and an interception. He also won all three of his aerial duels and seven of nine ground duels.

Miazga wasn’t able to use his superb passing range to really open things up for his squad, but the few times he tried to spring Santos or Boupendza over the top, his passes were close enough to send the Union defense scrambling. He shares a slight bit of the blame for José Martinez’s opening goal since he closed down the ball in a straight line instead of making the shot predictable for Celentano, but that is really picking nits. All in all, it was a solid, if unspectacular, night for the captain.

 LCB – Yerson Mosquera – 5.5

I’m not sure if it was because he was making his first start in nearly a month due to injury, or if the Philadelphia Union just knew how to press his buttons, but Mosquera got out of his game quickly on the night and never really settled. It seemed like he was having words with the officials after every play. His first yellow was bone-headed and his second was worse. Even when he wasn’t drawing the ire of the officials, he wasn’t great. He ended the night with zero tackles or interceptions and only one block.

Mosquera’s one block, however, was a last-second tackle on Mikael Uhre that looked to be a sure-fire goal. He also added a nice presence in the final third after Noonan allowed him to push higher in the second half, providing a key pass and a shot-creating action.

LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 7

FCC didn’t look very dangerous in the first half, but the moments when they did generally started with Barreal on the ball. Without  Acosta on the pitch, he took it upon himself to be one of the players to replace the skipper’s production. His two dangerous crosses in first-half stoppage time helped his team go into the locker room feeling like they had a bit of momentum. He also tied for the team lead in both progressive passes (six) and shot-creating actions (four).

However, I also thought Barreal looked slower and tired at times throughout the match. This showed particularly on the defensive side of the ball where he won only two of five ground duels and committed two fouls. Though it wasn’t his best performance, he certainly did enough to be counted among the players that stepped up in this match.

DCM – Junior Moreno – 8

Without Lucho on the field, the question coming into the match was who would step up their ball-progression game. Moreno was one of the players who answered the call, tallying six progressive passes and a shot-creating action. He also was three of four on long passes and added three passes into the final third.

Though he is excellent positionally and does well to drop in and cover for wingbacks that get caught forward, Moreno continues to look a tad ponderous on the defensive side of the ball. He was able to tally a tackle and a block in this match but often looked like he was a step behind the play. He allowed Martinez to chest the ball past him far too easily on the left leading to a very dangerous cross that forced Yerson Mosquera into a goal-saving tackle.

DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 9 (Man of the Match)

With no Acosta, Obinna Nwobodo stepped up in a big way offensively. He led FCC with five passes into the final third. He also tied for the team lead in shot-creating actions (four) and progressive passes (six). His 93 percent passing was more than adequate, and he added three progressive carries as well. His one black mark offensively was when he failed to square the ball to  Vazquez after he dribbled through on goal in the 54th minute.

Most impressively, he did this all without dropping off a bit defensively.  He led the team with three tackles and tied for the lead with ten ball recoveries. Obi was a constant presence on both sides of the ball and well-deserving of the man of the match.

CAM – Yuya Kubo – 8

Yuya Kubo did so many good things in this match. His mobility and versatility were on display as he moved all around the pitch, getting involved in build-up play, driving the ball forward, and also creating in the offensive third. He ended the match with three shot-creating actions, five progressive passes, three progressive carries, two key passes and an assist.

However, I was surprised at how inept he looked defensively. He wasn’t nearly as effective as Acosta at initiating the press. He finished the match with no defensive statistics to speak of. And it was his failure to track back that left Martinez wide open for his opening goal.

ST – Sergio Santos – 6

I don’t think Santos’ performance was as disastrous as a halftime hook would suggest. In his 45 minutes of play, he was able to tally two shot-creating actions and receive five progressive passes.

However, it seemed like every time Santos was on the ball, his team was expecting a turnover. He ended the night with two mistouches and a dispossession … the kinds of numbers that many of the starters didn’t reach. It was one of his poor touches that started the Union’s transition opportunity that led to their opening goal. I’m starting to wonder if Santos shouldn’t give Richarlison a call to get the name of a good sports psychologist.

ST – Brandon Vazquez – 7

Brandon Vazquez had an up-and-down night. It was his lovely check and touch that allowed Kubo to run through on goal and set up Aaron Boupendza’s tap-in for FCC’s first goal. He also made an excellent cut and was able to find a goal himself, even if he did get a bit lucky with the finish. Finally, he led the team with 11 progressive receptions and added four progressive carries.

However, he still seemed to struggle mightily in some big moments. He only managed to complete 64 percent of his passes. He squandered a great transition opportunity when Boupendza’s flick header sent him through in the right channel in the 50th minute. He also ended the night with three mistouches and was dispossessed twice.


Aaron Boupendza (46th minute) – 9

If not for his limited playing time Aaron Boupendza would have been my man of the match. In only 45 minutes of play, he managed to tie for the team lead with four shot-creating actions. He also added four progressive passes and two progressive carries while completing 90 percentof his passes. Finally, while his goal might have been a tap-in, his assist was a pass that anyone in MLS would have been proud to make.

Ian Murphy (46th minute) – 7.5

Murphy entered the game at halftime with the task of being able to be sound enough defensively to allow others to push forward to get back into the game. Though he didn’t rack up many stats himself, I thought he did the job well. He showed flashes of good speed and was sound on the ball. I still think he got pulled out of position a couple of times, and I’d like to see him make a few more line-splitting passes, but overall, I still think he has a bright future for this team.

Dom Badji (71st minute) – 6

Dom Badji was on the pitch for just 12 minutes before his team was down to 10 men. In those minutes he didn’t manage to do much. He had only 10 touches in total, and his one shot was screwed badly wide.

However, Badji showed how valuable his veteran leadership can be in closing out a game by helping see out the draw after his side was down to 10  men. This was no more evident than in the 89th minute when he dribbled the ball out of the defensive third, bated a Union defender into trying to win it, then drew the foul burning valuable seconds off the clock while allowing his team to take a breather.

Alvas Powell (87th minute) – N/A

Ray Gaddis (90th minute) –  N/A

Availability Notes: Lucho Acosta (yellow card accumulation)


  • 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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