FC Cincinnati “sont allés sur la route” to the Stade Saputo to take on CF Montreal. On paper, the match looked to be a three-point stepping stone on the way to a Supporter’s Shield, but the hosts had other ideas. After a frustrating half that saw neither team create many chances, Montreal found the go-ahead goal in the 53rd minute through a Kwadwo Opoku long-distance strike. Then, just when it looked like FCC might slump to a road defeat, Álvaro Barreal launched a “je vous salue Marie” toward the penalty box that saw goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois bring down Dom Badji, creating the chance for Luciano Acosta to convert the game-tying goal from the penalty spot.
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 – 2.2, CF Montreal – 0.2, per mlssoccer.com
Now, onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 5
I don’t love to criticize coaches in general, so I want to preface all that I write here with the knowledge that my opinions have the benefit of hindsight. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t question Pat Noonan’s substitutions down the stretch. In a game where Montreal hadn’t created any dangerous looks but his team was trailing 1-0 anyway, Noonan elected to leave two defensive center midfielders and three center backs on the pitch for far too long. Furthermore, the “attacking” substitutes that he put on were Dom Badji, whose lack of game time meant that he was always going to be rusty, and Yuya Kubo, a player who has looked much better as a midfielder of late.
I can get past the fact that Noonan elected not to have his team press out of the gate on the road, even if they were favored to win. But, I can’t help but wonder if he would have taken off Junior Moreno for Yuya Kubo earlier, or taken off a center back to play a 4-3-3, if he couldn’t have sparked his team to a road win.
GK – Roman Celentano – 4.5
When you give up a goal from 26 yards out that only has a .2 PSxG, you’re going to be disappointed. When you do so in a match where you didn’t have a single other save to make, you’re devastated. Celentano reacted so incredibly late to Opoku’s strike in the 53rd minute, that I can only surmise that he wasn’t expecting a shot. That kind of mental lapse may have cost two points in this match, but it could cost a playoff run in the future.
He didn’t have any other key involvement in the match. He wasn’t particularly effective in possession, and the only time he came to intervene with a cross, he punched it high but not quite out of danger, and probably should have caught it. This was a very forgettable night for the youngster, but I’m sure he’ll learn a lot from it.
RWB – Santiago Arias – 6.5
Santiago Arias’ first touch was a cross blocked out for a throw-in, which summarizes his overall performance: a lot of getting forward and being around the play without much payoff. This culminated in the 41st minute when he had a wide-open opportunity six yards out from a corner kick that he headed wide of the goal. It was FCC’s clearest opportunity of the match, and had he scored, we’d probably have seen a very different second half. In the 64th minute, he elected to cut a pass back to Brandon Vazquez on a breakaway when Aaron Boupendza was open for a tap-in had he rolled the ball across the face of goal. In the end, he managed only 75.5 percent passing with only three progressive passes. Furthermore, none of his three shots managed to hit the target.
However, as I said, he was in some really good positions. Despite his obvious struggles he still ended with two key passes and two shot-creating actions. Defensively, he was outstanding. He had several plays in the first half where Montreal players tried to test him 1v1, but he shut them down. He had a key header at the back post to clear a dangerous cross in the seventh minute. Finally, he wasn’t dribbled at all and won all four of his ground duels.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 6.5
The Cincinnati Kid had a solid outing in this one. He won all three of his ground duels and five of his seven aerial duels. He wasn’t dribbled and ended the match with two tackles. Offensively, he was solid, if unspectacular. His five progressive passes were the most of any center back, and he added four passes into the final third. However, he only completed two of his seven long balls. In one of the few chances he did have to make a difference, in the aftermath of a free kick in the 27th minute, he headed a floated ball toward goal when the obvious play was to head it back across the box.
CB – Matt Miazga – 6
Matt Miazga’s match is going to be most defined by the yellow card that he took late on for running into the keeper. Even though the call was soft, he didn’t seem to make any effort to avoid the contact, and the number of times he was jawing with the ref didn’t set him up for any favors. Miazga was solid on the ball but didn’t help advance possession often. He completed four of eight long passes but only managed to play one pass into the final third.
Defensively, Miazga martialed his team well. Impressively, he won all five of his aerial duels. He also was credited with a tackle.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 7
Ian Murphy was FCC’s best center back on the night for my money. It helps that Montreal attacked his side 48 percent of the time, but he ended the match with an impressive two tackles, a block and four interceptions. While he committed four fouls, I thought all of them were in intelligent areas of the pitch. Murphy still needs to work on his strength, however, as he lost four of his six ground duels.
On the ball, Murphy was also solid, even though I would have liked him to take a few more risks. He has excellent passing ability but is often reluctant to use it. His 85 percent pass completion rate was solid, but he managed only three progressive passes. He did, however, lead his center back compatriots with seven passes into the final third. That mark was good enough to tie for second on the team.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 7.5 (Man of the Match)
I continue to have moments where I worry about Álvaro Barreal defensively. His position is lax at times and he often gets caught ball-watching. He lost Opoku on a 20th-minute ball over the top that sailed harmlessly out of bounds but had me clenching my cheeks nonetheless. This wasn’t a lone occurrence, as he spent much of the match defensively chasing attackers into the corner. Most of the time he was able to recover effectively, but on a few occasions, Montreal still earned a corner kick or deep throw-in. That said, Barreal has become quite a good 1v1 defender. Not only did he win six of his eight ground duels without committing a foul, he led the team with three tackles, wasn’t dribbled and added two interceptions.
Barreal also got into effective spots and sent in some dangerous crosses. However, none of them were particularly accurate, including in the 59th minute when he caused Boupendza to have to backtrack and head over the bar. In the 68th minute, Acosta put him through on goal, and when it looked like he could have squared the ball to Dom Badji at the back post for a tap-in, he hesitated, then cut the ball back for Yuya Kubo whose shot was saved. That said, he still dominated the team’s offensive statistical categories. He led the team with six shot-creating actions, tied for the lead with three key passes and eight passes into the final third, and was second with seven progressive passes. Finally, even though his ball in the 94th minute that led to Badji being fouled for a penalty kick was more hopeful than anything, he had the vision, ability and aggressiveness to hit it.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 7
Junior Moreno was incredibly effective as a metronome in this match, helping the team move the ball side to side and keep possession all match. Impressively, he was eight for eight with long passes and had five passes into the final third. The only issue that I had with Moreno’s offensive play was that he was ineffective in the offensive third himself. His two mistouches both occurred in this area of the field, and he missed the target with his only shot attempt.
Defensively, he was often well-positioned, but as usual, he looked a step slow to the ball at times. He ended with a tackle and two blocked passes and was dribbled once.
DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 7.5
It seemed to me like the loose turf was bothering Obi Nwobodo in this match. He only had two tackles and was dribbled twice. The fact that he only won two of his four ground duels isn’t overly troubling, but the fact that he only got into four ground duels shows he was off his usual pace.
Offensively, he was the opposite of Junior Moreno. In the defensive and middle thirds, he struggled to move the ball. He only managed four progressive actions (three passes and a carry) and had three mistouches. However, in the offensive third, he made good on his opportunities. He tied for the team lead with three key passes and also tallied three shot-creating actions.
CAM – Luciano Acosta – 6
I’m not sure if it was the long break (18 days because of his suspension), or the poor field conditions, but Lucho Acosta was not as effective as he is typically and also much less involved in the match. He had plenty of touches but didn’t have his typical statistical output. His two attempted take-ons tied for his season-low (averages 6.5 per 90 minutes) and he logged only one key pass. He also turned the ball over inexplicably with heavy touches while dribbling. In the 53rd minute, he let the ball get away while dribbling in easy possession, and that turnover allowed Montreal to score on the counter. His four shot-creating actions is not a bad number but is below what he averages.
However, the MVP is as the MVP does. Lucho Acosta still led the team in progressive actions (eight passes and five carries). And, of course, he buried the spot kick to help his team escape with a point.
ST – Aaron Boupendza – 5
Aaron Boupendza looked polished at times, dropping in and playing one-two passes with Lucho and others. He had moments of wonderful touches and decent passes. He did well to turn and play Vazquez in on goal in the 24th minute, though his subsequent run into the box was a bit too direct to be effective.
However, he continues to complicate things by trying to overplay. One example is when he tried to bring down a gorgeous crossfield diagonal from Barreal in the 18th minute by flicking it through his legs to a streaking Arias only to misplay it. It looked like he could have settled it and driven at the defenders with numbers up. Twice in the second half, he tried to one-touch a pass only to mis-hit it and send it in the wrong direction. He led the team by far with five mistouches and one dispossession. In his 65 minutes of play, he only managed one shot-creating action. He also attempted four take-ons but only completed one.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6
When a player is used as a target forward in possession, one of their primary jobs is to draw attention from the defense and help shift the point of attack. Brandon Vazquez was asked to check into midfield as a target a lot in this match. When I see plays like that of the 34th minute, where he dropped in, turned and played a gorgeous chip to Santiago Arias behind the defense (Arias strayed offside), I have great hope for this tactic. However, in this match, even though Vazquez didn’t lose the ball, his target play was too often far from helpful. For example, two consecutive passes in the 23rd minute sent into Vazquez’s feet near the top of the box did nothing to cause the Montreal defense any trouble or force them into making any decisions. Instead, one resulted in a one-touch pass back to the original passer, and the other, a one-touch pass to a player in a similar area. In the 24th minute, Boupendza released him in on goal and he smacked the return ball off a defender for a corner when there was no chance of fitting a pass through.
Vazquez didn’t fare much better than Boupendza in statistical categories. He had two shot-creating actions and one key pass, but managed only one progressive pass and only put one of his two shots on goal.
Dom Badji (66th minute) – 6
Badji was active and hard-working as always but often looked rusty on the ball. He screwed his shot badly wide in the 80th minute when Lucho played him into the box on his favored left foot. In fact, his shot was so poor it was recorded as a pass by the stat software. I suppose we can give him credit for the run and brave challenge that earned a penalty kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Yuya Kubo (67th minute) – 5.5
For the first 10 minutes he was on the pitch, Yuya Kubo looked comfortable. He was connecting passes and moving the ball effectively. He did just about all he could to stab home a Barreal cutback in the 68th minute, but his shot was saved by Sirois. However, the PSxG of .17 when the xG was .32 shows me that his shot was not as effective as it could have been. However, at about the 80-minute mark things went badly downhill. He turned the ball over in the 81st when he could have slipped Lucho through on goal. He turned the ball over off a throw-in moments later. He ended up being dispossessed four times, the most of any FCC player, despite playing only 24 minutes.
Brett Halsey (80th minute) – N/A
Sergio Santos (85th minute) – N/A
Availability Notes: Yerson Mosquera (red card suspension)
- 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).