FC Cincinnati ended a run of nervy performances on Saturday with a 3-0 romp of Charlotte FC. In a first half that saw the home side squander a plethora of half-chances, it looked as if the squads would head to the locker room all knotted up. However, Álvaro Barreal had other ideas when he stepped up to take a direct free kick and curled in a banger just before halftime. After the break, Aaron Boupendza cooly finished off a move after Lucho Acosta put the ball on a platter for him. Then, it was the captain himself who dribbled through four Charlotte defenders before capping off a magnificent run with a near-post goal to put the home side clear at 3-0.
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 – 3, Charlotte FC – 0.5, per mlssoccer.com
Now, onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 9
I pretty much agree with every decision that the gaffer made in this match. First, he set his team up to defend with a high line but didn’t send them with an all-out press, daring Charlotte to try to build through the thirds. This pressure resulted in numerous opportunities throughout the first half. He also capitalized on the Crown’s penchant for overcommitting numbers in tight areas of the field defensively by continuing to have his team build out of the back through goalkicks, even when it wasn’t working perfectly. Finally, I thought Noonan’s substitutions were excellent. I might have made them a bit earlier, but bringing off Vazquez while leaving on Boupendza gave Brandon some much-needed extra rest while continuing to build Aaron’s fitness levels and chemistry with Acosta. Then, taking Acosta off late not only saved him from being on the wrong end of a frustration tackle but gave the FCC faithful a chance to serenade their MVP as he exited the pitch. A classy match from a classy manager.
GK – Roman Celentano – 7
It may be surprising to see Roman Celentano graded as just above average in a match where he got a clean sheet, but the youngster simply didn’t have much to do in this match. In fact, he wasn’t called on to make a single save. His one nice stop on a Karol Swiderski deflection in the 65th minute didn’t count since Swiderski was in an offside position. Still, you’d rather not be picking the ball out of your own net and thanking the powers that be for an offside, so the save would have given the team some confidence. He also came out to intervene in a few aerial challenges in the first half. In the third minute, in the aftermath of a corner kick, Jaylin Lindsey headed the ball back into the mixer but Celentano fought through traffic to punch it away. He was also able to punch another corner clear in the 14th minute.
Celentano continues to struggle at times with back passes. He put himself under some unnecessary pressure at times by playing poor balls out of the back. In the 13th minute, he pinged a ball straight at the chest of Brandt Bronico in midfield, continuing a period of pressure for Charlotte. In the 63rd minute, he skied a bouncing backpass to Derrick Jones, who could’ve put FCC under pressure but for his mishit pass. Something to work on for the second-year player.
RWB – Santiago Arias – 7
Santiago Arias has been ever-present in attack for this team on the right side. In this match, he had three shot-creating actions and seven progressive actions to go along with his three shots. In the fifth minute, he did well to direct a Nick Hagglund header back across the frame of the goal, but Boupendza couldn’t quite get above it to direct his header on goal. He finished the match with an impressive 0.4 xA. He was also fantastic defensively, leading the team with five tackles while logging a block and an interception, though he was dribbled once.
All of that being said, I’m going to continue to be hard on the Columbian. He has far too much talent to be so ineffectual at times on the ball. He had the ball nicked off him in the 24th minute, slowing a promising transition opportunity with Boupendza lurking in the box. He also probably should have done better when Acosta found him with a backheel at the top of the box and his shot was hit tamely at Charlotte’s goalkeeper, Kristijan Kahlina. In the 59th minute, he blasted an early cross in transition straight into the hands of Khalina when he had both Boupendza and Vazquez in dangerous positions. In the 59th minute, after starting a break, he picked up a slotted pass into the box from Acosta and blasted his cross well past the back post and harmlessly out for a corner. Finally, in the 77th minute, he missed a wide-open header off a corner kick, similar to the one he squandered at the midweek against Montreal.
RCB – Nick Hagglund – 7.5
I thought the Cincinnati Kid had quite an effective game in possession. He seemed to have a fair few opportunities to be involved by carrying the ball forward or linking passes in the attacking third. He had a gorgeous line-splitting pass in the 61st minute to Acosta, who touched the ball through for Vazquez, creating a good opportunity. In all, he was credited with two shot-creating actions and tied for the team lead with four passes into the attacking third.
Defensively, Nick Hagglund was also incredibly solid, even if he didn’t have a ton of stats to show for it. Charlotte had several crosses from the FCC left that could have been dangerous if not for his perfect positioning, marking touch-tight and goal side of the weak-side Charlotte attackers. He finished with a tackle and two blocks.
CB – Yerson Mosquera – 8
Yerson Mosquera was FCC’s lowest-rated center back according to FotMob. This is precisely why I have him rated so highly here. My complaint with “Ourson” playing in the center of the back three is his typical aggression that is more suited to an outside center back. However, he was incredibly disciplined in this match. He tracked Copetti when necessary, but passed him to Hagglund or Ian Murphy whenever possible. This meant that he ended the match with only one tackle and one interception … numbers that will not get you a high FotMob rating. He also was well-positioned enough to block two shots.
Mosquera was also incredibly effective, if unspectacular, in possession. As a central defender, it would be rare that you are credited with a shot-creating action or a key pass. Still, Mosquera completed seven of eight long passes and had three passes into the final third. This was the kind of performance from Mosquera that makes me think that FC Cincinnati can survive if they lose Matt Miazga for a game in the playoffs.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 8
Quietly, I think this may have been Murphy’s best game for the Orange and Blue. His 90 percent passing was effective, even though he didn’t split lines like I know he is capable of doing. However, I’ve come to expect Murphy to be good on the ball, and it was his defensive play that stood out to me in this match.
In a match where Charlotte attacked down his side 41 percent of the time and in which Barreal was a key player going forward, Murphy was put in a lot of 1v1 defending situations and came out on top. He won all four of his ground duels and was credited with four tackles. It looked to me like his positioning was excellent and his timing of when to release to defend out wide and when to stay central in transition was impeccable.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 8.5
Álvaro Barreal’s free kick to put the home side ahead in first-half stoppage time was so good that even the Charlotte goalkeeper figured something he did must have been illegal. It was a badly needed goal for his team, and that strike alone warrants a high grade. However, Barreal was also pretty fantastic outside of that moment. Incredibly, he led the team in touches with 66. He was a key contributor on the ball all evening, including three shot-creating actions and nine progressive actions. My only real offensive complaint about the young Argentinian is that he was unable to hit the target with his three shots from open play.
Barreal wasn’t asked to do a lot defensively, as Murphy was tasked with putting out the fires in-behind the wide man. He was dribbled once late on, just before coming off the field with a cramp, but prior to that, he didn’t make any notable mistakes.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 7
I thought Junior Moreno did a really good job of tracking runners in this match. It was noticeable how often he ended up following runners into the corners. However, since they generally didn’t get the ball due to his good positioning, this doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. What does is Moreno’s lack of involvement in this match in possession. He ended the match with only 29 touches, the fewest of any FCC starter. He also only managed two progressive passes.
What Moreno continues to prove is that a veteran midfielder who is excellent positionally and good at moving the ball side to side is a valuable asset. However, what he continues to prove to me is that I desperately want to see Yuya Kubo get the chance to start alongside Obi in matches where FCC is expected to win.
DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 8
Obinna Nwobodo has stepped up his offensive game recently. If he can continue to play like this down the stretch, it bodes well for FC Cincinnati. In this match, he was credited with four shot-creating actions. In one, he did really well to turn a defender and carry to the corner before firing a laser across the turf to Brandon Vazquez, whose touch let him down at the top of the box. He also had four progressive passes and a progressive carry.
Defensively, he was a little erratic but still effective. He overran a few balls and was dribbled twice. That said, he was still credited with four tackles, two blocks and three interceptions. In all, if not for Lucho’s outstanding performance I may have been tempted to give the Nigerian my nod for Man-of-the-Match.
CAM – Luciano Acosta – 9.5 (Man of the Match)
I couldn’t give Lucho Acosta a perfect score, even though I was tempted to. The captain didn’t have a flawless performance and was especially wasteful in the first half. Several times, he had players running open in transition only to have his pass picked off. In the 34th minute, Nick Hagglund found him wide open at the top of the box, and instead of hitting the shot first time he elected to cut it to his left foot, resulting in a blocked shot. In the 42nd minute, Boupendza did well to find him in the left half-space, but after popping up his first touch, he was unable to find the striker for the return pass.
All of that said, Acosta’s moments of magic were glittery in this match. He had a jaw-dropping 15 shot-creating actions. He was so good that he was credited with six goal-creating actions despite FCC only scoring three goals. There were so many little tricks and flicks that came to nothing but still caused the Charlotte defenders to always be second-guessing their ability to tackle Acosta. And, a few of them resulted in goals, as Acosta played a vital part in all three FCC strikes. In the 45th minute, he rolled the ball cooly through Adilson Malanda’s legs before drawing the foul that resulted in Barreal’s free-kick golazo. In the 50th minute, he didn’t give up on a hopeful ball down the line by Barreal and was able to pick the pocket of defender Andrew Privett before cutting him in the box and laying the ball back for Boupendza to double the lead. Finally, in the goal that had many an FCC supporter swooning, Acosta picked the ball up in his own half, beat multiple Charlotte defenders, and finished easily into the top corner to cap off an incredible MVP-caliber performance.
ST – Aaron Boupendza – 6.5
As Aaron Boupendza continues to settle in with this team, he persists with uneven performances. He showed his ability to link up play and spring transition opportunities on several occasions in this match. There was the 42nd-minute chance mentioned above, where he turned and dribbled forward before hitting an accurate outside-of-the-foot pass to Acosta. In the 44th minute, after defending a corner kick, he ended up picking up the ball on the right touchline and pinging a gorgeous diagonal onto the foot of Barreal, whose shot was blocked. Finally, his 50th-minute finish may have looked easy after Acosta created the opening, but he had to pick out the top corner of the goal to avoid having another shot blocked off the line by a defender.
Still, he has a lot of moments that leave me clutching my head. He probably should have done better in the 34th minute when he got on the end of a Vazquez touch on the box, and beat the keeper with his shot only to see it blocked by a recovering defender. Several times he gave the ball away cheaply with open players around him to receive passes. In all, he was credited with three mistouches and a dispossession while only completing 72 percent of his passes.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6
Brandon Vazquez was not able to get on the scoresheet in this match despite having ample opportunity. An errant touch on an Arias cross at the top of the box set Barreal up to blast a shot over the bar, when Vazquez looked set to turn and unleash a left-footed shot from in closer. Moments later, in the 21st minute, he couldn’t get any lift on a shot from the left side of the box when Acosta played him through, giving the goalkeeper an easy kick save. He overhit a crossfield pass in transition in the 36th minute when he and Boupendza were on a 2v1 break. In the 61st minute, a wonderful line-splitting pass from Hagglund was touched through to him by Acosta, but he couldn’t sort his feet out and had his shot blocked. Then, perhaps his worst miss of the night was in the 68th minute when Acosta sent him through on goal and his first touch took him a bit too wide before he blasted his shot well over the bar.
However, Vazquez continues to show a good ability to drop between the lines and link up play. He had a few promising moments in transition and finished with an impressive four progressive carries while completing four successful dribbles. He also finished second on the team with eight progressive receptions.
Dom Badji (74th minute) – 5
Shortly after entering, Badji looked like he was going to be a solid contributor to the closing stages of this match. He did well to earn a corner kick by chasing a Nick Hagglund pass in behind the back line, holding the ball up, then getting free in the box for an Arias cutback. However, things went downhill from there. He should have done better with his shot that was easily saved after Yuya Kubo found him in transition on the right side of the box in the 87th minute. He elected to shoot from a poor angle when Boupendza was wide open at the back post and didn’t hit his shot particularly well. Then, in the 89th minute, he picked up the ball on the edge of his defensive third, dribbled backward into the box, and eventually blasted the ball out for a throw-in under pressure of his own making.
It’s tough to tell whether or not Badji will be able to get enough minutes to shake the rust off and contribute to the team down the stretch.
Yuya Kubo (74th minute) – 6
Yuya Kubo entered for Moreno to play at the base of the FCC midfield, before being shifted to the #10 position later on. He was active defensively, getting into five ground duels in his short time on the pitch. However, he won only one of them, and was dribbled twice.
The only thing saving Kubo’s grade from being sub-par was his 87th-minute run that resulted in one of his two shot-creating actions. He picked the ball up at the edge of his own defensive third, pivoted and dribbled past the pressing defenders, then found Dom Badji with a fantastic diagonal through pass into the right channel. It was the kind of play that has me dreaming of what he could do as a full-time #8 next to Obi Nwobodo.
Alvas Powell (84th minute) – N/A
Marco Angulo (84th 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).