FC Cincinnati got off to a rocky start in their final regular season home match, finding themselves 1-0 down after 12 minutes and 2-1 down after 32. However, the home side was able to show some real fight in tying the game at 2-2 headed into the break. After halftime, it looked like the Orange and Blue would have a good opportunity to send the crowd home happy when Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada was sent off with a second yellow. But, alas, despite creating numerous opportunities down the stretch, FCC couldn’t find the back of the net, and the game ended in a draw.
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 – 2.1, Atlanta United – 1.6, per fbref.com
Now, onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 5
It may seem harsh to grade the manager down for a match in which his players made so many individual errors. However, it looked to me like FCC did not take the threat of Atlanta United’s talisman, Thiago Almada, seriously. Doing nothing to specifically account for the young Argentinian, he was given tons of space in the midfield throughout the match up until his sending-off and played a key part in nearly all of Atlanta United’s dangerous scoring chances.
Then, after Almada was given his marching orders, Noonan had the chance to go for the jugular and give his team some momentum heading into the playoffs. Instead, he played it safe, making like-for-like substitutions until the 90th minute. That said, I thought the gaffer’s decision to bring on Yuya Kubo at the half was a good one and I was happy to see so many players given useful minutes in the final match of the season.
GK – Roman Celentano – 7
From my point of view, Roman Celentano had a decisive match in goal. He came up huge in the eighth minute to keep the match scoreless when Xande Silva was allowed to shoot from 13 yards out after a Yerson Mosquera turnover. In the 17th minute, his excellent positioning and ability to close the angle on Saba Lobzhanidze allowed him to stand tall and block a shot from the Georgian winger at close range. In all, he made three saves on the evening.
Both of the goals that Celentano allowed were from close range on one-touch finishes, making them difficult balls to save. However, Giakoumakis’ first goal wasn’t struck with great accuracy, and had Celentano been able to shift across the goal a bit quicker, he would have had the chance to keep it out.
RWB – Alvas Powell – 7.5
Alvas Powell had a surprisingly good game offensively for the Orange and Blue. He showed some creativity with an overhead flick in the buildup to Dom Badji’s opener before providing the excellent cross that made the veteran’s job of finishing easy. It also seemed as if he could dribble inside of Caleb Wiley at will. He did so and laid the ball off for Lucho Acosta in the 33rd minute, though Acosta couldn’t squeeze the next pass through the defense for Badji. He also started the run-up to Lucho Acosta’s game-tying goal by driving inside and helping to switch the field for Barreal’s cross. In the 69th minute, he nearly set up the go-ahead goal when he once again got inside of Wiley and laid the ball off for Obi, who curled a shot just wide.
The Jamaican international also had a serviceable game defensively. He led the team with three tackles, while also contributing a block and an interception. He also won five of seven ground duels and didn’t commit a foul. He wasn’t perfect, however. It looked to me like he failed to communicate with Mosquera in the 32nd minute when Giakoumakis cut inside to meet Almada’s cross and score his second of the night. Finally, he was dribbled past twice.
RCB – Yerson Mosquera – 4.5
Yerson Mosquera only won two of his six ground duels and three of his five aerial duels on the night. If that doesn’t tell the story of his defensive performance, the specifics do. At the seven-minute mark, he turned the ball over trying to dribble forward, leading to the first of Roman’s fantastic saves from Silva’s point-blank shot. Minutes later, he completely lost track of Thiago Almada, allowing the Argentinian playmaker to receive the ball in acres of space between the lines, leading to the Atlanta United opener (see image below). In the 15th minute, he was asked to defend Silva 1v1 in transition and allowed the winger to come inside on his right foot all too easily, leading to a Lobzhanidze shot that sailed just wide. Then, for Giakoumakis’ second goal of the match, Mosquera was certainly closest to being able to defend the center forward and also turned his head to see where the big man was just before the cross. We can’t know if the breakdown was Mosquera not picking up the run or Powell not giving him a shout, but either way, Mosquera stood still while the goal was scored. Finally, he was dribbled past twice in the match.
CB – Matt Miazga – 6
Matt Miazga had a decent performance in this match but was certainly far from his best. He won a *yawn* respectable three of five ground and one of two aerial duels, while also recording *yawn again* a tackle, a block and two interceptions. The one real black mark on his defensive performance was on the cross that led to Giakoumakis’ second goal of the night, where it looked like he pulled up short when he might have been able to intervene.
Offensively, Miazga was pretty good and was especially useful in keeping the ball moving quickly once his team had a man advantage. He ended up going five of seven long on long balls while recording five progressive passes. He was, however, spared major blushes when his really poor turnover to start the second half could have ended with an Atlanta third but for Ian Murphy blocking the shot of Giakoumakis.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 8
It looked to me like Ian Murphy spent a lot of time in this match trying to get defenders to listen to him, to no avail. In the eighth minute, had Miazga stepped to cut off the pass to Silva and allowed Murphy to cover Giakoumakis, the former may not have gotten a shot at such close range. Then, in the 17th minute, with Barreal marking a central midfielder, Murphy clearly wanted him to cover Saba out wide, but again he was ignored, leading to Saba having a shot from close range.
As is his custom, however, he didn’t stuff the defensive stat book. He tallied one tackle, interception and block apiece while only getting into three ground duels (winning just one). Offensively, Murphy was able to lead the center backs with seven progressive actions. He also finished tied for second on the team, behind only Lucho Acosta, with three passes into the final third. However, in what could have been his decisive offensive moment, he failed to make good contact on a free header in the aftermath of a corner in the 89th minute, sending it well out of bounds.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 8 (Man of the Match)
As has been his custom, Álvaro Barreal was a constant nuisance for the opponent’s defense. And it is for his offense alone that he earns my man-of-the-match honors. In the 19th minute, he danced by Ronald Hernández on the outside and whipped a good ball in for Dom Badji, who couldn’t finish. Then, at the close of the first half, he got the better of Saba by faking a left-footed cross, cutting to his right and floating the ball in toward Acosta for his game-tying goal. However, he also had an excellent opportunity to win the match for his team when Lucho Acosta played him in on goal in the 71st minute, but he blazed his shot over the bar. In all, he ended with three shots and an excellent xA of 0.6. Impressively, he also led the team with 10 shot-creating actions and 13 progressive receptions, and tied for the lead with 10 progressive passses.
Had Barreal come close to equaling his offensive influence on the defensive end, I’m confident that FCC would have won this match. Quite frankly, he had a bad day at the office on the defensive side of the ball. He was woefully slow tracking back defensively in the 15th minute, allowing Saba to get a shot away in transition. Minutes later, in the 17th minute, he got dragged inside and out of position, allowing Saba the space to get another shot off from close range. In the 30th minute, he fell asleep defensively and let the Georgian winger beat him with a simple back cut, leading to a Giakoumakis opportunity on the cutback cross. Finally, he got twisted in knots in the 32nd minute by Saba, causing Moreno to have to drop in defensively to help and leave Almada open to serve in the ball that created Atlanta United’s second goal of the evening.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 5
Junior Moreno was extremely ineffective in this match and was hooked at halftime. He set the tone for his performance early on when he squandered a chance to break after Brandon Vazquez nicked the ball, but Moreno missed Acosta with a simple pass. He ended his time in the game with only one progressive pass on just 21 touches. Defensively, he also seemed a step off the pace. It looked to me like he was often lagging behind the play when it came to his defensive angles. He wasn’t credited with being dribbled at all, but only because he was rarely close enough to the dribbling attacker to be considered as the defending player.
DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 6
The midfield in this match seemed to be a huge problem defensively and Obi was part of the problem. Perhaps because of his running mate being out of position, or perhaps being reluctant to pick up an unnecessary card in a somewhat meaningless game, Obi was a horrific one of eight on ground duels and was dribbled past twice. However, I still can’t grade him below average because he was a constant menace in forcing Atlanta United players to alter their runs. He led the team with three interceptions and grabbed five ball recoveries.
Offensively, Obi was solid, though I think some of that was due to his team being up a man for much of the second half. He ended with a respectable eight progressive passes and three progressive carries, as well as contributing five passes into the final third.
CAM – Luciano Acosta – 7
Lucho Acosta had a very sloppy match in my estimation. He stumbled over the ball in wide open space in the 15th minute, turning it over and leading to an Atlanta United break. He also gave the ball away carelessly several times in the later stages of the match when his team was pushing for a winning goal. In all, his four mistouches and four dispossessions were far too many for playing up a man for 40-plus minutes. Nobody on the team was credited with more than three total giveaways.
But, hey, when things aren’t working the way they usually do, you have to improvise, and Lucho did just that. His flick-header goal was the perfect touch to end his regular season MVP campaign. He also had several deft touches to play the ball through to Brandon Vazquez and Badji when it looked like he might receive the ball facing his own net. Finally, he should have added an assist when he played Barreal in on goal in the 71st minute, but the youngster missed the frame on a golden opportunity.
ST – Dom Badji – 6
Dom Badji had a workman-like performance in this match. He got into decent positions throughout, and despite only playing 70 minutes, he led the team with 1.1 xG. However, he didn’t make many of those opportunities count. He really should have done better with Barreal’s excellent cross in the 19th minute, but directed his shot well over the frame. In the 62nd minute, he had a free header off an Acosta cross that he hit right at Brad Guzan when anywhere else would have put the home side up 3-2. In the 64th minute, Murphy found him with a line-splitting pass that should have led to an easy shot on goal for Vazquez if Badji could have had a better touch to play the front man in.
Luckily, Badji was able to capitalize on one opportunity when he got on the end of a brilliant Alvas Powell cross in the 25th minute to tie the score at 1-1.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6
Vazquez continued his worrying trend of looking off the pace for much of this match. His first three offensive touches were turnovers, and it really didn’t get better from there until the second half. He attempted three take-ons and didn’t complete any of them. He was credited with a mistouch and two dispossessions. His duel percentage was dreadful, as he won only two of ten duels (1 of 5 ground, 1 of 5 aerial). Finally, his only shot of the match was a desperation header on a cross that was well behind him.
The question remains, however, is this because he has fallen back to earth after a fantastic 2022 campaign? Or, are his teammates just not finding him enough as he plays with different strike partners each and every match? I’m choosing to believe the latter. Of Vazquez’s 24 touches, only eight were in the attacking third. I noticed a few times when he made nice runs only to see a teammate overcook a cross meant for him.
Yuya Kubo (46th minute) – 7
When Kubo entered at halftime for a struggling Moreno, I was excited to see what the Japanese international could bring to the match, and he did not disappoint. To the eye test, he looked to be everywhere, constantly involved in and out of possession. He contributed four progressive passes and a progressive carry, as well as two shot-creating actions and five passes into the final third. In the 71st minute, it was Kubo who excellently picked off a pass in transition, leading to Barreal’s shot from 10 yards that he blazed over the bar.
Kubo also brought a good defensive presence to this match, though it’s tough to get a good read on it since his team played 11v10 for most of his time on the pitch. FBRef no longer keeps pressing stats, but Kubo was much quicker to the ball defensively than Moreno had been. He tied for second on the team with five ball recoveries despite his limited playing time.
Bret Halsey (71st minute) – 7
Bret Halsey plays the game at 100 miles per hour and I kind of love it. In only 20 minutes of action, he contributed three shot-creating actions and four crosses, though only one found a target. That one was a clipped ball into the box that Sergio Santos really should have finished.
Defensively he had little to do with Atlanta holding on for dear life to draw the match.
Sergio Santos (71st minute) – 2.5
Sergio Santos’ matches continue to read as a list of missed chances. In the 92nd minute, he was gifted with a golden opportunity when Atlanta United failed to clear a Bret Halsey cross, but he couldn’t settle the ball with his first touch. He was able to keep the ball and could have still created a dangerous moment, but instead tried to dribble through three United defenders and lost the ball. Then, in the dying moments of the game, he missed a header from point-blank range that really should have won the match for the home side. His 0.3 xG was second on the team, but he failed to find even a shot on target. To add insult to injury, he only completed five of nine pass attempts and was credited with two mistouches. I don’t know how you bring him on in any playoff match when you need to find a goal.
Malik Pinto (90th minute) – N/A
Nick Hgglund (90th minute + 7) – N/A
Availability Notes: Santiago Arias (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).