The Orange and Blue booked a spot in their first-ever Eastern Conference Final with a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. In a match where they were missing three nailed-on defensive starters, FCC still managed to earn a clean sheet while capitalizing on a controversial opportunity in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage-time to win the match. Despite having fewer shots and a lower xG than the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, Yerson Mosquera’s late strike was enough to leave the home crowd happy.
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 – 0.8, Philadelphia Union – 1, per mlssoccer.com
Now, onto the ratings:
Manager – Pat Noonan – 7.5
The gaffer made his grade this week in preparation. Without three defensive starters at his disposal, he prepared Ray Gaddis, Alvas Powell and Yuya Kubo to be ready to step in and contribute. His team dominated the first half, pressing the Union and shutting them down defensively, even though FCC couldn’t quite find the breakthrough.
To start the second half, however, it looked to me like Philadelphia moved their line of confrontation forward. Noonan had clearly sent his team out to push the wingbacks high and play a bit more direct, but the Union’s altered game plan made this more difficult. He was a bit slow to adjust, but his team eventually figured it out and stayed plugged in enough to get away with the 1-0 victory.
GK – Roman Celentano – 7.5
Roman Celentano did everything asked of him in this match. His four saves only amounted to 0.6 PSxG, so he didn’t have to come up huge. That said, his save off Nathan Harriel’s 86th-minute shot was easy enough, but he got great distance on the punch, sending the ball well out of harm’s way.
Celentano also didn’t give the ball away as he has in the past. He wasn’t asked to contribute as much in possession, but when he had the ball at his feet he found a teammate every time, going a perfect 25 for 25. A solid score for a solid outing.
RWB – Ray Gaddis – 8
Ray Gaddis had me the most worried of any player on the pitch. He has been incredibly efficient at times but has also struggled a bit this season keeping up with the pace of the match. He showed none of that against his former team on Saturday.
Incredibly, Ray led the team with seven progressive passes and chipped in with three passes into the final third. He also achieved top marks in tackles (four) and blocks (five), while not being dribbled at all. For me, his night was encapsulated by a play at the 28-minute mark, when he did really well to use his body to nudge Dániel Gazdag off the ball and win it back in a moment when the Union looked to have sustained possession in the final third.
RCB – Alvas Powell – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
Maybe I’m grading on a curve here, but I couldn’t find a player that impressed me more than Alvas Powell. Offensively, he showed some real ability to carry the ball forward and break lines. In the ninth minute, he broke pressure and was fouled, setting up a set-piece opportunity. In the 11th minute, he avoided a tackle on the right touchline, moving the ball out of pressure and eventually leading to Damion Lowe’s yellow card challenge on Lucho Acosta. His fantastic pass in the 26th minute found Aaron Boupendza in space, leading to a Brandon Vazquez chance that was blocked for a corner. In the 72nd minute, he singlehandedly broke pressure on the dribble before finding Barreal open on the left flank, only to see the Argentinian have his cross blocked.
He was awesome on the defensive side of the ball as well. He got a vital touch on a ball in behind for Mikael Uhre, allowing Celentano to come and collect an otherwise very dangerous ball. He also had a last-ditch tackle to send the ball out for a corner when it looked like Uhre had gotten behind him on the dribble in the 31st minute. In all, he led the team by winning nine of ten ground duels and also drew seven fouls. He also tied for the team lead with 10 ball recoveries. If I hadn’t watched FCC play all year, I’d have assumed Powel was the day-in and day-out starter based on his performance in this match.
CB – Yerson Mosquera – 6.5
Yerson Mosquera had a solid, if unspectacular, match filling in for the suspended Matt Miazga. Playing in the center of a back three, his stats weren’t flashy. He ended the night with two tackles, a block and an interception. He was asked to track Gazdag as he roamed into midfield all night, and was on point enough to limit the Hungarian’s influence.
Mosquera didn’t make any big mistakes, and he seemed to do a good job keeping the defense organized around him. However, he was only able to win one of three aerial duels and was dispossessed twice.
LCB – Ian Murphy – 6
Ian Murphy had some very nice moments in this match. His nice pass in the seventh minute sent Boupendza down the left channel, though Lowe was able to nudge the big Gabonese striker off the ball before he could get a shot away. Then, of course, his excellent cushioned header earned him the assist on Mosquera’s game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time. He was also solid defensively for the most part, ending the match with three blocks and an interception while not getting dribbled. On one play in the second half, he showed his speed by tracking Uhre all the way across the box in transition, then snuffed out the danger by making a great individual defensive play.
However, Murphy once again had some very nervy moments as well. Twice he was caught from behind and dispossessed. He was also credited with four mistouches, which led the team. Defensively, he managed to win seven of his 10 aerial duels but didn’t win a single ground duel. Hopefully, there was enough good in this match to give the youngster some confidence heading into a very tricky match against Columbus next week.
LWB – Álvaro Barreal – 6
Álvaro Barreal had a very quiet match by his standards. Amongst others, he had a really poor turnover in the 70th minute after Celentano rolled the ball out to him, keeping his team under sustained pressure when it looked like the counterattack might have been on. In all, he was credited with two mistouches.
Outside of his cross to Murphy that set up FCC’s goal, the young Argentinian also didn’t contribute much offensively either. He had zero key passes on the night. He got forward and pumped six crosses toward the box, but none of them found a target. Let’s hope that this was a rare off-night and not a sign of a long season wearing the youngster down.
DCM – Junior Moreno – 6
Junior Moreno was incredibly lively in this match, covering a ton of ground with his usual running mate, Obi Nwobodo, out due to injury. He ended the match with seven ball recoveries, two tackles, a block and an interception.
Because of that liveliness, I thought he got pulled out of position at times as well. Perhaps he was over-eager, or perhaps he was overcompensating without Obi in the match, but either way, it looked like Yuya Kubo didn’t quite know where to go when Moreno tracked into his space.
DCM – Yuya Kubo – 7.5
Kubo did a more than adequate job filling in for the injured Nwobodo in this match. Offensively, he kept the ball moving quickly and even drove the ball forward on the dribble at times. He led the team with four progressive carries and two shot-creatin actions. In one nice moment in the 15th minute, he did really well to skip by a Harriel challenge before finding Boupendza at the top of the box, whose return pass didn’t have the quality needed to create a shot.
He wasn’t quite as comprehensive defensively, but still managed to tie for the team lead in ball recoveries with 10 while contributing three blocks. However, he only managed to win one of three ground duels and failed to record a tackle or an interception.
CAM – Luciano Acosta – 6
The newly named 2023 MLS MVP might not have been as effective or influential as he typically is on Saturday, but he did enough to help his team win. Despite passing at only 66 percent and turning the ball over in transition with some pretty terrible passes, Lucho still led the team with five shot-creating actions. Despite only having one key pass on the night, he still led the team with 0.3 xA.
Where the captain really turned up the intensity for his team was on the defensive side of the ball, where he had two tackles and five ball recoveries. He also led the team with four fouls, which isn’t a bad thing for a player in his position. Overall, I’m happy that FCC won this game with their most important player not playing great. But, I’m worried that we haven’t seen Lucho play great in quite some time.
ST – Aaron Boupendza – 6.5
I have no idea what to make of Aaron Boupendza. He is clearly one of the most talented players on the pitch. He had a lovely flick off the touchline to send Acosta off and running in transition in the 60th minute. When he nicked the ball on the counter press in the 67th minute, he used some fancy footwork to draw a foul. Then, in the 81st minute, he used a lovely turn to play Vazquez down the right channel, though the American’s attempted cross was blocked.
However, Boupendza also leaves me clutching my head on so many occasions. He wasted a chance to play a give-and-go with Kubo after the Japanese international made a really good run, popping the ball up harmlessly into the path of Andre Blake. He had a woeful pass in transition in the 32nd minute, giving the ball away when Acosta was wide open on the right side of the defense. In the 34th minute, he showed quality by spinning out of pressure in transition and carrying forward but elected to hit a shot from 33 yards instead of finding a teammate. The shot was well-hit and forced Blake to put it out for a corner, but would have had to be really special to beat the Jamaican goalkeeper. Overall, when a striker contributes three shots on target, five shot-creating actions, and six progressive receptions, I suppose we’ll all just have to live with the rest.
ST – Brandon Vazquez – 6
Brandon Vazquez does a lot of dirty work that he doesn’t get much credit for from the fanbase when he isn’t scoring. He led the team with seven progressive receptions. He also managed to win four of five aerial duels. However, he also has really struggled of late to make a big impact in key moments.
Early in the match, Vazquez failed to make good contact with a bouncing ball in the box, allowing Blake to push it out for a corner kick. In the 27th minute, he elected to take an extra touch in the box, making his shot more difficult and allowing it to be blocked out for a corner when he might otherwise have scored. In all, he led the team with 0.4 xG despite not scoring and passed at only a 56 percent rate. Those are numbers I can live with when Acosta and Barreal are clicking, but leave me shaking my head when they aren’t.
Dominique Badji (88th minute) – N/A
Marco Angulo (90th minute +8) – N/A
Suspension: Matt Miazga; Injury: Obinna Nwobodo
- 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).