Player Ratings

Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati 2, Chicago Fire 1

FC Cincinnati headed to the frigid confines of Soldier Field on Saturday to take on the Chicago Fire. Though the Orange and Blue were not prolific offensively, they still managed to generate 14 shots and earn a well-deserved road win. Perhaps more impressively, they held a Chicago team that put two past the Philadelphia Union last week to zero shots on goal from open play.

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 – 1.7, Chicago Fire – 1.1, per

Formation: 3-5-2

Now, onto the ratings:

Manager – Pat Noonan – 7.5

Pat Noonan made a key change to his tactics in the team’s build-up play: Instead of parking Pavel Bucha centrally next to Obi Nwobodo, he had the Czech drift into the left half-space. This allowed FCC to get Bucha on the ball running forward on multiple occasions and create space in the middle of the park for Lucho Acosta to receive the ball on others. This tactic worked well, and FCC moved the ball into the middle third with relative ease all night, even if the attack often stalled there.

My big quibble with Noonan in this match is his substitutions… or lack thereof. With FCC playing two games per week in this early season, using only three of five available subs is questionable. What’s more, players like Dado Valenzuela and Malik Pinto need minutes in close games now so that they’re ready to contribute later. That is a drum I’m going to be banging all season unless Pat starts to give the kids some useful minutes.

GK – Roman Celentano – 7

Roman Celentano didn’t have to make a single save all night. The goal that he gave up was a penalty kick, taken by a player who hasn’t missed from the spot in five years. In other moments where he was called on, he didn’t quite look comfortable. In the sixth minute, he dwelt a little long on the ball in possession and had his pass out blocked by Chicago striker Hugo Cuypers. Luckily, the ball deflected straight up into the air and Roman was able to collect it with his hands. He also had a shaky punch on a corner kick in the 25th minute that barely crossed the line for another corner.

Outside of his near gaff in the early minutes of the game, Roman was good in possession. He uncharacteristically completed four of his five long passes.

RWB –  Alvas Powell – 5

I was skeptical when I saw Powell’s name in the starting lineup. He doesn’t look like he’s running smoothly, and after going the full 90 in the midweek match, I thought Bret Halsey’s younger legs might be better. Powell did nothing to make me reconsider this opinion. He completely fell asleep and lost his runner in the build-up to Obi giving away the penalty. He also lost three of his four ground duels.

Offensively, Powell wasn’t a ton better. His eight progressive receptions were good enough for second on the team, but he wasn’t able to do much with the ball. The Jamaican managed only two progressive actions and two passes into the final third. Of his two crosses, neither found a target. Finally, he attempted two dribbles and wasn’t successful with either.

RCB – Miles Robinson – 9.5 (Man of the Match)

Miles Robinson might have been man-of-the-match without scoring the game-winning goal, which he took expertly, cleanly guiding the ball home from a corner. The U.S. international led all defenders with five progressive passes. He completed all four of his long passes, not including a fantastic ball to Corey Baird running the central seam in the ninth minute, where the forward had strayed slightly offside. He also added five passes into the final third.

If Miles Robinson was good offensively, he was excellent on the defensive side of the ball. His incredible ability to defend in transition when his team is scrambling has been a major lift for the Orange and Blue. In the 55th minute, as the Fire transitioned up the far side of the field for Robinson, he tracked Cuypers, not allowing him to receive an entry pass, then scrambled to the opposite side of the field to stand up Maren Haile-Selassie defensively. In the 63rd minute, a poor Powell turnover in transition led to a defensive scramble. Miles had to move centrally to make a challenge on the ball, then had the quickness to read the play and get back out to the right to make a tackle and end the danger. He ended the match with three tackles, an interception and a block, and wasn’t dribbled despite being tried three times. If that’s not enough, he led the team with 10 ball recoveries and won four of his five ground duels.

CB – Matt Miazga – 8

Matt Miazga had a quiet night, which isn’t always a bad thing for a player in the center of a back three. He was responsible for keeping big-money singing Hugo Cuypers quiet and did so with aplomb. Against the big target forward, Miazga won four of his six aerial duels and only allowed the Belgian to receive three progressive passes.

In possession, Miazga impressively completed nine of 11 long balls and added two passes into the final third.

 LCB – Ian Murphy – 6

Ian Murphy’s “average” score comes entirely from the fact that he didn’t make any major mistakes. To the eye test, I didn’t think he was terrible, but his stats say otherwise. Murphy completed only one of his 10 long passes. He was able to contribute four progressive passes and two passes into the final third.

Defensively, Murhpy was dribbled once and won only one of his five ground duels. When the nicest thing I can say is “he didn’t screw up,” it’s always going to be tough to earn more than a “6.”

LWB – Yuya Kubo – 7.5

I’m not sure if Yuya Kubo is able to produce a final product. He shows so many flashes of offensive ability I constantly think he’s going to break out and be a real chance creator for FCC. However, he always comes up just short, like in the third minute when he beat his man up the line and dribbled forward in transition only to lose the ball trying to cut it back. Or, in the 17th minute, when he carried forward with speed after a corner, spotted Lucho wide open on the other side of the pitch, but then sliced his diagonal pass directly to the opposition goalkeeper. He had five progressive carries and completed three of his four dribble attempts but still earned only one shot-creating action. He also only tallied two progressive passes and two passes into the final third.

Defensively, Yuya plays wingback like he played defensive midfielder. He chases the ball a bit, like in the fifth minute when he lost Haile-Selassie after a throw leading to a dangerous shot that Powell was able to block before it found its way to the goal. However, he also displays great closing speed and range. The Japanese international led the team in tackles (five), tackles won (four), ground duels (12) and ground duels won (nine). Knowing he was playing out of position, the Fire picked on him, attempting to dribble him six times. However, he was able to stop all but one of them.

DCM – Pavel Bucha – 7.5

Pavel Bucha is quickly showing why he has impressed the coaching staff in his short time with the club. His numbers aren’t flashy, but he continues to hit dynamic passes and help to keep the ball moving in possession. He contributed seven progressive actions (four passes and three carries) and earned two shot-creating actions. Bucha’s shot in the 33rd minute forced goalkeeper Chris Brady into one of his better saves on the night. He was also able to draw three fouls. However, Bucha still needs to have a better sense of his surroundings in possession. He continues to get caught on the ball at inopportune times, seeming to lack urgency as defenders are closing on him. He was dispossessed twice in this match.

Bucha also has been a plus defensively. He ended the match with a tackle, a block, and two interceptions. He was also second on the team with eight ball recoveries.

DCM – Obinna Nwobodo – 7

Obi Nwobodo didn’t have a vintage performance but was still incredibly solid defensively. He tied for the team lead with 12 duels, winning seven. He also added five tackles, a block, and an interception. Atypically, he was just fourth on the team with five ball recoveries and was dribbled twice.

In this match, he picked up a bit more of the offensive burden than is typical. Though he didn’t manage a progressive carry, he did have two progressive passes. Impressively, he added five passes into the final third. However, he was dispossessed twice and was credited with a mistouch.

CAM – Luciano Acosta – 8

Lucho Acosta has yet to hit his best form this season but continues to be the team’s primary mode of attack. In this match, he had an incredible 12 progressive passes, six progressive carries and eight shot-creating actions, leading the team in all three categories. In the 67th minute, his fantastic long pass into the central seam to pick out Corey Baird led to a corner kick that the captain then delivered to assist the game-winning goal. His night could have been even better, but his clever 30th-minute chip that caught Brady a step off his line only managed to clip the post.

All that said, Lucho can still be better. He had a woeful six mistouches and was also dispossessed once. Of his seven dribble attempts, he completed only three. Finally, he is still failing to really connect with his teammates at times, like in the 76th minute, when he was able to lead a 6v5 transition but ignored Kubo open to his left, Boupendza open to his right, and Baird making a run in behind, instead electing to shoot, sending the ball well over the goal.

ST – Aaron Boupendza – 7.5

Aaron Boupendza’s goal might have been a gift from the Chicago defense trying to play out of pressure, but he still took his 21-yard strike brilliantly, nestling the ball into the side netting and giving Brady no chance to save it. He also wasn’t dispossessed on the night and completed both of his attempted dribbles. Finally, he led the team with nine progressive pass receptions.

However, Boupendza is still showing massive inconsistencies. Though he was able to connect with five shots, only two were on target. Notably, he wildly swung at a volley in the 22nd minute, sending the ball well into the upper deck. He also only completed 62.5 percent of his passes and was woefully credited with six mistouches.

ST – Corey Baird – 6.5

Corey Baird still hasn’t entirely found his feet with the Orange and Blue. In this match, he had the fewest touches of any outfield starter. At times, it looks like he is second-guessing his runs and hesitating, waiting for his teammates to make decisions before trying to react to them. That said, he still contributed six shot-creating actions and six progressive receptions in this match.

Corey’s best moment came in the 67th minute when he brought down a Lucho Acosta long ball and forced Brady into a save, doing enough to win the corner from which Miles Robinson netted the game-winner. However, though it was a difficult play, his first touch let him down a bit, narrowing his angle and allowing Brady to make a play on the initial shot.


Bret Halsey (64th minute) – 5

Bret Halsey came on in a like-for-like change for Alvas Powell to play right wingback. If he looked like he should be the team’s starter after his CONCACAF Champions Cup performances, Bret looked like a kid just trying to earn MLS minutes in this match. His first touch after entering the fray was poor, sending him dribbling back toward his own goal before turning the ball over with an ill-advised pass toward the center of the pitch. He attempted one dribble to no avail, was credited with a mistouch, and completed only 69.2 percent of his passes.

Defensively, Halsey also didn’t cover himself in glory. He didn’t make any major mistakes, but his only defensive action was a blocked pass. He failed to win any of his three ground duels.

Sergio Santos (80th minute) – 6

Sergio Santos entered the match for Aaron Boupendza with his team leading by a goal to help close things out. To that end, he was able to contribute a shot-creating action and win both of his aerial duels. Outside of that, however, he didn’t do much. In his short time on the pitch, he made two mistouches and failed to complete his only dribble attempt.

Gerardo Valenzuela (87th minute) – N/A

Availability Notes: Nick Hagglund (hamstring), Alec Kann (hand), Luca Orellano (family matter)


  • 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).
To Top