Player Ratings

Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati 1, NYCFC 0

FC Cincinnati earned another clean sheet when they hosted NYCFC on the weekend. However, the story continues to be their offensive output … or lack thereof. Despite generating 10 shots, and putting six of them on target, the Orange and Blue managed just one goal making for a nervy end to the match. However, the narrow scoreline flatters the Pigeons a bit, as they only had one clear look at goal all evening. 

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 – 1.2, NYCFC – 0.5, per

Formation: 3-5-2

Now, onto the ratings:

Manager – Pat Noonan – 7

Even with a whole week to prepare for NYCFC, Pat Noonan’s side didn’t quite look prepared for their press. His outside center backs too often resorted to dumping the ball down the line, and his team looked bereft of ideas on how to get Lucho Acosta on the ball in space. However, they worked their way into the match, started to find more success through Pavel Bucha and Yuya Kubo, and eventually did enough to earn the one-goal advantage.

Now, we can’t know if Noonan changed his tactics or if the players just settled down, but either way, the play improved as the match went on. However, I once again thought that the coaching staff left it too late to make substitutions. Corey Baird looked gassed well before he was replaced in the 82nd minute. In fact, outside of the forced change of Nick Hagglund for the hobbling Kipp Keller, Noonan and Co. didn’t make a single substitution that got enough game time to warrant a grade in this column.

GK – Roman Celentano – 7.5

Roman Celentano was left virtually untested in this match. Three of his four saves were low-percentage shots that he dealt with easily. However, NYCFC did create one gilt-edged opportunity in the 48th minute when Santiago Rodriguez snuck in behind Matt Miazga for a header, and Celentano not only made the save but pushed the ball well out of danger. In the end, he faced a PSxG of 0.7 and didn’t give up a goal.

Roman continues to struggle playing with his feet. I’m not sure how many times I can write that in this column without feeling completely redundant. In this match, he completed just eight of his 20 long pass attempts. And, before you think most of those were goal kicks hit into 50/50 opportunities, 18 of those passes were from open play. Simply put, when Celentano has to play long he is not hitting the ball with enough accuracy to allow his forwards to win it very often.

RWB –  DeAndre Yedlin – 7

I’ve been quick to call Yedlin an “average” player in this column, and he was just that offensively in this match. Yedlin provided only two progressive actions and two progressive receptions. He was also only credited with a single shot-creating action. In the 57th minute, he had a great opportunity to whip a ball in after Lucho Acosta megged a defender and slipped him down the right, but he overhit his cross and didn’t give anyone in the box a chance to get on the end of it. Finally, he had three mistouches on the night.

However, the veteran defender earns a better than average grade in this match from me due to his defensive play. Yedlin was a constant menace on the right both pressuring the ball and tracking back to get stray touches. He ended the night with four tackles, winning them all, and was credited with two blocks. NYCFC had little joy in this match, and Yedlin was a big part of that.

RCB – Kipp Keller – 6.5

It might be tough to see Keller receive an average grade when he was part of a back line that earned a clean sheet. However, he simply wasn’t that involved. He did a decent enough job tracking Hannes Wolf and limiting his ability to receive the ball in transition, but he got into only one ground duel on the night and didn’t win it. He also had just one blocked shot and one interception.

Offensively, Keller was more influential. He had four progressive passes on the night and four passes into the final third. In the 35th minute, he pinged a long diagonal to Luca Orellano that directly led to Acosta earning a free kick from which Baird nearly scored. Then, of course, he had the ball in the back of the net in the 15th minute but didn’t earn the goal due to an Acosta offside in the build up.

CB – Matt Miazga – 8 (Man of the Match)

Matt Miazga had the one mistake mentioned above that nearly proved costly in the 48th minute. Outside of that, he was pretty fantastic. Defensively, Miazga was constantly communicating with his back line to track Santi Rodriguez playing in a “false 9” position. He also had a few key defensive moments, including a great tackle that he had to get perfect in the ninth minute, with the aforementioned Rodriguez bearing down on goal and another in the 54th on a dangerous ball into the channel. Miazga won all four of his aerial duels and was second on the team with eight ball recoveries.

Offensively, Miazga was the only defender to complete more than half of his long passes (six of 11). Finally, he played the line-splitting pass into Aaron Boupendza that led to Lucho Acosta’s game winner. Being at the center of a clean sheet performance is good enough to earn you man of the match in my book, especially when you also play a part in the game’s only goal.

LCB – Ian Murphy – 6

Ian Murphy did not have his best game in possession. He completed only two of nine long passes and turned the ball over on several occasions at inopportune times. In the 10th minute, he tried to force the ball centrally to Lucho Acosta and passed it directly to an NYCFC midfielder instead. In the 39th minute, he couldn’t receive an Orellano back pass and bundled it out of bounds. In the 54th minute, he inexplicably dribbled into pressure in the offensive third and collided with a defender, earning a bloody lip to show for it. In the 69th minute, he played a hospital pass to Pavel Bucha, creating a transition opportunity that forced Orellano into fouling and giving a free kick away in a dangerous position. Defensively, Murphy did enough to help keep NYCFC quiet. However, he was dribbled twice and only won two of six ground duels.

All of that said, Ian Murphy still did enough to warrant an average grade for me. He had a few key interventions in the box late on and read the game well throughout. Finally, he contributed four passes into the final third and five progressive actions (three passes, two carries). In a match where FCC struggled to move the ball at times, I’ll take some of the bad to have that much good.

LWB – Luca Orellano – 7.5

Luca Orellano continues to show flashes of offensive ability that could make him a real weapon. In this match, he tied Acosta with five shot-creating actions and led the team with three key passes. One of those was an incredible moment in the eighth minute, when he worked himself out of pressure, touched the ball up the line and played a beautiful curling pass in behind for Boupendza to run onto. He also played a nice ball into the box that led to a Corey Baird shot. He was also vital to moving the ball forward, earning four progressive passes and two progressive carries.

So with all of this offensive output, how can Orellano still not be in the man-of-the-match conversation? The youngster still shows his nativity too often on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Orellano has to learn that if he loses the ball in the defensive or middle thirds it can lead to some really dangerous transition opportunities. In the 28th minute, he tried to dribble up the line and ran straight into pressure. A minute later, he was caught from behind in possession. In the 62nd minute, he tried to bring a ball down instead of clearing it and had his pocket picked by Andres Jasson, then ran and clattered the winger on the touchline, giving away a needless free kick. All of these moments led to NYCFC chances.

DCM – Pavel Bucha – 7.5

Pavel Bucha is quickly becoming one of the unsung heroes for FC Cincinnati. He led all starters in this match by passing at a 90.7 percent rate. He also contributed four progressive passes and five passes into the final third. In the 11th minute, he used a drop of the shoulder to turn, dribble upfield and get off a shot, even though it was a tame effort. Defensively, he continues to show an excellent ability to be spatially aware and eliminate danger before it starts. In this match, he recorded four interceptions and seven ball recoveries.

However, Bucha has yet to show the ability to be an offensive threat as the box-to-box midfielder he’s been billed as. He didn’t have a shot-creating action in this match. Bucha also had four mistouches, a dispossession and won only one of four ground duels.

DCM – Yuya Kubo – 8

Yuya Kubo did a pretty good Obi Nwobodo impression in this match, leading the team with seven tackles and nine recoveries. He also added two blocks and two interceptions and was a general nuisance to the NYCFC midfield throughout the match, getting into 15 ground duels and winning eight.  Offensively, Kubo was right behind Bucha, completing 90.2 percent of his passes. He took up decent spaces in possession, tying for third on the team with four progressive receptions.

However, Kubo continues to show an inability to convert all of that good work into real success. In this match, he had only one progressive action (a carry) and no shot-creating actions. In the 68th minute, he ignored an overlap from DeAndre Yedlin, electing to shoot from distance instead and had his effort blocked out for a corner. If Kubo’s only upside is as a roving defensive midfielder, then I can’t see him continuing to start once Obi is fit. However, if he can prove that he can add value in the offensive third, there are a lot of roles on this team that he could fill.

CAM – Luciano Acosta – 8

Lucho Acosta is the easy choice for man of the match, which is why I didn’t pick him. He had an incredible 11 progressive actions on the night (six passes, five carries) and scored the game’s only goal with a sublime passage of play and a fantastic near-post finish. He also makes so many plays that don’t really end up on the score sheet, like in the 13th minute when he chased a Yedlin long pass into the channel and made something out of nothing to get off a shot, which was blocked. In the end, Lucho was also only dispossessed once and completed four of his seven dribble attempts.

However, he made it easy for me to deny his man-of-the-match claim by making some pretty bad decisions in this match.  He should have laid the ball off for Boupendza on the aforementioned 13th-minute chance. In the 41st minute, he lost the ball trying to dribble through the box when Kubo and Bucha were both open centrally for a potential shot. Finally, he had a woeful 56.5 percent passing rate and picked up a needless yellow for dissent.

ST – Corey Baird – 6.5

Corey Baird does a lot of dirty work for this team. In this match, he chased a bunch of lost causes and tracked back to make a lot of defensive plays that didn’t end up in the stat sheet. It was good to see him get on the stat sheet with an assist when he laid the ball off for Lucho Acosta perfectly, even if it was a relatively easy pass to make. He was credited with two shot-creating actions and two key passes to go along with his assist.

However, for better or for worse, strikers will always be judged on their offensive output, and even with the assist, Baird left a lot on the table. Corey had a decent chance to score in this match in the 36th minute when the ball fell to him in the box, but he couldn’t squeeze it through traffic and had his shot blocked. He only received two progressive passes on the night. Finally, he led the team with seven non-passing giveaways, being credited with four mistouches and three dispossessions.

ST – Aaron Boupendza – 6.5

Boupendza came under a lot of criticism after this match. I’ve heard words like “bust” and “lazy” thrown around. Plays like his missed breakaway in the eighth minute, when it looked like he could have scored easily if he was willing to use his right foot, make fans furious. He is also quite indecisive at times, like in the 41st minute when he picked the ball up off the press but didn’t drive it forward and allowed the defense to recover. He won only two of his seven ground duels, had only one shot-creating action, and was right behind Corey Baird with six non-passing giveaways.

However, I don’t think Boup is a bust, and I certainly don’t think he is lazy. He got into eight aerial duels (winning four) which tells me that he is going after the balls that are in his vicinity. One of those duels was a nice flick-on for Sergio Santos and should have given the Gabonese an assist to show for his efforts. He was also second on the team with five progressive receptions. Finally, he didn’t have many moments of quality, but one of them led to Lucho’s goal when he steered the ball expertly toward the captain after receiving a line-splitting pass from Matt Miazga. I’m not saying that I’m happy with Boupendza or that the mercurial DP has lived up to his billing. I’m just saying that he’s doing enough at the moment to keep running him out there while demanding that he gets better.


Nick Hagglund (73rd minute) – 7

It was really good to see the Cincinnati Kid get some minutes after a long spell on the sideline, even if it was at the expense of Kipp Keller hobbling off. Nicky Haggs didn’t look like he missed a beat, aggressively tracking runners into midfield and challenging for the ball. In the 82nd minute, he did well to track a run in behind and tackle the ball away before any danger could arise. A minute later, he had a nice sliding challenge to deny an entry pass into Santi Rodriguez. Hagglund also contributed with three passes into the final third and completed two of his three long balls.

Sergio Santos (82nd minute) – N/A

Malik Pinto (88th minute) – N/A

Dado Valenzuela (90th minute + 6) – N/A

Availability Notes: Alec Kann (hand), Obinna Nwobodo (contusion), Miles Robinson (international duty)


  • 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).
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