Player Ratings

Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

FC Cincinnati did what no team has done since… the last time FC Cincinnati did it: they beat Atlanta United in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Even though FCC tweaked its tactics and looked much more dangerous offensively, they couldn’t find a breakthrough for much of the match. Things looked grim after the Orange and Blue gave Thiago Almada a sliver of space in the offensive third, and he made them pay, putting the home side ahead in the 59th minute. However, FCC came back with two quickfire goals from Luca Orellano and Lucho Acosta, stealing all three points on the road.

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 – 2, Atlanta United – 1.9, per

Formation: 3-5-2

Now, onto the ratings:

Manager – Pat Noonan – 9

I talked a ton about the tactical tweaks that Pat Noonan employed in this match on this week’s Talking Tactics pod. He not only adjusted the way his team pressed, leaving Obinna Nwobodo sitting in front of the back three with Pavel Bucha pushed higher next to Lucho Acosta, but he also adjusted the way his team got Lucho the ball in key areas. Furthermore, he made the bold call to leave DP striker Aaron Boupendza out of his starting XI on the night.

Noonan’s in-game management was also commendable. Immediately after his team took the lead, he swapped the tiring Lucho Acosta for the ever-energetic Yuya Kubo, leaving the former to hang around up top while the latter provided a bit more steel in the middle of the park. My one quibble with the gaffer is his lack of substitutions. After the forced change in the first half, he brought on Boupendza in the 76th minute and then didn’t make another change until the dying moments of the match. It’s hard to argue with a win, but I would have gotten at least one of those players into the match in the Boupendza window, giving them a bit more time to make an impact.

GK – Alec Kann – 8

Alec Kann ended in the net-positive, giving up only one goal on a PSxG of 1.6. In that, he made two excellent saves. First, he denied Saba Lobzhanidze at the doorstep in the 11th minute, stopping what should have been a certain goal. Then, he got off his line excellently in the 40th minute to snuff out a chance at the feet of Thiago Almada, though he did spill the rebound when he probably should have held onto the ball.

Kann had a couple of other decent moments as well. He made a save down to his right in the 53rd minute that was easy enough, and he was quick to gobble up the rebound as well. Then he had to be alert in the 93rd minute to swipe away a mishit cross that might have been headed for the far corner. Kann wasn’t a value-add in possession, but he wasn’t terrible, either. He completed six of his 14 long passes.

RWB –  DeAndre Yedlin – 8.5 (Man of the Match – non-Lucho category)

Lucho was undoubtedly the man of the match (see below). However, I simply couldn’t let Yedlin’s outstanding performance go unnoticed, so I made up an award for him. DeAndre was so good offensively in this match, leading the team with six shot-creating actions and an xAG of 1.2. He ended the match with four key passes and seven passes into the penalty area. These numbers included moments that could have, and possibly should have, led to assists for the veteran defender, like in the first, ninth and 55th minutes when he found Corey Baird in the box, but the striker couldn’t finish. However, he wasn’t to be denied that assist as he found Lucho with this incredible early cross to create the game-winner:

Yedlin wasn’t just an offensive force in this match, either. He played well defensively throughout, logging a tackle, an interception and two blocks. He also wasn’t dribbled on the night and made several key plays with his recovery speed. The only reason to ding him here is that he let Edwin Mosquera get onto his right foot in the build-up to Almada’s goal, and won only two of his eight ground duels.

RCB – Nick Hagglund – 5

This is a tough grade for the Cincinnati Kid, as he played only 43 minutes and might have had the chance to earn some plaudits had he played more. However, in those minutes, he looked well off the pace of the match at times, getting beat for speed by Mosquera down the right on several occasions. He finished the night without winning either of his two ground duels and committing two fouls, including the one where he got hurt and that led to a dangerous chance for the Five Stripes.

It wasn’t all bad for Hagglund, however. He logged two interceptions in his limited minutes. He also had four passes into the final third. Then, and perhaps most importantly, we got good news on his injury, as it looks like it isn’t going to cause him a protracted absence.

CB – Matt Miazga – 6.5

Grading players in the center of a back three is difficult because if they do their job well, they often don’t have many stats to show for it. Simply put, the central defender’s job is to organize his team defensively and serve as a pivot point when in possession. Miazga’s performance in this match was a good example of this phenomenon. He had very few defensive stats, and though he completed 84.2 percent of his passes, none of them were progressive.

What did show up in the stat sheet for Miazga was pretty good. He completed five of his eight long passes, showing that he kept the ball moving for his team. He also won seven of his eight duels, including all but one aerial duel. However, his grade is still on the lower side for his performance because of his one major mistake: getting his header all wrong in the 11th minute, leading to the Lobzhanidze chance mentioned above.

LCB – Miles Robinson – 7

Miles Robinson was put in a lot of 1v1 situations in this match and came out on top in most of them. He logged just one tackle, two blocks and one interception but clearly prevented wingers on both sides of the pitch from getting off crosses on several occasions. He also led the team with six ball recoveries.

Offensively, however, Robinson struggled a bit. His 78 percent passing was the lowest of all center backs on the pitch and included moments like the fifth minute when he tried to pass the ball to the middle and played it right to an Atlanta player. He completed only three of six long passes and had only two progressive passes on the night.

LWB – Luca Orellano – 7.5

Any conversation of Orellano in this match has to start with his goal. He showed some real intelligence to combine with Lucho in the transition, then his finish was excellent. For reference, the chance was graded at only 0.22 xG, but Luca’s PSxG was a whopping 0.91, the highest of any shot in the match. Luca also contributed 10 progressive actions (six passes, four carries) and added seven progressive receptions.

So why isn’t the young Argentinian in the man-of-the-match conversation? I still think he didn’t do enough with the ball when he had it. His three shot-creating actions put him fifth on the team. He also led the team with being dispossessed five times, while adding two mistouches. In the end, I think he had a productive match but still plays like a rookie. It’s to be expected, but I hope he continues to improve.

DCM – Pavel Bucha – 8

Pavel Bucha has been asked to take on more of an offensive role of late. In this match, it felt like he finally clicked into gear. The only offensive player that had more touches than Bucha’s 56 was Lucho. Bucha contributed 12 progressive actions (nine passes, three carries) and tied for the team lead with five passes into the attacking third. He also contributed four shot-creating actions and completed all eight of his long passes. Finally, outside of his stats, I thought his presence in the attacking third really freed Lucho up to receive the ball in more dangerous areas.

Bucha wasn’t as strong defensively but wasn’t asked to be. He was present when needed, contributing a tackle, four blocks, and an interception. He was, however, dribbled once.

DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 7.5

Obi Nwobodo still wasn’t back to his best in this match. However, I think he took a step in that direction. In this match, he was asked to play a much more defensive role. Though he still managed three shot-creating actions, he logged only two progressive passes and one pass into the attacking third. Instead of being a big part of the offense, Obi was tasked with tracking the reigning Young Player of the Year, Thiago Almada, all over the pitch. And, for the most part, he kept the Argentinian quiet. However, he did ball chase at times and was partially culpable for leaving Almada in the run-up to his goal. He also got caught in no-man’s land in the middle third of the pitch, leaving Almada free in the build-up to the 11th-minute Lobzhanidze chance.

Outside of these moments, Obi was legitimately solid and even had some real moments of defensive prowess. He logged three tackles, winning them all, and contributed two blocks and an interception. Lastly, he contributed five ball recoveries.

CAM – Luciano Acosta – 8.5 (Man of the Match)

When your team wins 2-1 on the road, and you log a goal and an assist, you win man of the match. Full stop. Lucho’s assist for the game-tying goal was fantastic. You can see here that he waited until just the right moment to play Orellano in behind the defense, getting the defender to backpedal so his pass could go through at the right angle.

Also, his first touch on the game-winning goal was pure class, allowing him to easily finish from the doorstep. In the end, Lucho had five shot-creating actions and led the team with 10 progressive passes. As a note to Noonan’s tactical tweaks mentioned above, Lucho received 11 progressive passes despite averaging under seven per 90 minutes.

I could nitpick Acosta’s performance by talking about how he completed only two of five dribbles, but instead, I’m going to tell you my favorite thing that I saw out of the captain. It’s impossible to know how effective this was, or how often he really did it, but I noticed on several occasions that he was giving his teammates “thumbs up” after a good idea that was poorly executed, or making the universal “calm down” signal by pressing his palms downward when his teammates turned the ball over going forward. This is a marked difference from the histrionics and poor body language that we’ve seen at times out of the veteran, and I loved it.

ST – Yuya Kubo – 7

As a striker, Yuya Kubo should probably be graded lower for this match. He was unable to put any of his four shots on target and had several bad turnovers. This included in the sixth minute, when he turned it over with both Yedlin and Hagglund moving forward leading to an Atlanta break and eventually a corner. He ended the match with only two shot-creating actions while logging three dispossessions and three mistouches. He was, however, right behind Lucho with 10 progressive receptions.

However, one of the best things about Kubo is that, when things aren’t clicking for him offensively, he still adds a ton defensively. In this match, he led the team with six tackles, winning four of them. He wasn’t dribbled despite the Five Stripes attempting it four times. Finally, he added an interception and four ball recoveries.

ST – Corey Baird – 6.5

You might be surprised at Baird’s high grade, considering he didn’t score despite having several decent opportunities. He had three shots but also a host of other chances where he didn’t even get a shot off. In the first minute of the match, he elected to try a one-yard square pass when he received the ball in the box and should have shot. Then, in the 15th minute, he practically took the ball off Lucho’s foot when Yedlin tried to pick the captain out with a cutback and failed to get a shot off. He also tallied four dispossessions.

However, Baird managed to make the most of some half-chances. His three shots totaled just 0.4 xG. Furthermore, he contributed five shot-creating actions. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt in this match, even though he still has yet to score. I hope that these near misses will buoy his confidence.


Ian Murphy (42nd minute) – 6

Murphy acquitted himself well after coming in for the injured Nick Hagglund. He wasn’t dribbled and passed at a 95 percent clip. However, he didn’t make any great plays either. He had only one progressive pass, and his only defensive action was a blocked shot. He also only got into two ground duels but won them both. His one knock was when he lost Luis Abram on a corner in the 75th minute, though he wasn’t punished as the free-header sailed wide.

Aaron Boupendza (76th minute) – 5

Aaron Boupendza played limited minutes and had limited production. He logged a mistouch and a dispossession while only receiving two progressive passes. He had the chance to help kill off the game by heading to the corner when alone in transition in the 89th minute but elected to come inside and drill a pass off Lucho’s shins from a few yards away instead. Boupendza might need to get used to his super-sub role, but if this match was any indication, it may take some time.

Alvas Powell (89th minute) – N/A

Malik Pinto (89th minute) – N/A

Bret Halsey (90th minute) – N/A

Availability Notes: Roman Celentano (ankle), Sergio Santos (Haplessness)


  • 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
  • xAG – Expected assisted goals (or xAG) is directly related to the xG that follows a pass that assists a shot.
  • 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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