Player Ratings

Player Ratings: FC Cincinnati 4, Toronto FC 3

FC Cincinnati picked up its seventh win in a row on Saturday, coming from behind to take the lead, then needing to retake the lead two more times to earn an incredible 4-3 win. At times, the match looked more like two prize fighters trading punches than a tactical faceoff, but the Orange and Blue held their nerve to score the final knockout blow in added time through the oft-maligned Sergio Santos.

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 – 1.5, Toronto FC – 1.3, per

Formation: 3-5-2

Now, onto the ratings:

Manager – Pat Noonan – 7.5

Pat Noonan’s primary impact on this match came in a way that we haven’t seen much from the manager to date: taking a big tactical swing to change things during the match. After TFC scored its opening goal Noonan flipped Luca Orellano to the right and Bret Halsey to the left, meaning both wingbacks were playing inverted. This move forced the Toronto outside defenders to defend the middle of the pitch and clearly made them quite uncomfortable. Noonan also had his team press the home side to great effect, generating multiple first-half chances through their defensive setup.

Noonan also appeared to pull the right strings at the right times with his substitutions, replacing a struggling Bret Halsey and Dado Valenzuela with enough time for their replacements to make an impact. However, he still used only three of his five subs in a stretch where FCC will have a quick turnaround to play again on Wednesday. Furthermore, I thought Luca Orellano should have been replaced before the 88th minute and was nearly proven right when TFC had the chance to score late on with the wingback unable to recover defensively.

GK – Roman Celentano – 6.5

It’s tough to grade a goalkeeper in a match like this. Celentano gave up three goals, none of which appeared to be savable. Deybi Flores kissed a perfect header off the post through traffic, a ball ricocheted in off Ian Murphy for an own goal and Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty drew a PSxG of 1.0.

From there, Roman just wasn’t called on to make any important saves. He made a few plays coming off his line and did well to punch at least one corner clear, but he wasn’t called on to be a world-class shot-stopper in this match.

RWB –  Bret Halsey – 5

There is a contingent of FCC fans who have been clamoring to see more Bret Halsey. I’m wondering if that group has fallen silent after this match. He wasn’t catastrophic by any means and still looks to be a very nice depth piece as a wingback. He has popped off with a few nice moments in a few appearances.

However, he too often makes the wrong decision on the ball and does not make up for it with lock-down defensive play. In this match, he missed a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring for his team in the 17th minute when he couldn’t steer the ball on frame past an onrushing Sean Johnson despite Pavel Bucha playing him in on goal. Also, despite having three shot-creating actions, he still had moments like the photo below, where he chose to try to drive a low cross in to a cutting Lucho Acosta when Kevin Kelsy was open and ready to dunk on a defender at the back post.

With Kevin Kelsy was ready at the back post, Bret Halsey chooses the more difficult pass.

All of these difficulties for Halsey can be attributed to his lack of playing experience at the top level. I don’t think that he is a lost cause by any stretch. However, as he’s learning to make the right decisions and be more clinical in the final third, I’d also like to see him do some of the simpler things more consistently. In this match, he won only one of his five ground duels and was dribbled once while failing to record a tackle, block or interception. He was also credited with three mistouches and a dispossession while failing to log a progressive pass.

RCB – Miles Robinson – 7

Miles Robinson’s impact on the back line is often seen more in his effect on the players around him rather than in the stat book. His numbers in this match were fine, if not glowing. He passed at a 91.7 percent rate while contributing six progressive actions, including three carries and three passes. He was also solid defensively, winning all three of his tackles while contributing a blocked shot and an interception.

Robinson’s numbers will rarely be better than this. It is not a coincidence that Toronto attacked down his side just 23 percent of the time. Luca Orellano looked like an entirely different defender with Robinson behind him, and not because the young Argentinian actually played better. Simply put, Robinson is such a class act as a central defender that the FCC right wingback is always going to have an easier outing with the veteran behind him. Robinson isn’t without his mistakes, however. In this match, he got caught ball-watching for just a split second in the 84th minute, meaning he was on the wrong side of Prince Owusu and had to foul him, giving away a penalty kick.

CB – Matt Miazga – 7

Matt Miazga had a rather quiet outing despite some of the dirty play that Toronto was employing in an attempt to bait FCC into some shenanigans. He importantly stayed out of the referee’s book, even though he was the recipient of an Owusu undercut that looked pretty dangerous. Miazga was dribbled once in the match and failed to log a tackle, block or interception. However, he also won four of his five aerial duels and kept Owusu quiet for most of the match.

Offensively, Miazga was close to making a big impact when he sent Acosta in behind, though the captain’s shot hit the post, and he was later ruled to be slightly offside anyway. His 88.7 percent passing included completing four of five long attempts.

LCB – Ian Murphy – 7.5

Ian Murphy’s scores on the major platforms are going to look very sad because he was saddled with an own goal. However, I don’t fault him in the slightest for it, as his defensive positioning was excellent, and there were a few players who fell asleep on the play, allowing Insigne to waltz into the box with the ball. As noted in Robinson’s score, Murphy took the lion’s share of the defensive responsibility as Toronto looked to avoid attacking his counterpart. He mostly acquitted himself well, making three tackles, blocking a shot and earning an interception. He also won all three of his ground duels.

Murphy’s offensive numbers don’t look stellar, as he had the lowest passing percentage of any center back at 76.2 percent. However, his numbers were hurt most by completing only five of 15 long passes, and most of those were emergency clearances toward attackers rather than legit pass attempts. He also contributed a respectable three progressive passes and tied for the team lead with six passes into the final third.

LWB – Luca Orellano – 8

Well, Jared, if Luca Orellano was a winger, he would absolutely get that 8.5 for me… and maybe higher. Both of his goals were incredibly well taken. Look at how calmly he drifts into the central channel, then finishes after Dado Valenzuela is obliterated by the TFC defender:

He also didn’t get credited with an assist for Kelsy’s goal, but his low and hard shot forced Johnson into a save. Offensively, Orellano was fantastic. He completed all five of his dribbles without having a mistouch or dispossession. He also had eight progressive actions, including three passes and five carries. However, Luca isn’t a winger… he’s a wingback. And that, unfortunately, means we have to talk about the defensive side of the ball. Look at how poorly Orellano is positioned at the back post in the lead-up to TFC’s penalty:

Justin Hoyte and I talked about that on this week’s Talking Tactics podcast. Orellano played a decent part in all three of the goals that FCC conceded. He also fell asleep a number of times at the back post, including in the 88th minute, when he let substitute Kobe Franklin nearly waltz in on Roman’s goal and put his side ahead with a volley. He was dribbled twice in the first half, both leading to dangerous half-chances for the home side, and he committed three fouls. Let’s not kid ourselves, Orellano is not on the pitch for his defensive prowess. And scoring two goals earns you a lot of credit. However, he will need to be at least competent on the defensive side of the ball before he will earn that 8.5 from me.

DCM – Pavel Bucha – 7

The FCC midfield was kept fairly quiet in this match due in large part to Orellano coming into that space and dominating offensively. Pavel Bucha was solid, however, coming in second on the team with four progressive passes while also adding two progressive carries. He had a few nice moments that could have led to more if his teammates didn’t let him down (see Halsey above), and earned two shot-creating actions and two key passes on the night.

Defensively, Bucha wasn’t at his best. He tied for the team lead with six ball recoveries but also failed to drop in and help the back line on a couple of occasions, including when Miazga tracked Insigne into the midfield in the run-up to the TFC penalty kick. However, when an “off night” includes 93 percent passing, a few really nice offensive moments and no big mistakes, I’d call that a win.

DCM – Obi Nwobodo – 6

Obinna Nwobodo hasn’t looked like the same player since his injury layoff earlier in the season. He has started getting back to the rangy, ever-present defensive ball hawk that we’ve come to know and love. However, his on-ball defending has been borderline shambolic at times. He was dribbled twice in this match and was rounded way too easily by Insigne in the build-up to Murphy’s own goal:

However, Obi still managed to log a tackle, two blocked passes and a blocked shot. His five ball recoveries put him among team leaders, and he chipped in with six passes into the final third. Like Bucha, when being not at your best still leaves you as a major nuisance for the opposition, you’re doing something right. However, FCC will need the Obi that they had last season to re-emerge if they don’t want to keep letting goals in for fun.

CAM – Luciano Acosta – 7

Lucho Acosta might not have recorded a goal or an assist on the night, but he still played a key role in three of the four FCC goals. Even on a night when it didn’t appear like the offense was flowing through him, the captain still led the team with seven shot-creating actions. Even more impressively, without as much to do offensively, he upped the ante on the defensive side of the ball, winning all three of his tackles while blocking two passes and earning an interception.

Toronto keyed on Lucho, limiting him to only four progressive receptions. That meant much of his night was spent dragging Matty Longstaff and Deybi Flores out of position so Orellano could cook. However, Lucho also left some plays on the field. He completed only one of his four dribble attempts and turned the ball over in transition in the build-up to the Toronto penalty kick.

ST – Gerardo Valenzuela – 6.5

Valenzuela had some really nice moments in this match. When he can play on the half turn, his vision and ability to feel defenders and move off of them is that of a player beyond his years. However, when he has to receive a ball with a defender on his back, he too often tries to use his first touch to get away from the player rather than receive the ball. This means that his six mistouches cloud his offensive contribution even on a night when he tied for the team lead with five progressive receptions. He also found space tight when he dropped in to link play and managed only one shot-creating action and zero progressive actions while passing at only a 61.5 percent rate.

However, Dado’s best contribution might be his grit and determination defensively out of the forward spot. He led the team with four tackles and five fouls committed in this match. That kind of work rate from a forward allows Lucho Acosta to get some rest defensively and cannot go unnoticed.

ST – Kevin Kelsy – 8 (Man of the Match)

Coach?! Are you kidding me? Kevin Kelsy as man of the match when he only scored one goal? And even that was just cleaning up the rebound on a chance that Luca Orellano created… right? Well, I submit that his finish was incredibly difficult after Luca probably should have passed it to him rather than shot:

Plus, Big Kev’s contribution goes so far beyond goals. He battles center backs for the entire match, allowing his teammates the freedom and space to operate underneath him. He tied for the team lead with five ball recoveries while also drawing a team-high four fouls. Furthermore, his hustle and acceleration played a key role in FCC’s first goal, and he contributed four ball recoveries. I would like to see him have fewer mistouches (five) and dispossessions (two), but for now, I have been incredibly impressed with the youngster.


DeAndre Yedlin (65th minute) – 6.5

DeAndre Yedlin was solid in his return to play after re-aggravating his hip pointer. He took care of the ball, passing at a 92.3 percent rate while having no mistouches or dispossessions. However, he also didn’t log a long or progressive pass. Yedlin was able to be effective defensively as well, earning two tackles while not being dribbled despite TFC attempting it twice. To me, it looked like he still had some trouble running, but it was a good sign to see him back on the pitch for the Orange and Blue.

Sergio Santos (72nd minute) – 8

This might have been Sergio Santos’s best 19 minutes as an FCC player. He may not have played a pass for his assist on Luca Orellano’s second goal, but he showed great movement to get on the ball, a good touch to settle it and then great patience when he would have been forgiven for just slamming a shot and hoping it got through the defense. Then, start at the 37-second mark of this video and just watch his consistent work rate to get forward and grab the game-winner:

When you have less than 2o minutes to make an impact on a match, getting an assist and scoring the game-winning goal isn’t too shabby.

Yamil Asad (88th minute) – N/A

Availability Notes: Yuya Kubo (leg), Corey Baird (hip), Alvas Powell (hamstring), Aaron Boupendza (jaw)


  • 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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