In what was a difficult game given the conditions, FC Cincinnati ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a 76th minute stunner from Frankie Amaya. Atlanta United were the cause of their own downfall, as having dominated the opening 25 minutes of the match, Jake Mulraney received a second yellow card for a cynical foul. Following that dismissal, the roles of the two teams were almost reversed, with Cincinnati growing into the game and progressively seeing more of the ball. Prior to half time Atlanta were awarded a penalty after Barco was brought down in the box, but it was overturned through VAR due to a tight offside decision.
Both teams struggled to create many clear cut opportunities, and whilst Cincinnati became increasingly dominant as the conditions took their toll on the 10 man opposition, it took a piece of magic from Amaya to break the deadlock. Atlanta tried to respond but were unable to create many chances as the match faded away from them, and their misery was compounded when Williams received a straight red in additional time for an off the ball incident. In a match that was marred by numerous fouls and 9 cards being shown, Atlanta had the players to create chances high up the pitch in Barco and Pity Martinez, but lacked their talisman in Josef Martinez up front, whilst the absence of Nagbe in midfield was also evident with a lack of creativity in deeper areas during transitions from defence to attack.
FC Cincinnati lined up in a 5-3-2 formation, adding an extra man to the defence following their 4-0 defeat to Columbus Crew and looked solid defensively for long periods, with the sending off of Mulraney proving to be a huge factor in their success. Gutman and Gyau were tasked with getting forward from wing back and providing width to the attack, whilst the strike partnership of Regattin and Kubo looked to cause problems for the Atlanta defence. On the day, neither side offered a lot in the final third but Cincinnati’s defensive shift coupled with Atlanta’s self destruction probably made it a fair result.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: American
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 27/09/2000
- Current Club: FC Cincinnati
- Career: Pateadores (Y), FC Cincinnati, Orange County SC (L)
- Position: Attacking Midfield
- Secondary Position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Left
Frankie Amaya was arguably his side’s most effective attacking player throughout this match, capping off an impressive performance in central midfield with a great goal with 15 minutes of regular time left to play. In possession he showed good levels of close control to turn in tight spaces and his first touch was consistently positive and set him up to pass or drive with the ball. He was composed even when under pressure in his own half, and rarely misplaced a pass (finishing the game with a 94% completion rate).
The midfielder regularly linked up well with his teammates and often looked to get the ball forward when in possession and find progressive passes from deep areas, something that the opposition lacked in this match. The American looked to stretch the play, finding quick accurate passes into the wing backs, inviting them to get forward. His positioning and movement were also impressive, creating overloads in wide areas by drifting towards the touchline or finding spaces in behind the Atlanta midfield. This was where his goal originated, as he picked up a pocket of space in between the lines before turning smartly and curling a great finish into the top corner from outside the penalty area.
At 5’4, Amaya is far from a physical presence in midfield and as a result can struggle in defensive duels. He worked hard to track back and help out defensively, providing cover for the wing back or doubling up on opposition attackers. Furthermore, he was aggressive in the challenge and made one excellent tackle to dispossess Pity Martinez and set up a counter attack. This aggression did end in him committing a couple of reckless fouls and receiving a warranted yellow card in the closing minutes of the game.
Amaya looked a real talent in midfield and showed some impressive qualities on the ball and will be delighted to score his first professional goal. I would definitely be interested in watching the player again, perhaps in a role where he is allowed more freedom to operate higher up the pitch and is tasked with fewer defensive duties where he can struggle physically.
- Nationality: American
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 02/10/1996
- Current Club: FC Cincinnati (On loan from Celtic)
- Career: Chicago Fire (Y), Chicago FC United, Celtic, Charlotte Independence (L), FC Cincinnati (L)
- Position: Left Back
- Secondary Position: Left Wing Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Gutman looked solid yet unremarkable from left wing back, appearing to be relatively competent defensively but lacking creativity in forward areas. The six foot defender showed good strength and used his body well to retain or recover possession and won a couple of headers at either end for his team. He tucked in effectively when the ball was on the other side of the pitch, providing support for the centre back and allowing himself time to track any runs towards the back post. He read the play well to cut out passes, but also was beaten for pace at times, seeming to be quite slow off the mark. He also made one or two clumsy challenges, one of which he was lucky to escape unpunished for, but overall he fulfilled his defensive duties adequately.
The Celtic loanee looked to provide an attacking option, but lacked end product despite finding himself in some promising positions. He made some effective driving runs from deep to offer width to the midfield and retained the ball well, but once he had received the ball, he struggled to beat a man or create an opening to cross. He did link up well at stages and got on the end of one pass to make a dangerous cut back, but he also lost possession by trying to beat his man or play intricate one-two’s around the box. Furthermore he looked to provide numbers in the area by making late runs towards the back post, but was unable to direct a headed opportunity towards goal and took too long to get a shot off that was eventually blocked when he received the ball from a cut back.
On the whole, Gutman carried out his defensive duties effectively as his team kept a clean sheet but he left some room for improvement, whilst despite trying to offer an outlet going forward he lacked any end product.