There isn’t much worth preserving from the Union’s scoreless tie at FC Cincinnati on Wednesday, a game the home team seemed to enjoy making ugly until it sprung a few counterattacks in the final minutes.
Perhaps it was a compliment to the Union that Cincinnati felt it had to rough the game up — and rough Union players up plenty often — to get a result. And perhaps a tie on the road will look OK in the long run if the Union play well enough for the rest of the season.
Before the game tape is taken out with the trash, let’s look at a few notable player performances.
If Kai Wagner proves ready to return to the field Sunday night against Inter Miami, Wednesday might have been Real’s last time getting major minutes for a little while. With Ray Gaddis returning to the starting lineup, Jim Curtin had a choice to make between Olivier Mbaizo’s defense and Real’s offense at left back. He didn’t choose Real.
Real probably would have come in as a substitute no matter what, but doing so in the 55th minute when Gaddis injured a hamstring wasn’t the plan. He had 18 touches and three clearances, and completed four of five passes. That isn’t many attempts.
For as much time as Cincinnati spent defending, it did so by bunkering instead of pressing. That allowed Monteiro much more time on the ball than he gets against teams such as the New York Red Bulls. He recorded 78 touches, second on the team, created two chances, recorded two interceptions, and was the team’s top passer, completing 54 of 60 attempts.
Two of those passes were really sharp: one to Brenden Aaronson in the sixth minute that rolled too far on Nippert Stadium’s hard turf, and one to Sergio Santos in the 78th that led to Santos shooting off the post.
Obviously it’s a concern that he hasn’t scored since the regular season resumed, now a streak of eight games. It’s also a concern that he had zero shots Wednesday, though he was far from alone in that. The biggest issue is that he completed just 8 of 14 passes, even though one of them created a scoring chance.
He doesn’t feature here often, because he’s so consistently good that he rarely actually stands out relative to his teammates. And he only had to make one save in this game, on the only shot on goal recorded by either team. But it was a fine save, and a reminder that even when you think he’s having a quiet night, he’s still there.
José Andrés Martínez
Statistically, he was the Union’s best player: 76 touches, four shots, three dribbles past opponents, three tackles, two aerial duels won, two clearances, one interception, 46 of 54 passing.
Let’s include him for old time’s sake, and because of the significance of his crossing paths with Martínez. Medunjanin had 53 touches, three tackles, three interceptions and three clearances, created two chances, won one aerial duel and completed 40 of 48 passes. His 83.3% pass completion rate was his second-lowest in his 10 starts this year.