The 2018 edition of FC Cincinnati looks a lot different than last year, not just in terms of their faces, but also in terms of how they attack their opponent. The Orange & Blue’s offensive production was substantially more distributed during the 2018 preseason than during the previous year’s USL season. Eleven different players scored during that set of friendlies if you include the pop-up match against Wright State.
We saw more evidence of this trend during FC Cincinnati’s first game against Charleston, in terms of shots taken, key passes, and FCC’s goal. They produced nine total shots in that match. Charleston blocked three and three were on target. However, the nine shots came from eight different FC Cincinnati players. Additionally, if you look at key passes, eight key passes were spread across six different players. Blake Smith scored the lone goal, and he’s one of the few players that didn’t score during the preseason.
Contrast this with Indy Eleven’s match last weekend. Their ex-MLS offensive tandem of Soony Saad and Jack McInerney combined for the single match-winning goal. Those two also accounted for five of seven key passes during the contest. Furthermore, two out of three of Indy’s on-target shots came from Jack McInerney. They did produce shots from seven different players though, and that’s pretty good in terms of distribution.
Overall, one can argue that Indy is more likely to direct their attack primarily through their two big-name MLS veterans on Saturday. FC Cincinnati, in contrast, will continue with its score-from-anywhere hydra attack strategy.
It’s important not to read too much into the stats from a single match, of course. You need a larger sample size to determine trends and a team’s tendencies. This is especially true when analyzing two teams that have been revamped to the extent that FC Cincinnati and Indy Eleven have. But the offensive distribution and strategy between these two teams is an interesting contrast when looking forward to this weekend’s “War for 74” derby.
Shout out to @DSherman39 for the derby name suggestion.