Major League Soccer

FC Cincinnati 4-4 NYCFC player ratings: Brazilians Brenner & Heber star in wild MLS draw

Chris Smith
Brenner helped himself to a hat-trick against NYCFC.
Brenner helped himself to a hat-trick against NYCFC. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

FC Cincinnati and New York City FC shared eight goals in a remarkable 4-4 draw at TQL Stadium on Wednesday night.

The hosts came into the match off the back of a 1-0 win over Orlando City at the weekend and were clearly full of confidence, racing into a 3-0 lead inside half an hour thanks to Lucho Acosta's opener and a brace from Brenner.

If NYCFC interim head coach Nick Cushing was banging his head against the wall in frustration at his team's defending, he can at least take heart from their fighting spirit, with three goals in five minutes from Talles Magno and Heber (x2) at the end of the first half somehow leveling the scores. This time, it was Cincinnati boss Pat Noonan's turn to look on in disbelief at some shoddy backline play.

It got even better for New York after half-time, with Brazilian youngster Gabriel Pereira putting the reigning champions ahead with a powerful strike in the 52nd minute, though he was allowed far too much space to run infield and to the edge of the box by Cincinnati's midfield.

But NYCFC couldn't hold onto their lead, with Brenner completing his hat-trick in the 70th minute, becoming the first FC Cincinnati player to do so in MLS.

As if the 4-4 scoreline wasn't drama enough, this was a game that also featured two disallowed goals for Cincinnati, Maxi Moralez missing a penalty, and Maxime Chanot leaving early on with a nasty-looking injury after colliding with the post.

Need some help digesting all that? Our player ratings are a good place to start:

FC Cincinnati vs NYCFC player ratings

1. FC Cincinnati (3-4-1-2)

GK: Roman Celentano - 5/10 - Conceded four goals but made a couple of saves to make sure the goalkeeper's union came away with at least some respect.

CB: Nick Hagglund - 6/10 -
Almost grabbed an assist from an excellent cross for Brandon Vazquez. Was part of a defensive disasterclass at the other end.

CB: Geoff Cameron - 5/10 -
Made plenty of clearances and interceptions but failed to organize his defense.

CB: Tyler Blackett - 4/10 -
Caught out of position throughout the night.

RWB: Raymon Gaddis - 5/10 -
Forced the turnover for Cincy's opener but struggled to keep up with the speed of the match otherwise.

CM: Obinna Nwobodo - 3/10 -
Failed to clear the ball on NYCFC's first goal and allowed Heber to run free for their third.

CM: Haris Medunjanin - 4/10 -
His lack of mobility left Cincy open through the middle, which was where Pereira targeted on NYCFC's fourth goal.

LWB: Alvaro Barreal - 5/10 -
Didn't offer enough going forward, which isn't ideal when you're manning such a leaky defense.

CAM: Luciano Acosta - 8/10 -
One goal and two assists in another excellent performance. Only marked down for missing a couple of chances to seal the win for Cincinnati.

ST: Brandon Vazquez - 8/10 -
DIdn't score himself but assisted Cincinnati's third and caused problems all evening with his movement.

ST: Brenner - 10/10 -
Scorer of FC Cincinnati's first-ever MLS hat-trick, Brenner absolutely set fire to the NYCFC defense and kept it fuelled all night. Had a fourth goal disallowed for offside at the end.

SUB: Alvas Powell (for Gaddis, 54') - 6/10 -
Helped steady the ship slightly after Cincy had leaked goals.

SUB: Allan Cruz (for Haris Medunjanin, 54') - 6/10 -
Added some much-needed mobility to the Cincinnati midfield.

SUB: Ian Murphy (for Cameron, 87') - N/A -
No time to affect the game.

SUB: John Nelson (for Barreal, 88') - N/A - As above.

2. NYCFC (4-2-3-1)

GK: Sean Johnson - 3/10 - A really disastrous performance, making a number of big errors including a terrible pass out that forced the turnover for the opener. Slightly redeemed himself with a couple of decent saves at the end.

RB: Tayvon Gray - 6/10 -
One of the few defenders who put in something like a solid performance. Didn't offer enough in the final third.

CB: Maxime Chanot - 6/10 -
Came off injured just 24 minutes in after a horrible collision with the post as he tried to keep Acosta's opener out.

CB: Alexander Callens - 4/10 -
Caught out of possession on a number of occasions and lost a lot of duels. Failed to land a slide tackle to stop Acosta's opener.

LB: Malte Amundsen - 7/10 -
Helped keep the ball alive for NYCFC's first goal and was about as solid as anyone on the pitch.

CM: Alfredo Morales - 5/10 -
Had to move back into defense when Chanot came off. Did about as well as could be expected.

CM: Nicolas Acevedo - 4/10 -
Was dribbled past more times than any other player (5), allowing Cincy attackers to beat him far too easily.

RW: Gabriel Pereira - 8/10 -
Charged through the middle and unleashed a rocket to give NYCFC the lead after the break. Created a couple of chances and looked dangerous until running out of steam toward the end.

CAM: Maxi Moralez - 8/10 -
A hat-trick of assists and five chances created in a masterful playmaking performance. Marked down after missing a penalty for the fourth time in his last six attempts.

LW: Talles Magno - 8/10 -
Was a menace throughout, scoring NYCFC's first and completing six of his nine dribbles before eventually being subbed out on 71 minutes. A huge talent.

ST: Heber - 9/10 -
Grabbed the chance offered to him by Valentin Castellanos' absence with both hands, scoring the second and third goals in NYCFC's remarkable comeback from 3-0 down just before half-time. Tailed off after the break.

SUB: Justin Haak (for Chanot, 24') - 7/10 -
Struggled to get going at first but came up with some big blocks in the second half.

SUB: Thiago Andrade (for Magno, 71') - 5/10 -
Didn't get going.

SUB: Andres Jasson (for Pereira, 81') - 5/10 -
Didn't have enough time to change things.