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MD 7 - Player Rating justification and that Montero kid

Wow, it feels like forever since the site went down. I never got out the Match Day Seven out, as the server issues sprung up while I was at work Friday. While the site was down Laurie at the the Seattle Offside helped me out a bit, and for that a bit thank you. I also did the player reviews at Prost Amerika.

It seems those ratings have generated quite a bit of criticism on the net concerning said ratings, so I will respond a bit. Also, there's a fairly big subject concerning one Fredy Montero, and what in the world happened to the Player of March. Lastly, let's talk about Bakary Soumare's yellow card, because it really didn't make sense. Where I'm from it doesn't matter if you knee the keeper in the face if you are using your hand to try and knock the ball in the net. More later. Let's look at the primary criticisms of my ratings.

scott47a Says: at 9:22 am
I think you were a bit hard on the backs. We gave up one goal playing about 40 minutes a man down against perhaps the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Keith Hodo echoed in IM

a bit harsh on the ratings i must say

Steve Clare of Prost Amerika on the phone repeated that my numbers seemed low. He even quoted a fellow watcher at the Atlantic Crossing who said "it felt like a win" Well, you know what? It was not a win. It was a draw on the road, which while a positive showed a few worrisome signs, but still resulted in a point, as well as a true goal on a set piece. What's that rate at now?

Let's review what Ezra said about the defensive plan concerning McBride and Blanco. That was my standard in the ratings that gave the defensive five (Alonso, Sturgis, Hurtado, Marshall and Riley) a 5.4 (which would be a decent rating for a well used substitute.

We know that McBride is a good, lethal aerial guy and we know that they have speed on the wings with Nyarko, Mapp and Rolfe who will try to run off him. So the key would be to cut down the supply to McBride, because like any air guy, if he doesn’t get service he’s not effective. He’s very good. He’s been in the EPL and successful, and so we’ll have to cut the service that will primarily come from Blanco, and have a guy to win those battles, but also to keep the defense running with their own players. But that’s our key, cutting the service.

In light of that plan, do you then think that the defensive triangle and wingbacks controlled that service? Did they cut down the effectiveness of Blanco, or did he have his way on each wing? While people may point to the goals against number, look instead at the Shots Against and Shots on Goal numbers. The Fire entering their home draw take only 11.8 shots and 6.7 on goal. While the defenders did cut down the number on goal (5), they unfortunately allowed 27% more shots overall. The Fire, and Blanco, controlled the pace of the match, both when they were even, and of course when they were up a man. With a lesser keeper likely the Sounders would have allowed another goal.

The goal was to prevent Blanco from providing service, and the Rave Green didn't do it.

From the offensive five, think about their ratings this way. What is the identifying nature of Sigi's Game? Again, according to Ezra Hendrickson

DC: I have noticed that Marshall and Hurtado are key to starting attacks that take only 10 or 15 seconds to get from defensive third to a shot on goal. Is this what you are talking about?

Coach Hendrickson: Yes, they win most of the balls on defense and when they win the ball the attack starts immediately. The key is to win the ball and then transition. We need to keep possession and that first pass needs to be effective.

DC: Sounders seem to go into a rapid transition, is that by design of the coaching staff or due to the players on the club?

Coach Hendrickson: That’s by design. Opponents are most vulnerable right when they lose the ball. So a quicker attack is more likely to catch them unaware and force a bad adjustment. The key on offense is the win the ball quickly and then utilize space


Did you see the rapid transistion that defines the Sounders in their wins? Did you see the routine attacks that start at the Sounders 18 and then end with a shot? I didn't see that nearly enough, not for a team that is defined by ball movement amongst a number of players. This was clearly the worst game that Seattle has played. And in that game they got a point on the road.

So while the individual ratings might be low. They might be harsh, but they don't matter. What matters is 40 points at the end of the season. That's the break mark for the playoffs. Seattle currently has an 87% chance of passing that mark. That's the focus, ratings are just a way of pointing out individual successes and/or failures.

In the Rave Green nation the subject of how to fix Fredy Montero might be the number one issue at this time. As high as the celebration and expectations were prior to the rape allegations, they are currently as low as the could be.

Montero still has 3 goals and an assist in six matches played. He's taking 18 shots, only 6 on goal, but the number that sticks out for me is that he has suffered 17 fouls. Thing is by the best I can reckon, only four of those were in those first two matches. MLS coaches have adjusted how the defend the 21-year old Colombian, and on Saturday we saw how clearly that frustrates him. He took some aggression out in a poor play in an air battle that even if won would not have netted a positive result.

It is now time for Fredy to adjust. If he's going to get hit hard and marked tight, then he MUST do more to make himself available on the run. Part of that means that he will need to run diagonally more often in order to receive throughballs. While Freddie, Steve and Brad have sent throughballs Montero's way, we've seen Fredy give up on the run a few times. But when space gets tight, we will have to see Montero in full motion more often, running to a place where the ball can hit his feet.

The answer to Fredy Montero isn't a benching, though that's happening anyway. The answer is coaching. The answer is coaching by a man who has coached a solid U-20 team with players with high talent levels, but a bit lacking in a few fundamentals. Seattle has that guy. Coach Schmid has had success with young players whose primary issues are consistency and attitude. Now that MLS has adjusted to Montero, let's see what Sigi and Fredy have in mind to show them something a bit different.

It isn't time yet to panic, but it rarely is.

I wish that MLSNet had the highlight on quickkicks, but they don't. If you have the time look at the Soumare Yellow. Officially it went in the books as Keeper Interference, but watch the play again either at the MLS Live Archive, or on your DVR.

Notice that Soumare's left hand/arm touches the ball while swinging in a downward motion. This while within the 6 yard box on a solid service. The ball bounces off the hand/arm towards the goal, but wide of the post.

If that isn't an attempt to use the hand/arm to score a goal, what would be? Can anyone explain why that isn't a Red Card?

Its great to have the site back up, and I missed you guys. Do you have any thoughts on Match Day 7? The second place Sounders? Who should start while Montero gets to watch more film?

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