I promised Steve Clare that I would do the player ratings at his site for this match, and those will be up later today or tomorrow, as I will be watching this match again. But as I tended to focus on the individual performances while trying to host a party and a gamethread on occaission, there were a few performances I found worthy of note.
Steve Zakuani - his first half was solid. He was the two way player that we all think he could be. His efforts at ball winning in the center third, and even sometimes in the defensive third were solid. His goal was not forced, but instead a slight hesitation move that waited for Rimando to misplay, and rather than blast it Zakuani nudged the ball in with just enough force.
Fredy Montero - sure, he only got a single assist and a single shot on goal, but Montero had solid footwork and saw plays develop that his partners on the pitch did not. Zakuani's goal was as much a credit to Steve as it was to the Colombian. Montero's spin drug a defender towards him and created the space that was necessary for that goal to happen.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado - He continued to win balls with purpose and only rarely knocked the ball right back to Real Salt Lake. He didn't get involved in the offense, but that isn't why he's on the team. While Hurtado played the ball out of touch, in almost every case it was an effective technique to get the rest of the team back rather than a useless turnover in the defensive third.
Pat Noonan - He just didn't fit into the system much. His defense was negligible, and the chemistry between he and just about everyone was lacking. We may have only seen him play for just about 100 minutes, but they aren't a 100 minutes that indicate another shot. We all know he will get another chance, but I am not yet seeing an answer to the question "Who is the 11th Starter?"
Freddie Ljungberg - Am I really going to say this? Freddie didn't have a good game. I saw two clear goal scoring opportunites that were wasted by the Swede. Both times he had the ball on the right elbow in a break away. The first he had a 3 on 3 with Noonan at far post and Montero at the near. Either pass would have been a clear shot on goal, instead Ljungberg went to the endline and curled it back out and the defense was back. Freddie himself passed up a shot on goal when he had about a 45 degree angle on net and could have had a one-on-one against Rimando. It never happened. It was a night that could have had Freddie with a goal and two assists, instead it was probably his quietest day with the Sounders.
Set-Plays - The Sounders scored their first ever goal on a Free Kick. Well, if you consider forcing an Own Goal scoring off a corner. The Sounders after having a solid +5 last year on Set-Plays are now at 0 for the year. Proper defense on the corner would have this club with 3 more points and no losses. Just two plays and record becomes 2 Wins and a Draw after three played and a +3 Goal Differential. For so long we thought the problem was just scoring on set-plays, but now we have to look at defense as well.
Denz enjoyed the presense of the ECS and the other traveling supporters, even riding the light rail in a car dominated by Seattle. Well done boys.
Panic at this point would be a mistake. Three games is a small sample, but if Seattle ends the season with 40 Goals For and 30 Against they will end with season with solid record in the low to mid 40 point range.