Both Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martin connected on fewer than 70 percent of their passes and Marco Pappa and Michael Azira were below 80 percent. As a team the Sounders passing accuracy was just 68 percent, compared to the Whitecaps' 80 percent. The possession game got better as Vancouver bunkered for the last 20 minutes or so, and the Sounders ended the game with just less than 63 percent of the possession. But the final pass just never connected and the team only put three shots on target the entire 90 minutes.
A lot of credit should go to Vancouver for the frustration the Sounders suffered. I'd say Vancouver centerback Kendall Waston was clearly player of the game. On the Sounders side of the ball, Osvaldo Alonso earned my man of the match. Ozzie was a clear leader in tackles, with 6, and completed 91 percent of his team-leading 90 passes. Just as the Sounders found no joy in trying to force the ball up the middle of the field, the Whitecaps could do no damage whatsoever through Ozzie's areas.
Enter your ratings for the game and then read on to see my individual player ratings for the win:
Here is a key to the standard 1-10 scale.
7. Very good
10. World Class
Stefan Frei: 5. I can't help but think that Stefan should be able to somehow interrupt players coming at him at a tough angle like what happened on the goal. He didn't really get big, nor go down for a save before Kakuta Manneh took the shot. To me this is the difference between an adequate goalkeeper like Stefan and the amazing keeping we saw from Kasey Keller the first three years - Stefan just doesn't regularly make spectacular stops to keep his team in the game.
Brad Evans: 6. Brad was second on the team in tackles and I thought played a good game at right back. I don't think there is any way you can blame him for the goal. How would a right back know that the referee was going to allow a player on the field behind him during an attack?
Chad Marshall: 6. Chad was almost a 7 for me for most of this game, but the goal showed his one true weakness, he can be beat for speed. Manneh blew by Chad so quickly that Chad actually got tangled up on his own legs. Generally this just isn't an issue in MLS. Most of the true MLS speedsters have very, poor touches. Manneh is an exception. He is fast and can finish. If he ever grows to be a complete player that plays within a system rather than settling for one-on-one attacking, I think Manneh will be a top MLS goal scorer.
Jalil Anibaba: 5. Jalil tied for the lowest score in my impact plays notebook, but it wasn't all that bad. He had a couple of hiccups, especially in clearing the ball right to an opponent, but he mostly played solid this game.
Leo Gonzalez: 5. Leo was ineffective in this one. He did mark Mauro Rosales OK - I think the speed (or lack thereof) between the two of them is quite equal. But he was very inaccurate with his passing when he tried to move forward and help the attack, with both of his crossing attempts and three of his five long balls not reaching a teammate. I scored him a minus-1 in my impact plays notebook, just one point ahead of Anibaba and Chad Barrett.
Osvaldo Alonso: 7. MOTM. I outlined Ozzie's stats in the introduction. To me he was man of the match but not because I thought he was particularly inspired. He earned a plus-6 in my notebook, but missing from his best recent outing was any accurate, cutting through-balls into the strikers. He switched field a lot, which is generally a good thing when traffic is tight around the ball, but nothing he did led to great goal-scoring opportunities.
Michael Azira: 5. I think Michael took another slight step back here. He is a solid defensive midfielder - though no Alonso - but he just doesn't add as much to the attack as Gonzalo Pineda or Andy Rose. If Neagle and Pappa are off a bit like they were on Friday, this team really needs the midfielder next to Alonso to help create goal-scoring chances. I want to be clear and say I don't think Michael was bad. But I do think this game might have gone better with one of the other two options on the field.
Marco Pappa: 5. Marco was off Friday night, I can't think of any other way to say it. His passing rate was just 74 percent, only one of his seven crosses and corners found a teammate, and he was caught in possession and dispossessed five times. He just seemed to be playing a bit slower than the Whitecaps and his crosses always seemed to find the one player on the Caps he should have been avoiding in Waston. This wasn't up to Marco's recent efforts.
Lamar Neagle: 5. As mentioned in the introduction, Lamar struggled to complete passes, his 65 percent the lowest of the night for the team. It was admittedly difficult given the way Vancouver was playing, but on his best night's Lamar is much better than this at creating chances for himself and his teammates.
Clint Dempsey: 6. Clint was a bright spot in the "front four" of himself, Pappa, Neagle and Martins. But their weaknesses made it harder for him to be effective and earn plus-marks in my impact plays notebook. He was dispossessed three times, which is high for him, but I think two of those were fouls that weren't called. I wonder if anyone will mark Clint down for his tirade at the ref that earned him a yellow card. I recall in threads last year that commenters went ballistic when Eddie Johnson pulled similar antics.
Obafemi Martins: 5. I suppose it had to happen eventually, but Oba's long run of spectacular showings was halted dramatically on Friday. He just wasn't very good; or at least very good compared to what we are used to seeing. I had him at a plus-one in my notebook. He completed only 25 of his 37 pass attempts. And he had but one shot on goal. I was pretty stunned at the end of the game when he was spending a ton of time near the center-stripe, trying to organize the attack against the packed in Whitecaps. Perhaps he was frustrated from the lack of service earlier in the game, or perhaps he felt like he could do more damage out there with so many attacking options on the field, but I have to say I wish he was up near the goal in that kind of situation, when the Sounders desperately needed a goal.
Chad Barrett: (62nd minute): 5. Chad finished tied for lowest score in my notebook, despite only playing 30 minutes. He just could not get anything of value past the packed-in Vancouver defense.
Gonzalo Pineda (66th minute): 5. I thought Gonzalo did more to push the game forward than what Seattle was getting out of that position previously. But he could not find the right pass to unlock Vancouver's bunker.
Andy Rose: (81st minute): incomplete.