There is no question that Marco Pappa is the man of the match for the Seattle Sounders 2-0 Supporters Shield winning victory over Los Angeles Galaxy.
His two-goal substitute performance won the game and the Major League Soccer season title for the Sounders in spectacular fashion.
Rating the player performances in this game is difficult though. There is the emotional impact of the game. It feels like it would be wonderful to give everyone a 10, not just for what happened in the win, but for a marvelous season that we all have enjoyed immensely.
But I think analysis of the game performances is a different thing than the emotions involved. I don't think any of the performances deserve a "World Class" 10. I actually don't think the Sounders, as a whole, played that incredibly well in the win. I can't think of other games this season where I thought there were better individual performances. But the win was a shutout and despite the lack of Sounders shots on goal in the first half and the Galaxy's possession advantage, the Sounders won the game clearly and, in retrospect, relatively easily.
So enter your ratings for that performance for your MLS regular season champion Sounders and then read on to see my player ratings too:
Here is a key to the standard 1-10 scale.
7. Very good
10. World Class
Stefan Frei: 8. I thought this was Stefan's best game in quite a while, and up with his best performances of the season. If he can turn this one outing into a form, it bodes really well for the MLS Cup tournament.
DeAndre Yedlin: 7. A very good performance here. The thing that has really improved about DeAndre over the year has been his decision-making about when to go forward and when to hunker down on defense. He was flawless in that respect in this game, and really has been for several weeks. Going to miss him when he's off to England.
Chad Marshall: 9. Chad's stats are monumental here: 12 clearances, 6 balls intercepted, an 83 percent passing completion percentage. The difference between the Sounders who were destroyed by LA earlier this year and these past two games is clearly Chad's play. He really destroys good MLS attackers, and even if Robbie Keane had played I'd take my chances with Chad in the back.
Zach Scott: 6. Like Marshall, Zach had a ton of clearances, 9, as the pair dominated the air. His passing was very iffy, though, completing just 58 percent of his 24 attempts. Those 11 poor passes forced me to bump him down from a 7 to a 6 here.
Leo Gonzalez: 6. Leo was good here, but perhaps not up to his best of this season. It seems like more of what LA was trying to do came down his side of the field. His passing was off from the previous game as well.
Osvaldo Alonso: 7. Ozzie's passing was below his usual 85 percent or better as he tried more long balls to open up the Galaxy. The majority of those didn't quite hit the target. Still, he led the team in tackles, as usual, and was the best player of the foursome of himself, Pineda and the Galaxy's Juninho and Marcelo, which means despite the Galaxy's dominance of possession they were never really able to crack through the center and get an amazing look at goal.
Gonzalo Pineda: 6. It was nice to Gonzo back on the pitch. This team is just so much better with him on the field than with others. His passing wasn't as good as we are used to seeing. My favorite stat of his for this game was that he was fouled five times. Referee Mark Geiger is pretty good at letting teams play and only calling real fouls. The fact that Gonzo earned so many fouls, many of them in dangerous spots, shows you how well he is with the ball at his feet moving forward.
Brad Evans: 6. Brad helps the Sounders be a better defensive team. I think that's why he is starting over Marco Pappa now that everyone is healthy. The team gives up a little in the free-flowingness of the attack with Brad on the wings compared to Pappa, but I think having him on the field is one of the reasons LA did not score.
Lamar Neagle: 6. I think this is the most defensive-minded I've seen Lamar this year. He didn't do a ton going forward, but he did have four interceptions, a tackle and even a clearance. But his passing was a bit of a mess in this one and I think he didn't play well enough on the offensive end in this game. He has to be able to do both at a high level to push the Sounders through the MLS Cup tournament.
Clint Dempsey: 6. Clint's passing was way off in this game, hitting on just 60 percent of his passes. The troubles that he and Neagle and Martins had in that department are one of the reasons the Sounders couldn't get a shot off until Pappa arrived. I scored him a 6 here, but like Neagle, I think he has to play better in the coming weeks.
Obafemi Martins: 7. Oba wasn't much better than Dempsey or Neagle in this one, but then he went and made the key play that won the game, taking a quick restart and feeding Pappa on the game-winning goal. So he gets a 7 here from me.
Marco Pappa (72nd minute): 9. MOTM. The Sounders had four shots in this game and Marco took all of them. He had both goals, the second the kind of effort goal that endears a player to fans. This is two games in a row that adding Marco as a substitute completely changed the game. Give coach Sigi Schmid credit for his lineup and substitution, and give Marco all the credit in the world for coming in as a substitute and dominating a soccer game. I hope someday we'll see banners to Pappa for this performance like we see to Roger Levesque. This was a heroic performance that should go down in Sounders history. And really, two weeks' worth from Marco.
Djimi Traore (94th minute): incomplete.