Here is a key to the standard 1-10 scale.
7. Very good
10. World Class
I don’t think Seattle Sounders FC were great on Saturday, but they were good enough to get a point on the road in Vancouver, and that was good enough on a day without Clint Dempsey, Chad Marshall, DeAndre Yedlin and Brad Evans in the starting 11.
I didn’t think a draw was possible for the first 10 minutes of the game, when the Sounders could barely get a foot on the ball, but after surviving an early onslaught Marco Pappa took control for a while, slowing down the game, moving to the middle for a time and helping the Sounders gain some possession. During the next 20 minutes or so I scored Pappa very high in my notebook. I had him at plus-6 in the first half; no other Sounder had more than a plus-1. Pappa did not figure in either Sounders goal, but I gave him my Man of the Match because before he decided to take control when it looked like the Sounders could get blown out again like they did in New England.
Here’s how I scored all of the players in Saturday’s performance.
Stefan Frei: 5. This number should or could be lower based on the truly boneheaded play by Stefan that led to Vancouver’s second goal. That kind of decision-making from a goal keeper is inexplicable. Just ridiculous. It should never happen that he is playing a ball that far outside of his own box back into play. Still, he had four saves in this game and three of them were truly spectacular. With only those saves I would normally have scored him a 7 or 8. With just the boneheaded play I would have scored him a 3 or 4. He ended up in-between.
Jalil Anibaba: 6. I thought Jalil played fine. He stayed home much of the game and then added a little more to the attack as the Sounders tried to rally. His passing wasn’t great, completing only around 60 percent of his attempts, but I thought he was solid in defense all day. He seems to be much more comfortable as a right back than a center back.
Zach Scott: 6. Zach continues to make an argument he should be starting every game. He had a couple of strong tackles, won some headers and was good in passing with a couple of obvious exceptions. I wouldn’t argue he is a better player than Djimi Traore, but he has performed better as of late.
Djimi Traore: 5. I thought Djimi was adequate. He still goes to ground way too often for my liking, including on Vancouver’s first goal. I don’t understand it. He was nowhere near tackling that ball. Wouldn’t standing up big be a better option? Maybe one of you can explain it to me. Djimi’s play this year reminds me a bit of John Kennedy Hurtado the last couple years. It’s OK at times, but I’m not sure it’s good enough for him to be a starter every week in MLS.
Leo Gonzalez: 6. Gonzales had the most tackles of the defenders and had some decent combinations with Pappa. A good solid outing, nothing more.
Osvaldo Alonso: 6. I think maybe Saturday’s game is what we are going to see from Ozzie this year. There was one play when he was completely beaten with pace right up the heart of the defense. And of course he was turned twice on the first Vancouver goal and made to look silly. But then later in the game he was tackling like mad and running people down and putting some bite into the game. He ended up with the second-highest score in my impact plays notebook, thanks partly to his 90-plus percent passing and his five tackles. His first half wasn’t great, his second half was better.
Gonzalo Pineda: 6. I guess we are just going to have to expect Gonzalo to connect fewer passes than Alonso and make a fewer tackles. It was great to see him get the penalty kick goal. He took it with some style. I think everyone can agree that wasn’t a PK, but that’s not Gonzalo’s problem and he stepped up and got the goal that earned the point.
Chad Barrett: 6. Aaah, soccer. Chad Barrett had the lowest rating in my notebook of the starting 11. But then he scored a goal right out of the blue. He had the worst pass-completion rating of the starters and at times looked a little lost, but he scored a goal. To me his mixed results earn a 6.
Marco Pappa: 7. MOTM. As I mentioned above, I thought Marco’s decision to start controlling possession changed this game. He had the most touches of any Sounders player, completed more than 80 percent of his passes and led the team in tackles. That’s right, he led the team in tackles, at least according to whoscored.com. I thought he helped in defense a lot more than we are used to seeing. He wasn’t as effective in the second half, and was never really goal-dangerous, but someone needed to jump in and help the Sounders play soccer rather than kick and chase and Marco was the one who did it this game.
Kenny Cooper: 6. Kenny isn’t really taking advantage of his opportunity to shine with Dempsey gone. I had him slightly above average in this one, but really with very few notes at all in my impact plays notebook; the most obvious positive being the assist on the first goal.
Obafemi Martins: 6. Oba had a couple of really nice moments in this game, and I thought his shot near the end was going in. But he didn’t get a lot of help in the attack in this one and because of that had little impact. His passing percentage was back down this week too. Good but not great here.
Brad Evans (56th minute): 7. Brad earns his 7 not so much on "impact plays" but more for the fact he played a very solid center back for much of his time on the field. I scored him at a plus-3, mostly for winning headers and playing rock solid defense. That tied Martins for the third-highest positive notes in my notebook, despite the fact brad only played 40 minutes. Jack of all trades and a true professional.
Michael Azira: (71st minute): 6. Michael added nothing to the attack from the right midfield spot, but he played very solid defense and I ended up making a couple of positive notes on him in his 20-minute appearance without any negative ones.
Cam Weaver: (79th minute): 5.With the 6 minutes of added time, Cam ended up putting in more than 16 minutes, which is enough for me to rate his appearance, I think. I don’t have a lot to say about it though. He looked like a guy that doesn’t get much of a run out at this level. He did earn the penalty kick, but I don’t think that had much to do with him, or with the defender either. That one was all on the referee.