Clint Dempsey has earned the highest performance ratings from Sounder at Heart readers in the 18 MLS games and three U.S. Open Cup matches the Seattle Sounders have played through July 13.
Dempsey has received an average of 7.42 from the community for his 10 appearances. Obafemi Martins is in second with a 7.14 for his 15 appearances. Regular readers of our player ratings features will recall that a 7 equals "very good" on the 1-10 scale. The idea any player could average above that rating for an entire season is pretty surprising to me. You expect players to have some off weeks.
In our rating system a 5.5 is roughly average - with 6 earning a "good" and 5 earning an "adequate." In this best of Sounders seasons the community has rated no player less than the 5.11 given to Michael Azira, or just better than adequate in starting appearances. And it's worth noting Azira has scored slightly higher in his six MLS substitute appearances and in his two starts and one substitute appearance in the Open Cup.
Below you will find the average of the averages for each player - that is, the scores reflected in this round-up reflect the average ratings a player has received calculated by adding all the game ratings and dividing by the number of appearances. I have separated out the starting numbers from the substitute appearances because I believe there is a difference between playing 75-90 minutes and playing fewer.
Clint truly is the team MVP so far this season. His 7.42 average rating is almost three-tenths of a point ahead of Martins and more than a half-point ahead of third-place Chad Marshall. He has received scores above 7 in six of his 10 MLS starts including an 8.71 in Portland April 5 and an 8.61 the next weekend in Dallas. Only Marshall has received a higher individual rating from readers this season.
Oba earned an 8.22 for his substitute appearance last weekend against Portland. He received a score higher than 8 in the win over Colorado in April, the May 7 victory over Dallas and the May 17 victory over San Jose. Readers have scored him higher than 7 in 10 of his 15 starts.
No one has been more consistent for as many games as Chad. He has started 17 of the Sounders 18 games and has averaged a 6.90 from readers. His rating was over 7 in eight of those starts, including an 8.96 - the highest individual score for any player in any match this season - in the May 3 victory over Philadelphia.
Ozzie is consistently very good, or close to it, in readers ratings. He has received a score above 7 for seven of his 17 starts and his lowest score, a 4.57 in the New England debacle, was still the highest of the starting 11 for that loss.
Admit it, you didn't expect Gonzalo to be such a fixture in the starting lineup when this year started. None of us did. Still, he has started 15 MLS games and two of the three Open Cup games. He didn't start the first two games of the year, but earned a 6.10 in a substitute appearance in the March 15 loss to Toronto. He then earned a 7.14 and a 6.73 in this first two starts the next two weeks. Sounder at Heart readers have quickly grown to love the player who always flashes a heart back to supporters after scoring a goal.
How does one make up for a poor early impression? Maybe we should ask Marco. After the first two games of the season, Marco was averaging a 4.23 from readers, including a 2.73 for a disastrous run-out in the loss to Toronto March 15, a loss that many people blame squarely on Marco's play. Still, he has a 6.27 average in his 13 MLS starts now and readers gave him an 8.25 in the May 31 4-0 win against Real Salt Lake, and a 7.75 in last weekend's victory over Portland. He has the highest rating of any Sounder in the Open Cup, earning a 7.33 in his start against San Jose and a 7.31 in his long substitute appearance in the extra-time victory over Portland.
Perhaps the most surprising story of this season so far, Zach has played well. Readers have rated him at 6.13 for his six MLS starts and 6.72 for his two Open Cup starts. At the beginning of the year it seemed like Zach might not even make it off the bench much this season. Instead he has become a regular fixture in the starting 11 and a high-performer in the eyes of the Sounder at Heart community.
Leo hasn't appeared in as many games as some of the other regular starters, but readers have been generally pleased, scoring him over a 6 three times and never lower than 5.71 - that kind of consistent score reflects the consistent play of the man.
Chad has been a pleasant surprise for the Sounders this year after a couple of down years in other locations. He has played in 14 MLS games, starting six, and in all three Open Cup games, starting one. His overall scores don't compare to the starting strikers for the Sounders, but they are about equal to Cooper, his compatriot on the second-string of the Sounders attack. He earned better than a 7 from readers one time, in the 4-0 victory over Salt Lake in May.
Stefan has had an up and down season, ratings wise, receiving higher than a 6 in 11 MLS starts, but also a 3.59 in the 2-2 tie in Vancouver May 24 and a 3.44 in the 5-0 loss in New England. Readers gave him a 7.64 for the win over Portland in the U.S. Open Cup, his only appearance in that tournament.
Kenny has been a jack of all trades for the Sounders this season, with eight MLS starts, two Open Cup starts, eight MLS substitute appearances and one Open Cup sub appearance. Readers liked the work in the Open Cup the best, with his two starts earning him a 7.03. His ratings for MLS work have been lower, 5.85 for his starts and 5.60 for his substitute appearances.
Brad has been pretty limited this year, starting only half of the MLS games due to injury. His score in those starts has reflected a more-limited contribution, including two scores below 5 as a starter in an MLS game. His three starts in the Open Cup have earned him much higher praise, coming close to a 7 average rating.
We have had a lot of discussions about Lamar this season in the player ratings threads, but his score here is not bad. He is just behind Evans for an average score and just below a 6. He is very slightly ahead of Yedlin. His one substitute appearance earned him raves, and his work as an Open Cup starter is also above a 6.
Perhaps the most surprising average on here, DeAndre is below a 6 for his 12 MLS starts so far. He received the second-lowest score of the year so far, a 2.94, for his work in the 5-0 loss in New England on May 11. Readers have given him higher than a 6 for six of his MLS starts, though.
When Jalil first played on April 5 he received a 3.42 for a shaky shift at center back in the 4-4 draw in Portland. He has rebounded quite nicely since reappearing in the starting lineup on May 17 and is almost at a 6 for his two Open Cup starts.
As mentioned in the introduction above, Michael has the lowest average starting rating for MLS games of any Sounder, with all three of his ratings from MLS starts below the mythical average of 5.5. His fared much better in his two Open Cup starts and has an average rating above 6 in that competition.
Fabio had a pretty good first few minutes in his substitute appearance in the U.S. Open Cup and ended up earning a 5.56 from readers. He is no longer with the team but I know we all wish him well. Once a Sounder, always a Sounder.
Cam is an Open Cup specialist at this point, starting all three of those games and earning his highest rating of the season, a 5.58, in the opening win against PSA Elite. He also has three short substitute appearances in MLS play.
Here is the spreadsheet used to make this report for you to download if you wish. It also includes all of Scott's ratings for the season: Player ratings spreadsheet through July 13