Here is a key to the standard 1-10 scale.
7. Very good
10. World Class
Back when the Seattle Sounders lost 5-0 in New England, I cautioned against overreacting. I'll do the same after this week's 3-0 home loss to L.A. Galaxy.
That said, the first 45 minutes of last night's game were a complete nightmare. As you know, I keep track of positive and negative impact plays for all the Sounders on the pitch. Never before has the cumulative number of the group reached as low as it did last night. I scored the 11 players on the field a cumulative minus-30 in impact plays the first half. What's interesting to me about that is it wasn't that one player who was just horrible, it was nearly everyone. Only Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle weren't below zero at halftime.
Things got a little better in the second half, but only a little. Dempsey ended up with a positive score in my notebook, as did Michael Azira. The other substitutes, Chad Barrett and Tristan Bowen ended up even. And Stefan Frei had a couple of good saves in the second half to raise him to even as well. Still, that leaves eight players in this game who had negative scores in my impact plays notebook.
Enter your ratings; then read on to see how I scored the players individually in the loss. Then perhaps forget this game ever happened.
Stefan Frei: 5. As I mentioned, Stefan ended up even in my notebook thanks to a couple of nice saves in the second half that drew him back from the negative. He was adequate in this game, a 5, but no more.
DeAndre Yedlin: 4. DeAndre made poor decisions on two of the three goals. He had a few really nice touches in the offensive end at the end of the first half and in the second, that raised him up to a "flawed" 4 from what could have been worse.
Jalil Anibaba: 4. Jalil has looked so good lately that it's easy to write this off and move on, and I hope he does so and rebounds accordingly. That said, his clearances almost always went to a Galaxy player who immediately turned around and restarted the attack. I guess we all realize how special Chad Marshall is in that respect having watched how poorly Jalil and Zach Scott cleared the ball in this game.
Zach Scott: 4. The thing I think that bothered me the most about the play from Zach and Anibaba is that they were often up contesting balls near the center stripe. When they won them, the ball went to a Galaxy player almost every time, and when they didn't they had to turn and run like crazy because they were so, so far out of position. It was so noticeable that I wonder if it was on purpose. Did the Sounders really try to man-mark from a high line? Was that the game plan? If so, it really failed. And finally I'll add that Zach and Anibaba were way out of contact with each other way too many times. There were huge gaps between them that you should just never see with center backs as the play gets to the 18-yard box.
Dylan Remick: 4. It's been quite a while since we saw Dylan in a starting spot and he looked very rusty, with poor passing, snail-like decision making and a real hesitancy to close out players right in front of him. Dylan tied for the lowest score in my impact plays notebook. He looked really out of sorts.
Osvaldo Alonso: 4. It pains me to give Ozzie a score this low. The guy is a warrior. But in this game he was uncharacteristically messy. I had him at minus-5 in my notebook, tied for third worst on the team. There were a couple times in the second half when it seemed he had calmed the game down and was back to his normal self, tackling balls and moving up field. But even in the second half he lost the ball within 25 yards of his own goal. I'm sure this has happened at some time since 2009, but I can't remember when.
Gonzalo Pineda: 4. Gonzalo's had his worst performance as a Sounder in this one. I had him tied with Remick with the lowest score in my notebook. It wasn't so much that he was terrible throughout the game; it's that he had no positive plays worth mentioning. His number of passes attempted was down, his completion rate was below his best, and his corners weren't threatening. I will say I'm not worried. Every player is entitled to one of these a year. Here's hoping for a big bounce-back next week.
Lamar Neagle: 5. Lamar's passing completion percentage was a pretty dismal 62 percent in this one, but unlike the poor passing out of the back, Lamar's poor passes at least didn't lead to direct chances. I think what saved him from a lower score in my book was a couple of really good defensive plays. He was certainly more effective helping the defenders than the other wide midfielder.
Marco Pappa: 4. Worst performance for Marco since his early-season disaster. He wasn't as directly culpable in the goals as he was back then, but he certainly didn't help much. The Galaxy's high pressure really messed with his "slow-play on the ball" style, forcing him in to mistakes in the first half. He fared better in the second half when the Galaxy backed off and parked the bus. I think the thing that bothered me the most is that Marco was too slow to recognize what was happening in the game. He was his usual free-flowing self, moving to the ball and spending as much time in the center of the park as on his wing. But at one point I noticed he and Neagle not more than 10 yards apart, Neagle on the left sideline and Marco playing to the left center of midfield. When the ball was turned over was it any surprise that the Galaxy ran out freely on the opposite side of the field? I would like to see a little better game-tactics awareness. This positioning situation led to a lot of clean runs and chances for the Galaxy.
Clint Dempsey: 6. MOTM Clint is the only starter to receive a "good" score from me and thus receives my man of the match. I had him at a plus-4 in my notebook. I'm convinced that if the other players had played up to their own levels that Clint could have made a difference in this one. He looked on while many others looked way off.
Obafemi Martins: 5. Sometimes it seems like getting caught in possession spreads like a virus on the Sounders. Neagle has that happen relatively often. Pappa less so, but often enough, and more than normal in this game. And Oba had the same problem. Whoscored.com had him with five turnovers and dispossessed three times. The good news is that when Oba loses the ball the other team has to run 80 yards and build up an attack. The same cannot be said for when the defenders cough up the ball on their side of the field, which happened a lot in the first half last night.
Chad Barrett: (45th minute): 5. Chad seemed full of fire and ready to help lead a comeback early in his shift. But he faded rather quickly after the outburst on the foul call he didn't like.
Tristan Bowen: (65th minute): 5. Tristan had one really nice pass in the attack. He also lost the ball inexplicably a couple times out on the left wing.
Michael Azira: (81st minute): 6. Michael played fairly well in his 14 minutes at left back. It probably helps that the Galaxy really weren't trying to score anymore. I gave him two positive notes in my impact plays notebook, including one for a nice shot on goal from distance.