At various points in the night the zero-zero draw would bring joy, frustration and despair. Oddly enough the 331 community ratings have a solid grasp of the centerpoint as Seattle Sounders FC went into Frisco and stole a point from FC Dallas while missing its five best players.
Defensive players were well rewarded for holding the high-flying Dallas attack to no shots on goal. Attacking players did not fare as well since the Sounders also got no shots on goal. "Other" won best non-Sounder. This was almost certainly due to the form creator leaving Fabian Castillo out of the options.
The ratings reviews are again provided by Realio
Realio - 6
Community - 6.27
How do you rate a keeper who doesn't have a recorded shot on goal against? For me I focused on communication and ownership of the box.
While not having to do much, Frei came out nice in the 26th to attack a ball, and I noted at least one more time where he came off his line assertively and quickly. Both shots that were dangerous but missed (crossbar from Michel, Castillo wide to his right) were covered as good as you can expect a keeper to do and I doubt either being on goal actually scores.
On the flip side Frei had a few times I really would like to have seen him come out on corners, and got caught in no man's land on a free kick. At the end of the game it looked like he almost made up his mind before the kick was taken, and then missed the clearance. A clean sheet vs. that team in that situation is what I expect a MLS average keeper to do. I would like to point out what I believe the first short goal kick of the season (to Evans) which I liked a lot.
Realio - 6
Community - 6.31
I wasn't as enamored with Leo's game this week. Granted he was matched up with pretty much the worst possible player for his style, but his play overall was average.
As always there were plenty of Smart Leo Positioning (SLP x 3) highlighted by a complete shutdown of Castillo in the 41st by using his body for another. Leo's crosses have been great this year including one to Barrett that should have at least forced a save, if not earned an assist.
This was a matchup that really made Leo work. He lost a few passes badly; I had him marked down for giving up 2 free kicks in bad spots. Leo was also exposed by pace 4 times, the worst being by Castillo in the 32nd which was cleaned up behind him (see below) as well as one the late one that cost him a yellow.
I am pretty sure average MLS left backs get beat by Castillo pretty often, and probably an outing you will take from anyone in these circumstances.
Realio - 7
Community - 6.27
This is a bit under a 7 rounded up, but extremely warranted based on my notebook for ZS:MM. The ageless one stepped in and played really well. The usual strengths of his game were on display with 4 defensive headers and 3 times stopping a breakaway with good tackles. Scott even had a nice defensive header that went directly to Neagle, who put Barrett in on goal which should have given them both assists.
Scott still over commits on defense sometimes, and is prone to climbing a bit. His aggressive nature was pretty well reigned in, although I noted twice where he put the team in a rough spot with over aggression. He was beat for speed twice.
I have been one of the bigger Scott critics around here and love to be proven wrong as he continues to play at a higher than expected level. I want to point out 2 things he did that really show how experienced he is. In the 32nd minute Leo is beat fairly badly, and Scott immediately covers for him. What I loved seeing was Scott communicating with Leo instantly and closing down Castillo. A lesser player hesitates and is beaten. Even more impressive to me was a play in the 5th minute where Hollingshead gets the ball top of the 18 posted and drops it off for Texiera rounding him and then tries to run a pick on Scott. This play was a goal for Mauro Diaz in a game last year. Scott glances back to track Texiera as he's going to help on Hollingshead then deftly skips around the pick try and pressures Texiera. Go watch it, the peek back followed by the skip by is just a really awesome veteran play that gets lost in the game flow but really impressed me.
Realio - 8 Man of Match
Community - 6.31
I was really impressed by Evans this game. I was surprised as the game wore on just how many notes I had in the Evans column. Guys, any question whether or not he can play CB should be put to rest. Whether he can play at a high level consistently is yet to be seen but there was enough here to convince me that Evans can be a really good central defender.
I have Evans with a plus 10 earning over an 8 rating (9 vs a full team). You want assertive defensive headers? How about 8 of them from Evans. You want headers that are directed to people? Done, the best being in the 23rd minute when he calmly passed a perfect header to Mears under heavy pressure from a forward perfectly in stride to start the other way. Evans covered for Scott when he needed to, and this week made the correct clearance to touch (you can't score from the sideline!) twice. He is learning quickly and it showed throughout.
Brad had his first noticeable issue in the 55th minute where he had a mis-communication with Mears. And that's about it for mistakes.
I am telling you; if Chad Marshall had the exact same game that Brad Evans had you would be raving at how amazing he is back there. Brad was really good in this game and gives me a monster hope of special defense this year. As bad as last week looked, this was completely opposite. I'll give it the biggest compliment I know: That was Marshall-esque.
Realio - 7
Community - 6.66 Man of Match
I'll readily admit the defensive numbers are going to be skewed some as the man advantage lends itself to defense more than offense. That being said, Tyrone was really good in this game and earned his 7 rating with a plus 6 in my book. I am starting to expect really good overlaps (of which there were 4), won corner kicks, and solid crosses (3) sprinkled in with some really solid defensive positioning. Most of the attacks that went to Mears ended up going the other way. I really appreciate that he picks his time correctly when to attack.
I do think that he could have joined the attack more, especially with a man advantage. Unfortunately crossing in to a tiny forward wasn't going to work and the midfield didn't support much. I saw an uncharacteristic mistake of not being goal side of an attacker early which Evans cleaned up for him. I also didn't like seeing the cross in the 31st minute that was not quality and across the middle of the field, which ended up being a turnover and potential counter attack.
Its a compliment that an average game from Mears rates as above average for MLS
Christian Roldan (off in 59)
Realio - 5
Community - 5.48
Roldan might be getting a bit hard done by my lack of decimals here, as this is about a 5.5 but I just don't think he earned a 6 with his play. First off, let's just remember he played I think 2 full games the same week and put in winger effort in both. His effort is always there, and this really shows in the defensive side of his game. Christian is consistently tracking back to support the fullbacks. An example of his fitness is his best moment came right before subbing out, when he put a fantastic ball in for a Barrett chance. This is an easy goal if either of those 2 high paid guys are on the field.
I was a bit disappointed in Roldan's lack of creativity in the winger spot and could see him really concentrating on defense first, even with a man advantage. He had a few rough turnovers (3 in my notebook) and at times looked overmatched by his opponents. Really didn't like seeing the rookie stop during a play and whine at the ref for not giving him a call.
This was a good game to temper some of the "Roldan should start over x" player talk. He's young, he's very very good, but he needs to improve some and may be better fit to play centrally.
Realio - 6
Community - 5.76
Where Roldan was a mid 5 I rounded down, Pineda was rounded up. I was surprised when I re-watched the game as I thought Pineda completely awful on first glance. Compiling my notes, I actually had him at a plus 4 in impact plays which is amazing to me. Most of this was because of 2 things: he seemed the only midfielder even trying to work the ball forward and he took all the set pieces.
Pineda had 5 really solid and dangerous corner kicks, consistent position on his set pieces, and a few nice crosses in transition, all that might have been more dangerous with different personnel. I didn't like his 5 unforced turnovers and lost possessions but most weren't in key areas that threatened our own goal.
Pineda looks like he is really missing the space that Alonzo provides him. The pairing in the middle is getting really jumbled up and without dynamic playmakers around them, there is no creativity. Also, when Pineda tires, he has bad square passes like the one to Leo in the 86th that almost really cost us and stops being aggressive forward. This was an average (if only barely) performance.
Micheal Azira (off in 85)
Realio - 5
Community - 5.17
While those other 2 mids I talked about were mid 5 ratings, this is a mid 4 rounded up. I can forgive a lot of the midfield issues with the depleted lineup, but SPACING IS IMPORTANT. Azira was consistently out of position and too close to Pineda. I like his toughness, and his tackling is reminiscent of another mid we have healing. He covers defense first and does a good job marking runners who Pineda misses. The scoop pass to Barrett was a little piece of magic I didn't know he had in his arsenal.
Unfortunately it's just unacceptable to give up SIX free kicks in dangerous position to a team that relies on set pieces and is also down a man. You want to minimize set pieces that allow a depleted team to increase numbers in the box. He rightly got a yellow for persistent infringement (in a dangerous spot) and forced Sigi into a sub of an unproven rookie. Diving in on defense is a no-no as well as the really bad square ball he sent to Leo in the 61st that almost got him killed/led to a counter.
I wasn't impressed with Azira but I see why he's playing. He just gums up the middle and honestly reminds me of Chara a lot in his destroyer role. He did lead the team in shots I believe, which is ridiculous.
Realio - 4
Community - 5.27
Seeing the lineup I thought this was Neagle's game to shine. All that creative firepower gone but a formation allowing him to attack off the forwards shoulder/new contract, here was a good formula for success. Boy was I wrong. On my notebook I have 2 things. "Helped some on defense" which he did a time or 2 in support of Mears. And "good play to control Scott header, and good vision to see Barrett while making proper pass - should be an assist". That's it. I literally have a blank space under his name for impact plays. No crosses, maybe one dribble, nothing at all.
On the negative side there wasn't a ton either. Early I had a "quit on defense" which I really didn't like to see, as well as a note that Leo was yelling at him to come support. Of particular note was this gem "Is Lamar Neagle even on the field" in 35. Later he took the ball 1v3 and lost the ball leading to a counter attack, had 2 bad touch turnovers, and GOT OUT PHYSICALLED BY MICHEL. I am not seeing it folks. Lamar has yet to show much this year. There are hungry kids behind him.
Realio - 6
Community - 5.57
Andy Rose might have benefited by me not really knowing where he was supposed to play. I know where he was positioned, but he was kind of all over the place and so I really don't have a good basis to judge his positional awareness. That being said, I think he did a much better job than Azira attempting to keep spacing in the middle of the park. It's pretty clear to me that Rose is better at the late runs into the box (Evans circa 2010ish) and getting to the end line then trying to work combinations. I marked Rose a decent plus 5 based on some dynamic runs off the ball and movement (which at times he was the only one doing) as well as good linking of the midfield to the front. I liked his vertical runs over the top and these put some pressure on the center defense of Dallas.
Rose will never be more than an average MLS player until he gets better touch. 4 heavy touch turnovers at the least were noted in my book and even though they were advanced enough to not put us in bad positions, at least one stopped a good attack. I see Rose spending so much time trying to corral the ball that his attacking options get depleted by retreating defense and he is forced to go square/drop.
Chad Barrett (off in 75)
Realio - 3
Community - 4.07
I considered a 2 here. Let's talk positives, of which there were some. Chad consistently put pressure on the back 4; he had a few good holdups and runs that produced corner kicks. He covered for an out of position Neagle a few times as well (maybe they switched) Man he's sweaty.
UGH. Five turnovers. Twice not holding up when the team needed him to just control and alleviate pressure. And then:
Open header from Leo not on frame
Put in by Roldan which resulted in a bad touch and no shot on goal
Missed on the scoop pass from Azira when I felt he quit thinking he was off
Choked on the 1v1 provided by Neagle pass in the 72nd minute due to bad touch again.
If I'm going to dock defenders for giving up goals I need to dock strikers for not scoring them. This was a poor showing from a guy working hard but not producing. He didn't cause a loss, so a "below average USL player" rating is given. We saw some USL players for S2 show they can finish those chances.
Aaron Kovar ('60)
Realio - 6
Community - 5.86
This was a workmanlike shift by a guy quickly showing he's ready to step in if injuries/form/ etc call for someone with tenacity and set piece proficiency. While not quite as effective as his midweek showing, I saw a few good crosses along with a nice corner kick. I don't usually give points for just "touch" but he stopped multiple possible turnovers with sticky feet which was very impressive.
I had Kovar losing possession once and had both a rough set piece and corner service in the negative column. Other than that he had a good run, although just like the other mids very quiet on the stat sheet. One thing I loved seeing is the long throw, just another set piece tool he brings to the table.
Victor Mansaray (‘75)
Realio - 6
Community - 6.07
Here's another rating that might be artificially inflated. The causes of this are the small time he was on the field and the utter inability of the player he subbed on for to do much. That being said, I liked what I saw from a barely 18 year old thrust into a MLS first team match. He was confident on the ball and showed much much better hold up play then either Barrett or Neagle did. I liked his angles when checking to the ball as well. In the 80th he had a nice pass to a near post Rose run that almost created a goal.
As I have pointed out in other threads, Mansaray looks very right footed, and teams will be able to exploit that at some point. Other than a pass out of bounds he really didn't make mistakes, however was unable to put his mark on the game much in his 15 minutes.
O'Neil Fisher ('85)
Realio - Not Rated
Community - 5.54, with only 37% rating
I didn't see enough to really rate him, although I did note his confidence on the ball. He seemed a bit "all energy no direction" which may be attributed to youth.
Realio - 7
Community - 5.98
This was an above average ref job especially when compared to last week. I think the red was justified and the advantage played both surprising and nice to see. He correctly overruled the AR and generally let play happen. I think he missed a card on Barrett as well as waited a bit long to card Azira for persistent infringement.
This game was hard to watch. I thought maybe it was because the first time I watched I had twin 2 year olds climbing all over me but no, it was just an ugly game that stayed ugly on second viewing. Lots of defense and bunkering. I lean towards the pleasantly surprised by a point on the road with 5 starters out rather than the mad we didn't win with man advantage mindset. I can't wait to see what the midfield looks like with Alonso back in it, and am excited about some young guys pushing for more minutes. My biggest concern is where Neagle went and how to fix midfield congestion. Really like what I saw from Evans and Scott this week. Oh, and VUVUZELAS SUCK.