Of the 314 player ratings this week a whopping 83% voted Jaime Penedo as the best non-Sounder. The LA Galaxy keeper earned the respect of the Seattle Sounders fans. Second place was Alan Gordon with just 8% of the vote. Mostly we care about the Sounders. Let's hit up realio's ratings for the match.
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I was pretty down on the game after watching it on TV, but the re-watch actually made me feel better as there were a lot of quality play to be happy with. The defense looks to be a strength. We created some good opportunities that maybe another player finishes (where have we heard that before?) There was a really weird polarizing effect for lots of players that was evident while rating, with many players having a really rough second half after doing great the first, or vice versa. It made it very hard to rate certain players who had such drastically different scores per half.
Community - 6.41
Realio - 7
Stefan Frei rather quietly had a great game. Unlike other games where he didn't have much to do, Frei had to deal with 16 shots. Even though only 4 were on frame, there was a lot of organization of the chess pieces in front of him that went into only letting in the one goal. There is nothing to blame Frei for on the goal itself, and I really like how he has started to command the area for the majority of the game.
I had one negative clearance out of bounds and other than that Frei owned the box to the tune of a +7 in my scorebook with good aerial domination, no hesitation on step outs, and nice saves (no rebounds, etc.). The best was definitely the save in the 48th minute on Rogers near post, a wonderful reaction save that kept the Sounders in the game and was worth a goal. Frei was one of the few who weren't mentally still in the locker room 5 minutes into the second half.
Community - 6.39
Realio - 7
One of the things I was really happy about on the re-watch was how well the defense played. They were really good, and once again Remick was the best of the bunch in my book. An easy +8 for Dylan who is filling up the stat sheets with a lethal combination of solid defense (5 times noted) and quality overlapping attacking runs (another 5 times) It is this ability to affect the game in both directions that is really exciting to see and something to build into the future.
Stuff like the inch perfect cross to Neagle that almost became a header goal is really nice to see and hopefully is rewarded next time. There is room for improvement though, some bad passes to the midfield need to be cleaned up, and Marshall got a yellow card trying to clean up a rough header clearance.
I don't think Dylan is better than Leo yet, but his play the last few weeks has been enough to be confident switching them off as needed. I also love to see Remick running hard late; he was one of the few who had stuff left in the tank and someone whose play didn't suffer in the second half.
Community - 6.40
Realio - 7
This is a bit under a 7 rounded up and again shows that a fairly average day for Marshall is still better than your average MLS CB. He wins headers, makes good decisions, and does just about everything right although there were a few cracks in Marshall's game on Sunday that came through in my book.
It was noteworthy that it was Marshall's foul that gave the free kick LAG scored on, and he committed another one in a similar fashion and location a bit later in the game. Although nothing came of that second foul and I wouldn't worry about this too much right meow I will be keeping an eye on this trend.
Other than these few slipups, Marshall makes defending look really easy. (It's not!) In the 32nd minute Chad made Zardes look foolish by reading his give and go attempt and running the "go" better than Zardes. Nice try kid. Between Marshall and Evans, Zardes was a non-factor in this game.
Community - 5.99
Realio - 7
Another week, another dominant CB performance by the "weaker" of the 2 CBs. Remember the San Jose game? Me neither. Evans is really finding his place in the back 4, and looks much more comfortable back there.
There are still some speedbumps along the way, none worse than a challenge on Zardes in the box that was reaching and could have been PK worthy (I thought so and so will Borg). Also, Evans failed to clear correctly out of bounds in the 49th minute, which I know he has stated he's working on. After this there was not another negative note about Evans in my book.
The best trend from watching Evans is he is developing into a playmaker from the back. Building confidence, he is able to step up more and its showing as he is dispossessing people and starting counters. In the 9th minute he does just this, bypassing a clogged midfield to find the run of a forward in a nice direct play.
It is really exciting to see our defense become a strength both defensively (only giving up 4 goals all year) and starting to support the offense from central positions as well.
Community - 5.97
Realio - 6
This is probably the worst game Tyrone has had as a Sounder yet is still playing at an average MLS right back level. Mears plays solid, if unspectacular defense, and mixes in some overlapping runs when appropriate. One thing I really like is that Mears finds the right pass when he's attacking. This was evident in the first half multiple times where his crosses were excellent. He covered for an early bad pass from the back, and made a real nice attacking run in 12'.
I felt at times in the first half Mears wasn't on the same page as Roldan, who was pinching in a lot — I am assuming to allow overlap play, but it didn't seem effective for either of them. I put most of the blame on Rose for losing his mark on the goal but it is notable that Mears completely lost his mark (Zardes) as well and the play most likely ends in a goal even if Gordon isn't there.
Mears really seemed to tire and lost effectiveness somewhere between the 70-75 minute mark. After a nice buildup a tired cross from Mears was disappointing and he followed up with 4 tired passes starting at 84 minutes that were direct turnovers. Chasing a point late isn't going to be successful if players are this out of gas.
I worry that Mears doesn't have a quality backup option like Leo and will wear down this season if forced to play every minute of every game (also the hammy issue). This is something to keep an eye on especially if he is going to get more touches a game than Ozzie Alonso (2nd most on team behind Pappa somehow).
Cristian Roldan (off 81')
Community - 6.00
Realio - 6
This was another Sounder who had a very bi-polar game. First half Roldan was barely earning a 5 rating and looked lost. He gave away possession multiple times, was beat easily by Rogers on two occasions that led to really nice shots on goal, and he made some silly defensive plays like leaving his feet and being dribbled around. I could see him pushing to try to do something instead of letting the game come to him and it showed in how disjointed the right side with Mears was in the first half.
Luckily there are two halves to a game and I'm willing to bet the difference in his second half score (high 7 rating earned) is due to some solid halftime coaching. Second half Cristian Roldan was great. He had a nice +8 in the scorebook on the half with good passing, nice give and go play, vision, and effort. It was a Roldan pass that sprang Neagle for the Rose shot that was perhaps the best chance of the game. Multiple times it was Roldan vision that opened up the field as LAG played negative soccer. Cristian made great runs and quality crosses and was very active in the second half.
One thing that struck me repeatedly while reviewing is that Roldan is the attacking player I wish a few other guys could be more of. Roldan plays FORWARD SOCCER. He looks to move the ball vertically and isn't scared to go over the top. It was really needed in this game and refreshing to see a player willing to attack directly, vs dribbling backwards or making square passes. I am not sold that he is a winger, but I think the Sounders found something in the second half to unlock some of his potential to affect MLS level games.
Community - 5.36
Realio - 6
My heart wanted to give Rose a 5 for what I saw on the field but the notebook said that Andy turned in an average MLS performance. This is because even though there isn't a single notable play from Rose for the first nearly 20 minutes of the game, he did a lot of workmanlike, solid things in the middle of the field. This includes winning headers, a few off the ball runs, and clogging the middle with Alonso.
Rose did a lot of ok things and had only one real negative mark against him, but that mark was pretty rough. How hard do you penalize Rose for losing his mark on the goal? Other than that and perhaps going down a bit easy again I didn't have Rose doing much wrong (granted that's a pretty big wrong).
My biggest complaint other than losing a mark on a free kick is that Rose just doesn't look to move the ball forward. This puts a ton of pressure on the wingers to move the ball and is evidenced by Pappa and Mears getting the most touches on the night. Rose rarely turns when dribbling (or dribbles at all) and rarely takes a touch towards his attacking goal unless it's a header or a late run into the box. This is good for possession but bad for offensive soccer. Rose still just looks so much more comfortable without the ball at his feet. I think we need a center mid who does more than manage the game, and pass back to the CBs or wide to the wingers. Much like Neagle last game, this was a chance to break out for Rose, and while competent, I was disappointed.
Community - 6.69 MOTM
Realio - 8 MOTM
Ozzie was the best player on the field and it wasn't that close. LAG used to be able to counteract him in the midfield with both Juninho and Sarvas hacking at him for 90 minutes but with one gone Ozzie ran rampant. I have him at a whopping +11 which was very close to deserving of a 9. Zardes got around him once to create a PK shout and he fouled Gordon for a dangerous set piece (followed by a pretty amazing stare down from the Honey badger that I really hope Likkit caught) but those were really the only 2 things I saw.
What did Ozzie do right? How about stopping counterattacks single handedly three times, stealing 5 passes in the midfield, constant great control in tight spaces and both disrupting LAG attacks and facilitating forward Sounders movement. Ozzie was everywhere, and just looked fantastic to me. Last game I was a bit worried about some fitness issues that seemed to poke through but late game there was Ozzie carrying the ball continuously forward. If the CBs took Zardes out of the game, it was Ozzie who straight up shipped Juninho to Timbuctoo. This was a really good effort from Alonso and if we can find some help for him in the form of the right CM option, Dempsey available to facilitate, dynamic wing play etc., Ozzie looks back and as good as ever.
Marco Pappa (off 89')
Community - 5.79
Realio - 6
One of the funny things that happens when I'm doing these ratings is sometimes it's hard to rate someone because they do so little notable actions you can't really get a feel for how they performed. Marco Pappa vs LAG wasn't one of those people. He was the opposite. I have a TON of notes on his play, however they are spread out over both good and bad marks, ultimately equivocating to an average MLS outing for Marco.
Pappa filled up the notebook with good crosses and bad crosses, nice passes and unforced turnovers, defensive help to win the ball as well as "no defense just watching" notes. It has to be even more infuriating to coach a player like this than rate, and it was really hard for me to get any sense of his play.
Pappa has such talent and ability to impress upon the game, yet does some really silly stuff. A random free kick across the field square for a 50/50 ball in the 27th made me wonder what in the world he was thinking. After playing Ole' defense for a while Marco tracked back and twice won great tackles around the box to stop Galaxy forays. He follows up a lot of bad decisions with nice passes to spring attacks, great vision and a desire to penetrate with creativity that was sorely needed. There was a lot going on my notebook about Marco and it all added up to a net zero.
Community - 6.12
Realio - 6
Oba has an ok game against Houston, does a 360 dipsy doo goal and earns a higher score for giving us 3 points, then follows that up with an ok game without the goal and earns an average score. There is just so much weight in soccer on actually putting the ball into the net (as evidenced by an outplayed Galaxy scoring and holding on) that in a game like this Oba needed to score to really differentiate himself in my notebook.
What was remarkable this game was that most of Oba's positive marks for me this week were due to things he did without the ball (perhaps an underrated part of Martins' game) I have him for 6 really stellar runs to attack as well as 3 great off ball movement that opened up room for others. It was no secret that LAG was collapsing on Oba to the tune of 3-4 defenders every time he touched the ball. His skill showed in his ability to still play well with that much attention and facilitate others. Many of Neagle's strong runs were aided by an equally strong off ball move that opened space by Oba.
Because he demands the ball a lot Oba will have a few turnovers, and this game was no different. His elbow for a yellow was pretty unnecessary and it looked like he lost his cool a few times at the Galaxy grabbing and swarming him constantly.
Oba missed the space that Dempsey opens up for him, as well as Clint's soccer knowledge which allows them to work so well together. There was a lot of good here, but ultimately an average rating.
Neagle (off 74')
Community - 6.61
Realio - 7
A lot of people probably gave Neagle an 8, or higher (21%, while 6% gave him a four or less), and I really wrestled with how to quantify a striker who did good things but ultimately didn't score. Add to my confusion a somewhat similar performance from Barrett vs Dallas and all kinds of debates about how to rate good chances vs. luck etc. I came up with a 7 and it really comes down to GOALS CHANGE GAMES. Was Neagle's game with 0 goals really 5 ratings higher than Barrett's game with 0? Either of them putting just one of their chances in would have given the Sounders a much higher potential for points, but neither did and I think both the Dallas rating for Chad and this rating for Lamar are fair.
What did I love about Neagle in this game? How about starting off with a bang: forcing a turnover with hustle in the 2nd minute, following that up with a good look to Oba in the 7th and header on goal in the 9th. Neagle came out ready to play and was very active. The first half was the Neagle show on offense, putting through good balls, making efficient runs, and again almost scoring in the 22nd minute off a wonderful Remick service.
With every Neagle game comes the turnovers, and there were a few of those. Being in advanced position his turnovers rarely hurt anything other than an attacking chance but I noted 5 or so. I would have loved to see him not whiff on an open volley in the 10th minute off a nice corner that should have been a goal. There were a lot of "should have been a goal" that are really hard to rate from headers and shots directly at Pinedo. A nicer pass to Oba in the 32nd would have a very high potential for ending in flips, as well as another late where Lamar pushed a breakaway near post into a waiting Pinedo with Oba an easy tap-in far post available.
Other than a good run to get the near post shot off referenced above, I thought Neagle was poor in the second half. I noted Lamar looked tired in the 63rd minute and apparently Sigi agreed. People saying we took off the wrong striker need to review the lack of movement and loud touches Neagle started to exhibit early in the second half. He worked really hard in the first and came off just about the same time as he came off the previous game so that might just be his cap.
If Lamar had just scored, it's an easy 8 in my book and makes my life easier, but he didn't. At the end of the day Neagle played above average, got in good positions, and had some shots. This score reflects that, not "what could have been". I believe he will need to work on maintaining effort for longer than 60 minutes. He did show that right meow he is a better striker than winger.
Chad Barrett (on 74')
Community - 4.77
Oh Chad Barrett played? Seriously he did little to affect the game. Once he covered back for Roldan on defense while Cristian attacked. Once he was well offside and passed the ball to Kovar for a shot that confused everyone. That's all that showed up in my book.
Aaron Kovar (on 81')
Community - 5.15
Realio - 5
Not much to rate here from a quiet 9 minute shift. I would have liked to see him get a bit more time to see if he could affect the game with his service from set pieces and throws. The service he did send in was great, and he only lost possession once that I rated. Could have done better on the 1v1 with Pinedo, but was a wonky play all around.
Victor Mansaray (on 89')
Community - 4.87
Realio - NA
Not enough time to rate. I think the sub was also a bit too late since all you are doing at 89' is running more clock for LAG at that point.
Community - 6.34
Realio - 8
Best referee since Guzman opening night. Showed a good yellow to Gargan, and made equal yellow calls on Oba/Husidic for elbows. His play on call with Barrett offside was a really amazing call and shows his skills as a ref.
I think he missed the Omar elbow and his AR or SOMEONE should have seen it. Missed another yellow on a blatant hold as Alonso churned by a midfielder - these calls could have changed the game a lot. Odd stoppage for Rogers's injury.
Geiger was strong, fair, and didn't hog the limelight. Lots to like.
I'm sure the Neagle rating will dominate the conversation and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I was surprisingly pleased with the play on the field after watching a second time, our defense has a chance to be special and our motor in the middle appears to be back. Getting all the parts healthy and available should help.