Well that was something. Armed with a lineup of USL players and held together with duct tape, the Sounders nearly earned a result behind some desperate defending and a tremendous effort from the goalie. Instead the Seattle team left Philadelphia with zero points and a lot to learn from following a 0-1 loss to a lousy team.
Only 152 people returned valid ratings. Of those 59% said C.J. Sapong was the best non-Sounder. No other Union player received more than 11% support.
Stefan Frei (MotM)
Community - 8.20
Realio - 8
Stefan Frei was one of the few shining lights from this game and he kept it from possibly being ugly. He made a tremendous save on the penalty kick in the 32nd minute and also importantly smothered the rebound. The strong and confident save reflected his play lately and his ability was one of the main reasons the Sounders hung around in this one. When Ockford was beat in the 41st minute Frei was quick off his line to stop an attack.
In the 59th Stefan made an important save on a cross that turned into a shot and he almost saved the goal that was prompted by awful defending in front of him. In the 83rd minute Fred got behind the defense for a 1v1 with Frei and was gobbled up by Stefan to keep Seattle's slim chances at points intact.
Frei didn't score higher even with the PK save because I thought he was fairly poor during this game in defending his area. Other than the aforementioned Ockford miscue, Frei stayed fairly rooted to his line. He misplayed a corner in the 4th minute with an awkward punch and he needs to attack long throws better. The play that ended up as the penalty kick could have been avoided if Stefan attacked the ball and punched out. In the 46th minute he was again caught on his line.
I am not sure with Scott and Ockford this what the plan was in the back, but Stefan could have done himself a few favors by being more aggressive up the field. With good long service all game and tremendous shot stopping saves, Frei was the best player on the field for the Sounders.
Dylan Remick (off 81')
Community - 5.60
Realio - 5
Remick looks tired. He was repeatedly beat in this game and other than one early (7th min) service to Neagle and a few overlapping runs Dylan had his worst game of the season.
Dylan has shown he deserves to start for this team but he hasn't had a full MLS starting year and it may be showing. I rarely have seen Remick resort to going to ground to play defense and he did multiple times in this one. I believe that is an indication that he was tired and beat and making desperation plays. When your body is tired you make mental mistakes and Remick started to rack these up as the game progressed.
I am sure the Sounders scouted Sheanon Williams and his throws, so I am not sure why Dylan kept kicking the ball out for dangerous throw ins. Even if it wasn't scouted, he should have learned his lesson after the first goal was called off directly from a Remick concession of a throw.
Unfortunately Remick decided on a kicking clearance instead of trying to head the ball and he kicked Andrew Wenger in the face on the penalty call. I bet he was relieved it wasn't a red card, I sure was. I hope this game was a short term travel+congestion issue and not a sign of greater fatigue as we have seen much better play from Dylan this season.
Community - 4.68
Realio - 5
Making his first ever Sounders start; I wasn't expecting a ton from Jimmy Ockford. Unfortunately, he didn't exceed my expectations. At this point in his career Ockford looks to be a less polished Scott That is a double edged comment however, as although Scott has carved out a great and consistent career, he has had some really rough moments.
The less polished parts were very apparent at the beginning of the game as Jimmy arrived tentative and overwhelmed. I have rough notes such as "pointless clear to no one", "defensive header nowhere" "scared pass"etc. which were all indicative of a player who was a step behind the speed of the MLS game. Ockford seemed really intimidated by the pace of players (especially Sapong) and consistently gave too much cushion to the Philadelphia attack. This made a mess of the backline and left him ball watching and marking space instead of players. This was most evident during the goal scoring sequence where Jimmy gets lost multiple times on the same play.
There was evidence of some good building blocks in Ockford's skill set. He won a lot of headers, settled in and had some clearances and solid defensive plays. I think Jimmy is behind Damien Lowe in talent and from what I saw here isn't quite ready for the speed and spacing of first team opposition.
Community - 5.75
Realio - 5
I had a hard time rating Scott because at the end of the game I had very few marks in the positive side and tons in the negative but the attributes he scored well in were general issues and the things I disliked were very specific.
What I mean by this is Scott played good positional defense for a majority of the game, he helped keep the backline compact and he won some headers. Good Scott plays positional defense while supporting those around him with physical play and pushing a high defensive line.
Bad Scott was in evidence in the 25th moment losing his mark on a corner and then again during the 27th minute goal that was called off when he completely lost Edu for a tap in. I noted his positioning particularly bad in 49th minute way across midfield to earn a yellow card and again the 62nd minute where he was across Ockford in an awkward shape for the team. He completely loses Maidana on 1v1 defense for a shot that hit side net and then marked the penalty spot on their goal. I have no idea what the defense is doing there but Scott needs to do better. Much better.
Community - 6.08
Realio - 7
The biggest positive to take out of this game for me was the emergence of Fisher, who showed the midweek standout performance against Portland was no fluke. I'll admit that he has flown under my radar a bit this year, but looks a more then capable backup for Mears at right back.
Fisher crushed the book against Philly, with great 1v1 stand up defensive efforts in the 11, 20, 40, and 69th minutes. Starting his first game for the Sounders, Oniel showed no nerves and was immediately willing to mix it up with the Union. I really appreciated the physicality that he brought, not shying away from contact and confidently moving the ball when it was at his feet. With Scott and Ockford all over the place, it fell to Fisher to save the day multiple times, using his pace and pressure to come across and put out fires on the defensive end of the field.
He wasn't all defense either, I marked down quality overlapping runs in the 11, 38, 51, 57, and 75 minutes. Fisher was consistently supporting the midfield and offering width throughout the game.
There were some mistakes and bad habits, the worst being his penchant for diving in at times, but with his speed he is able to rectify most problems his aggressive defense creates. I was really pleased to see this level of play out of an unproven player. This is the type of results we need to see out of the young guys looking to make a name for themselves.
Community - 4.99
Realio - 5
Pineda hasn't looked good in the 4-3-2-1 or 4-5-1 or whatever the park the bus and leave Neagle on an island strategy has been lately. First off, Pineda is a good supplemental piece at this point in his career, and expecting him to be the engine of a team just isn't fair to him. That being said he and Pappa are being expected to be the engine of the team and it's clear the tank is running low.
I noted at least 7 turnovers, some horrendously poor. Gonzalo was out of position often, and looked tired and slow. I think his ankle is still bothering him and that is hampering his already limited mobility. A sequence indicative of his outing occurred in the 54th minute where Pineda was unable to find a pass, dribbled backwards shielding off a man for 20 yards, and then gave a really hard to handle pass to Kovar. The lack of ability to turn and create any space was shocking.
Pineda's good marks were all early, mostly some quality defense help given to others, and a nice snap header in the 12th minute that for a moment I thought was in. At this point, there isn't enough upside to run out a tired, hurt Pineda when he is going to get the most touches on the team.
Community - 5.39
Realio - 5
I knew it was going to be a rough night for Azira when he kicked the ball out of bounds in the 8th SECOND. I think he may be in the tired camp as well, getting multiple starts in a row and having to cover a ton of ground in midfield is a tall order to require of players who haven't run full seasons before. Azira's passing was not good either, racking up 6 turnovers and adding plenty of other rough touches that weren't easy for the player on the receiving end. Putting Ockford in a rough spot in the 9th minute wasn't a good start.
Azira completely lost Pfeffer right after the Union goal and the Philly player should have doubled their lead with an open shot he put over. Micheal plays ok defense but needs more help than a hobbling Pineda and roaming Pappa. I would really like a certain Alonso guy to get healthy and relegate Azira back to a spot start role.
Aaron Kovar (off 75')
Community - 4.70
Realio - 5
I thought Kovar was really poor during my live watch, but the re-watch wasn't quite as dire. Many may know I am a huge fan of Aaron, and was excited to see him starting for the first time ever. Aaron had a very up and down performance, and one that earned him a below average MLS rating.
I am not sure if it was nerves or pushing too hard, but Kovar had a large amount of turnovers. At times when he had the ball in space, Kovar seemed at a loss for where to go with the ball, either dribbling to the corner or passing to space unoccupied by a teammate. He needs to make quicker and better decisions when not presented with obvious passing options.
While not having a lot of success on the offensive side, Kovar was very good in defense and had a ton of pressure on players forcing turnovers. He tackles well and has nice endurance to keep up a high level of intensity on the defensive side all game. When provided with a viable option, (like Pineda in the 12th minute for a wide open header) Kovar serves a wonderful ball.
A lot of the issues from the wide midfield positions can be attributed to lack of availability of a forward or any movement from those around them to provide options. Playing against a solid right back in Williams who maintained constant high pressure on him reduced Aaron to needing to move the ball quickly, and he struggled to get the ball of his foot early enough in this game.
Community - 5.97
Realio - 6
It's probably true to say that Pappa is missing his forward buddies. After linking so well as the 3rd point of many Oba/Dempsey/Pappa triangles, it is being harder and harder for Pappa to get any space, as teams just swarm him knowing the other Sounders don't have the creativity to pick up the slack around him. Adding to the multitude of defenders around Marco is a very large problem with players watching him dribble and not moving. I noted multiple players just standing around and not giving Marco any options.
Pappa was the main creative force yet the first three positive marks in my book were for great help defense to pressure Philly into a turnover and start Sounder attacks.
When no one around you is moving every time you receive the ball it's a very hard position to be successful in, and Marco ultimately ended up with lots of mistakes. Turnovers, long pointless shots, and tired passes cropped up in my book. I gave Pappa an average MLS score this week based on him being one of the only creative players on the field who showed glimpses of ability and putting others in good positions.
Community - 5.59
Realio - 6
The other midfielder I thought was adequate this weekend was Roldan. His scores averaged out to almost exactly zero but in this game where everyone played fairly lousy he stuck out for some good moments.
When you give a few guys their first start the guy who's on his 6th start is suddenly the veteran and has to play like one. Starting off the game active and hitting overlapping Fisher in the 1st minute as well as using his vision to open up the play in the 8th had me excited for Cristian to do just that, but as is his trend he faded as the game went on.
I think Roldan is a great attacking player and watching him in college he had the mentality to take people on. I don't know where this went, but I noted numerous times that he had no interest in taking anyone 1v1. Without the creative attackers around, this seemed like a game that slowing the ball down, recycling the field, and switching around the back should NOT be the strategy. Because of this thinking, it was hard to watch Cristian consistently get to the wing deep in Philly territory with the ball and one defender and stop, turn, and drop the ball to Fisher. We really needed someone willing to push the ball, and unfortunately we got more of that desire from our fullback than winger on the right.
Roldan needs to remain checked in for the entire game, stop watching, and be more confident in his ability. His speed and physical nature is a dynamic option for the team and his talent shows in glimpses every game while he's winning headers, making intelligent runs, and staying in solid shape. I know he's young, but he has a chance to hold onto playing time and needs to do a bit more when given the opportunity.
Lamar Neagle (off 70')
Community - 4.48
Realio - 4
I am not sure how many times I can talk about tired players but I believe Lamar qualifies as one by this point. He was also downright awful in this game and I hope he is no longer forced into a lone forward role he is ill suited for.
I had small hope that Lamar would have a good game when in the 7th minute he received a ball from Remick, controlled it with his back to goal, and then played a nice ball to Kovar on the wing. Unfortunately it wasn't until the 53rd minute that Lamar had another positive note- his second of two successful hold up plays for the entire game.
There was a lot to dislike about the multitude of passes to the other team, bad control, and about seven turnovers. Lamar augmented his worst passing numbers on the team marks with some moments where he just plain walked around or stood there watching others. With no movement up top, there were no lanes to enter the ball into dangerous areas. I was really disappointed to see his miss touch on Kovar's great pass in the 68th minute. Aaron found Neagle on a 3v2 situation, and a trap and shot should have been a goal from a competent MLS player. As is unfortunately typical these days, Lamar flubbed the control and had to recycle the ball, permitting the defense to recover. Adding insult to the situation was Philly scoring the only goal of the game less than a minute later following this loss of possession.
When Neagle is no longer even bringing hustle to the table, I am not sure why he's getting minutes. Like about five other players in this game, I hope the issues are related to fatigue and something that can be alleviated by returning some more players to the 18 and getting extra rest for the overworked.
Darwin Jones (70')
Community - 5.07 (95% rated)
Realio - 6
The bar may have been set so fantastically low by the Neagle performance that it inflated Jones' score some, but from my vantage point he offered a lot in his short shift.
Darwin has a long way to come to get any manner of consistent minutes, but I liked how immediately goal dangerous he was. After stepping on the field Jones' field stretching run and he maintaining of possession was a breath of fresh air. He made smart diagonal runs such as the 74th minute where he received the ball, held up play, and then brought the midfield into the attack. He did the same in the 80th minute, showing that he is already ahead of many with this skill set. Jones also infused some pace, and it was nice to see him take a good run and shot in the 88th minute.
It's obvious that Darwin Jones has a lot of talent, but he needs plenty of work. A good break away was ended with a hand ball, another touch went awry, and a third promising attack was ended when he took an ill advised dive in the 82nd.
I appreciate the work rate and ability to change up the game that Jones brings, and hope he improves on finishing and touch in order to make him able to capitalize on getting in good spots in games he enters late.
Thomas Bedinelli (75')
Community - 4.88 (85% rated)
Realio - 6
I have yet to really get an idea of who Thomas is as a player, he isn't showing a ton of dynamic playmaking skills or world class athleticism. What he is doing is controlling the ball very well, showing confidence with possession, and working better every week with the players around him.
Thomas plays adequate defense and obviously needs a bit of help from those around him to be effective but I think he's an intriguing option to change up the play. It was a bit disappointing to see him walking around when he had only just arrived, and the wide open header on goal in the 87th was not taken well.
Against Philly he played like a veteran who wanted the ball, and I liked what he was trying to do on multiple occasions to break open the game. I also think he may work much better for the Sounders when surrounded by more technical players.
Chad Marshall (81')
Community - 5.64 (43% rated)
Realio - 5
We shouldn't be too surprised by this move (unless you count surprise that Marshall even travelled) since often chasing a game late Marshall has camped out around the 18. This experiment was genius in theory, and if we had anyone capable of kicking the round thing at the tall guys head it may have been successful. Unfortunately Chad ran around in fairly good positions (mostly far post) and didn't get much service. As a last ditch effort to sneak a point I don't really mind this move.
Community - 6.52
Realio - 8
Jurisevic followed up a number of good referee performances with one of his own, staying relatively hands off and allowing a very non-physical game to play out. His game management was superb, allowing as much flow from a choppy game possession wise as he could.
I think the PK call was correct, and the yellow was I think fairly generous in light of some of the red cards we have seen this year (and Wenger having a bloody face). He was again generous to Remick in the 78th minute and I think Jurisevic showed good judgment in not yellow carding Dylan for a second time. Unfortunately in soccer it's a huge difference between missing 1+ games and playing down and not and this puts referees in judgment calls that are potentially multiple game changing calls. Edvin knew he would be sending off Remick and decided against it and I think makes the right decision.
Jurisevic had a few questionable calls, and I actually marked him down for not allowing the throw in goal. I think Wenger has every right to stand there and Frei needs to be more assertive to clear it. I think in the 40th Nogueira had a cynical foul to stop a break on Pappa that should have been yellow, but this evened out with the Remick call so I actually appreciate the consistency. This was a much understated referee performance, just like I like it.