This one nearly broke me. After the game I rode back up the hill really upset by the 1-0 home loss to the Colorado Rapids. It was so deflating to play that poorly, to lose to a team we had handily beat twice already, to have the goal be late and avoidable. UGH. This was one of the few times this year where watching a loss again actually made me feel a bit better. If not for a few bounces (the field was awful) and calls (the ref was awful) and lapses in concentration, this easily could have gone the other way. There were low scores as are typical in a loss, but some players rated well.
Editor's Note: 260 angry and/or disappointed fans submitted valid ratings. Of those 30% said that right now is the appropriate time to panic. Another 55% said they would panic if this form continues after the Gold Cup is over. Boise got one more response than "no" to the panic question. Kevin Doyle earned a plurality of support as the best non-Sounder beating out Clint Irwin on the vote 32.7% to 32.3%. Doyle should not have been in the match when he scored.
Community - 6.00
Realio - 5
There are two factors that made this abnormally low. First, the field was terrible. I noticed Troy failed to follow through on clearances from the back, and he seemed timid on the shifting turf. Being scared to slip and fall as a keeper has to really mess with your distribution. Second, without Brad Evans and his skill in the back, the team has become much less possession-oriented. Without the relief valve that Evans brings, the keeper was forced into many long clearances when a short ball would have helped possession immensely. One such long ball from Perkins was in the back of his own net after about 4 touches.
Even acknowledging these factors, I still was unimpressed by Perkins on the night. He made two saves in the 3rd and 19th minutes but was otherwise untested for much of the match. Perkins had a very bad short clear to the middle that almost came right back at him in the 6th and got stuck in no man's land on a cross in the 16th.
The big play for Perkins was the scoring play, and I was standing next to a goalie in the stands when it happened. He immediately pointed out that Troy needed to step out quicker to the ball. On the re-watch he was exactly correct. Perkins is rooted to his line. He needed to cut down the angle on the shot and not give up so much of the goalmouth. With such a slow developing play, while he might not save the goal, there was enough time to make it harder on Doyle and he just didn't do that.
Community - 5.71
Realio - 6
Leo was good this game, but not great. As usual, Gonzales excels at positional defense, and I noted him over 6 times just solidly doing what needed to be done on the back line. A great example of this occurred in the 52nd minute 1v1 against Marcelo Sarvas which Leo dominated.
Gonzalez attempted to support the width of the midfield by consistently overlapping, however it didn't amount to a lot of opportunities for him to create chances. This overlapping also got Leo in trouble a few times when he got caught up field with a counter behind him. In the 34th minute he is nowhere to be found on defense when caught way too far up and a good chance arose for Colorado. It is apparent that Gonzalez was conserving his pace for smart occasions, and he grew less bold as the game continued. Other than a few poor passes and a late unneeded shirt tug that earned the Rapids a foul, Leo was average.
Community - 5.17
Zach was one of the players who I was unimpressed with during the live viewing, and the second watch did him no favors. Other than a good step across and some consistent shading into the area behind Leo in the first half when Gonzales was overlapping, Scott had few positive marks in my book. A turnover in the 65th did prompt some adept defending, but Scott seemed consistently out of position for most of the game. Scott avoided linking with the midfield, instead sending long hopeful balls to the front.
I appreciate that Scott takes good angles to compensate for his lack of pure speed, but he still was beat multiple times in the first twenty minutes by being too slow. In the 24th, he badly dove in and was beat on a give and go right on the top of the box and was only saved by the turf monster gobbling up the Colorado player. In the 28th he made an awful pass to Marshall that forced his CB partner into a desperation 50/50 clearance.
I can't really explain the play that ended up in the game's only goal. I do know that Scott was marking Doyle and was beat for speed to the goal on the entire play.
Community - 5.61
Realio - 6
Marshall was better than Scott, but not by much. I noticed Marshall had to shade over multiple times each game to cover for Scott being out of position, and I give him a lot of credit for retaining positional cohesion. The most obvious was in the 17th minute where he saved Zach. Most of the game Marshall was untested, winning headers and clearing most balls long.
Some of the things we had last year with this center back pairing was a rocket in cleats at RB and a tireless beast at defensive mid who were able to compensate for the lack of center speed. This year the defense is set up differently, and Marshall's lack of pace is being exposed (6', 16'). This will be something to check on when Evans returns. Marshall tried to come help Scott during the goal scoring play, but missed the ball, the man, and any attempt to stop the play.
The Sounders have had very little production on set pieces and Marshall has failed to help out, even being offside on a set piece in the 62nd minute.
Community - 6.42 (MotM)
Realio - 7
Mears had a lot in the book this week, and more good than bad. I noted multiple headers won (rare for him) and no attacks were able to find much purchase on his side of the pitch. He also had the most touches of any player on the field.
He made a fantastic step across to block a shot in the 22nd minute, and this was an important play because he hadn't been covering the back post like this in the past. He seems to have adjusted to the central defenders and is sliding in behind to support. Another awesome play occurred in the 48th minute with Charles Eloundou beating Alonso twice and Marshall once on a charging run into the box only to encounter a brick wall of Mears.
Tyrone badly slipped on a 4th minute set piece but had his usual quality service on a free kick in the 62nd. The one time I saw Mears get severely beat happened in the 71st when he was dribbled around and forced to pull the Rapids player down for both a dangerous free kick and a yellow card.
Community - 5.23
Realio - 6
Rose quietly put together another solid outing. Andy is the kind of player who does all the dirty work, consistently challenging in hard tackles and aerials (8 headers won!) and tirelessly working to close down passing lanes. This may not lead to a sexy line, but is something I think will be appreciated more as higher creativity guys are added back into the lineup.
Andy finished his goal, and I like seeing a ball in the net, even if it was nullified by one of a number of Neagle offside calls. When not clogging up the middle of the field Rose was a pure box to box presence. The type of midfielder that Rose can be was illustrated by two very different plays minutes apart. In the 55th, Andy started central and went diagonally wide to receive a ball in the corner, a run that he finished off by dropping in a perfect crossing ball. Then in the 57th Rose controlled a long pass from the back and made a pass to the width. He continued the play by making an intelligent back post run.
Rose didn't have a dominant game, but plays like these make me happy with the depth he brings. I would love for him to work with Marshall on directing his headers, as a few could have been more constructive but Rose is what he is: a solid, non-spectacular, very dependable and hardworking player.
Thomas Bedinelli (off 64')
Community - 5.83
Realio - 7
Thomas continues to settle into MLS and I believe he is improving every week. Against Colorado he was instantly dangerous, nearly scoring on a booming shot in the very first minute. I like seeing his willingness to be goal dangerous, and he followed this up with a great look to Neagle in the 32nd minute.
Thomas is one of the few Sounders willing to take people on with a dribble, and he almost earned a number of penalty kicks by crosses or getting by the Colorado defense inside the eighteen. He also showed instant chemistry with Friberg, executing a perfect give and go and then finding Neagle for a chance in the 44th.
There were a few mistakes in the game from Thomas, notably some poor passes on counters that nullified dangerous plays. He also needs to be more game fit, since his decreasing production in the second half forced an early removal.
Community - 5.85
Realio - 6
Alonso still doesn't look right to me, and he didn't play up to his usual lofty standards against Colorado. The usual Ozzie nimble feet and change of pace were not evident, in fact an 18th minute blunder while dribbling on his own eighteen yard box almost ended up behind Perkins.
In the 10th minute Alonso was rounded easily, forcing Friberg to foul behind him, and this same situation occurred again in the 55th. Both of these looked to be issues of limited agility, something I never thought I would write about Alonso.
Even though he was less mobile than we are used to in this game, Ozzie still made a lot of plays. He had two rough passes early in the game but managed to adjust to the turf and produce 90+% accuracy. In the 36th he had a great run into the box but couldn't get the ball over Clint Irwin. A 50th minute over the top pass for Thomas showed Ozzie looking vertical, something he has not done much lately, preferring to switch the ball side to side. His reflexes were all there in the 53rd when he stepped up to intercept a pass and put through a (yet again) offside Neagle.
As Ozzie gets back into shape I will be keeping an eye out for his coverage of the back 4 which has been lacking, and for his lateral movement.
Community - 5.70
Realio - 6
Roldan was much improved in this game in a more roaming role through the front of the attack. He looked to link up with Neagle, Thomas, and the midfield often, eagerly making constructive runs.
He started off with great movement on a run and shot in the 13th minute. I am sure Cristian was wondering (like I was) where Lamar was in the 15th after a brilliant pass and Roldan's holdup play and layoff in the 16th minute was great.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the game for Cristian was the 47th minute miscue by Harrington giving Roldan the ball on the 18 with a clear look at goal. He was unfortunately as successful as the other Sounders lately with a shot that Irwin saved.
Roldan's fitness still seems to be an issue and after a great 72nd minute run and pass to find an open Pineda he disappeared from my book. Still, this was an improved outing from the young Sounder rookie and he offers a direct option that may be well suited for late game energy when more established players return.
Erik Friberg (off 59')
Community - 6.37
Realio - 7 MotM
Welcome back to Seattle Erik! Friberg rewarded the Seattle fans with a performance that bodes well for the future of the team. I thought Erik the best player on the field for a majority of the game, and he showed off why the team brought him back.
Five times each I noted "calm" and "control" when describing Friberg, and his tight control and vision was a breath of fresh air amidst a beleaguered midfield. He rarely lost possession and was able to look forward consistently. This vision was on display in the 22nd to find Alonso, and again in the 44th to work a smooth give and go with Thomas. Friberg sprayed the ball around the field, and put the ball where people SHOULD be. This forced players to make better runs, and contributed to more movement up front.
Erik wasn't all offense though, showing off a much more polished two-way game than I remember from his first tour with Seattle. His defensive step to win the ball in the 11th minute was assertive and he expertly covered for an Alonso misstep in the 18th. The positioning that Friberg kept while he was in the game was superb, and it forced others to adjust to more appropriate spots. Erik tracks runners through the midfield as good as you will see in the league.
This outing wasn't all perfect, with Erik making a few bad passes as well as some rather hopeful ones that I assume were from lack of familiarity with teammates. He was forced into a yellow card in the 30th minute after a failed call from the ref. I am ok with this choice, however, as it showed the intelligence to stop a counter attack. You could tell he was tiring by a poor pass in the 51st minute and he was subbed soon after that.
Similarly to the Alonso MOTM on his return, quality midfielders make the entire team around them better, and Erik did this. He made a less-than 100% Alonso decent, he pushed play into the right channels, he covered massive swaths of defensive space, and he was a natural leader while on the field. I look forward to seeing what he can do with a fully healthy Alonso and Evans feeding him from one direction and DPs receiving from the other.
Lamar Neagle (off 78')
Community - 4.23
Realio - 4
I don't even know what to say about Neagle anymore. He struggled in this game and while we can still count on physical hustle, he seemed at times mentally checked out.
Lamar had a nice run and cross in the 1st minute and a constructive near post run on a Friberg cross in the 27th. He had a defensive track back in the 32nd that was a nice play and a layoff to Alonso in the 36th that was notable.
After that, there is a blank space in the "positive" side of my book.
I think Neagle has lost it mentally right now. As early as the first ten minutes I saw Lamar quit on a Rose over the top pass. He was offside consistently and for no good reason throughout the game. The worst was probably on the Rose goal that was called back. In the 25th minute he received the ball and was just plain dominated by the defender 1v1, something you rarely see with Neagle. Lamar had a breakaway in the 32nd minute but couldn't even get a corner from his run to the end line.
Neagle is really struggling and needs to be the third or fourth option in the box. His hold up play is nonexistent, he is such a liability up front right now especially when he is mentally failing to do simple things like get back on side or follow through plays. I don't know what other options Sigi has, but Lamar is not showing much on the field right now offensively, defensively, or creatively.
Gonzalo Pineda (59')
Community - 4.79 (96% rated)
Realio - 6
Pineda once again showed that in a small role he can be very effective. I liked his defensive work that allowed others to get into the attack. He had a very nice diagonal run in the 68th and a shot on goal from a nice feed in the 73rd. At times Pineda is still too slow on the ball.
Marco Pappa (64')
Community - 5.39 (93% rated)
Realio - 6
Welcome back sir! Pappa immediately showed class on the ball, offering different looks and angles as he roamed from side to side to try to link up with the guys in front of him. He was the offensive facilitator while on the field, almost to the detriment of any other attack. We can't just ball watch when Marco has the ball at his feet, we need to move off him and change the defensive shape.
Pappa was dangerous, and found others in dangerous positions. He did take one ill-advised shot. *
Chad Barrett (78')
Community - 3.95 (87% rated)
Realio - 5
Other than earning a dangerous free kick in and a card on Michael Harrington one minute after entering the field, Barrett was largely invisible. He needs to do better.
Community - 4.31
Realio - 3
Toledo managed to make it 15 minutes in before I thought he was horrible, calling a correct foul on Roldan in the 4th. His yellow card on Pittinari in the 12th was justified. After that he just lost complete control, missing more calls than I could count.
It started with Alonso getting away with a blatant counter attack stalling shirt pull, and followed up with a handball in the box in the 30th that I think was a penalty. The hands were extended away in an unnatural soccer position and the defender gained an advantage. In the 34th Thomas had a shout for another with an obstruction that I think was 50-50 but the Watts foul a minute later on Friberg was highly dangerous and didn't even merit a whistle? Then in the 50th minute Sarvas goes all WWE on Friberg and Toledo calls advantage where there was none and still failed to give a card for dangerous play.
Leo Gonzales got away with another blatant shirt pull that probably should have been a PK in the 52nd but at this point there was about zero chance to get a penalty called. The keeper cleared a ball in the 66th and Dylan Powers just completely creamed Scott with no call.
Perhaps the most ridiculously blatant bad call was the NOT EVEN A FOUL play where Kevin Doyle led with his elbow and broke Pineda's face in the 80th. That's red every day and obviously would have affected the score line with the scorer being sent off prior to finishing the game winning goal. In the same play Pappa was fouled in the box as well, with a corner being given.
This was a very poorly officiated match and Toledo showed not only a resistance to calling penalty worthy fouls (for both teams) but failed to protect the safety of the players on multiple occasions.
*Sounds like Pappa may have taken more than one kind of ill-advised shots. I hope this isn't indicative of a larger problem, and I personally will be supporting him and the team as they navigate these legal issues.
There was a lot to be upset about after this Colorado loss, and it still bugs me, especially the failings at the end of the game. Seeing the development of Thomas and Roldan along with the seamless inclusion of Friberg gives me some small hope that this team can get a positive result this weekend. I haven't heard a lot of talk about Evans being gone, but I believe the things he brings to this team a bit overlooked in the absence of the DPs. The ability to control the ball from the back limits goals like the one that was scored against us this week, and also takes pressure off the goalie and midfield. Perhaps more importantly Evans' leadership has left the team lacking in direction, especially late in games. I'll be looking for someone to step up against Montreal.