What a relief to do a ratings post after a WIN! Now I have seen a lot of people dissatisfied with the 1-0 win at home vs. a 10 man D.C. United squad, but I saw a lot to be happy with. This wasn't the team that looked overmatched at Portland, was beat at home by San Jose, and lost to a woeful Philadelphia team. This was a team that was dominating before the red card and with a bit better finishing should have coasted to an easy win over D.C. squad that had a FOURTEEN POINT lead over the #2 team in the East at game's start. Let's give DC credit for being a very solid team and Seattle some credit for playing well with almost all the same pieces missing as during all those losses.
A total of 266 people responded with valid ratings. There was no clear "best non-Sounder" with Nick DeLeon garnering the plurality with only 27% of the vote.
Stefan Frei (off 45')
Community - 6.73
Realio - 6
I really hope that Frei is ok. He is having one of the best years for a Sounders keeper and still seems to be improving every week. Before being injured Stefan turned in a quiet, average showing without being tested much.
I liked his control from the back and his ability to pick out the head of Roldan for a chance in the 24th minute showed just how accurate he can be. On the play that he was injured Frei came out strong and confidently. The quicker he can be back on the field the better.
Community - 7.91 (MotM)
Realio - 7
Assists Goals Change Games. While I don't think all of our offense should be coming from the right back position, it is a familiar position for SSFC to be in when creative players are away. It is a luxury to have outside backs that can join the attack and facilitate width, and Mears showed this against DC. Tyrone's finish was picture perfect and struck pure.
Mears consistently supported the attack with overlapping runs and had more of an impact this game offensively than defensively. When Tyrone gets the ball in the attacking third he tends to look for the cross first (except when scoring wonder goals). Given more of a set piece role against United, Mears responded with great service in the 26', 50' and 53' where he found Barrett's head for a near goal.
Defensively there wasn't a lot for Mears to do but when called upon, Tyrone turned in a very inconsistent game. I counted four turnovers that were blatant and led to good chances, as well as some positional issues he needs to correct as long as Brad Evans is going to be missing next to him.
Community - 6.26
Realio - 6
I wasn't too impressed with Scott this week, and the most notable positive action was a nice recovery tackle in the 32nd to stop the break he himself had created from an error.
I will probably never get used to the hard fouls that Scott commits every game. His foul in the 13th minute didn't include a high elbow or I think it could have been red. Either way it was unnecessary and had him playing on caution for 80 minutes. What is really frustrating is less than 2 minutes later I noted him completely out of control, even on a yellow and taking unnecessary risks.
Scott was beat badly in the 60th and Arrieta in the 74th turned him inside out. The chances for DC were fairly limited though, and I give Scott a lot of credit for keeping his line well and being a rock on set pieces.
There is no need to take chances as a center back with this team around you, and I hope Scott can find his last year groove next to Marshall as long as Evans is gone.
Community - 6.84
Realio - 8
One of the main reasons SSFC was able to secure a shutout was the work turned in by Marshall. He was a complete rock in this one, turning back attacks with head and foot.
Marshall is magnificent at stopping 1v1 attacks with superior positioning instead of needing to go to ground to slide tackle. This was evident early in the 9th and 16th minutes as Chad stopped promising DC pushes and throughout as he covered for the gaps in front of him.
I don't have a lot to say about this performance specifically, except a rested Marshall is fully capable of turning in DPOY results every game and Marshall did most everything right. His decision making is exquisite, and positional awareness top notch. Once he gets into a groove with the changes on the back line I fully expect his ratings to stay high.
Community - 6.18
Realio - 7
I was glad to see Remick back in this one and he rewarded us all with a very positive performance from the left back position.
When Remick is rested and healthy he explodes down the left wing during the game, and in this one he consistently played both ways. The guy is a workhorse on the overlap, showing up in the 14', 34', 39', 64', and 81'. Consistent pulling of shape around to the left opens up channels in the middle and right and allowed others to exploit a team playing down a man.
I noted much more cohesion between himself and Thomas this game and my favorite connection between these two was a fantastic give and go in the 26th minute. I am hopeful for big things from the left side of attack as these two become more familiar with each other on the training ground.
Dylan needs to work some on his crossing placement, and could stand to vary his runs but these are minor issues. Dylan's defense in this one was very strong, and other than a ball getting over him in the 41st the DC players chose other channels to attack
Thomas Bedinelli (off 79')
Community - 6.39
Realio - 7
Thomas was one player I considered for MOTM and boy did he impress me in this one. I haven't seen a lot to be excited about until Friday when this 22 year old Brazilian played by far his best game as a Sounder. Thomas shows great vision, brilliant touch, and an active soccer mind that sees the entire picture and not just the play directly in front of him.
Right off the bat in the 4th minute Thomas took a ball in the middle and looked up to open the field. He followed this with an intelligent off ball run in the 5th minute that was unrewarded.
Thomas consistently attacked the DC back line, and unlike prior games made nice decisions when given space. In the 11th minute he beat his man vertically and followed by putting a spectacular pass across the six yard box perfectly between defense and keeper. Unfortunately there were no Sounders able to latch onto a redirect for an easy finish. A nice shot in the 48th minute almost went in and he put Neagle in on goal in the 58th that forced the referee to consider a PK after the Sounder striker was brought down.
I saw very little defensive liability in his overall game that had been a concern, playing sound positional defense with Remick behind him throughout. His defensive work and heads up pass in the 61st minute started a very dangerous counter attack. He did miss a wide open Roldan in the 6th minute on a give and go and gave up a free kick in a bad spot in the 67th. One last mistake I will be watching is whether when beat he quits like he did once in this game (57').
I was really impressed with Thomas in this game. He shows to the ball excellently and keeps possession much better that most other Sounders with his back to goal. If the player who played Friday can continue to improve and keep that level of success, we have a lot to look forward to from Thomas. My first impression was that he tried too much, didn't integrate, and sulked a lot on the field. None of this was in evidence, in fact the opposite; he was the first guy off the bench to hug Mears after the game winner.
Community - 6.01
Realio - 7
I guess we should put a hold on the tombstone with Pineda's name on it. Like many here, I was ready to throw in the towel on Gonzalo playing until he could get fully rested/healthy. He definitely proved me wrong with a strong performance.
I still think he will drop into a backup role with Erik Friberg starting, but Pineda showed me how effective he can be when freed up to be a creator. Gonzalo looked great with a class defensive midfielder behind him, a winger cutting into the space in front of him, and a forward pushing diagonally away in space. This allowed him to do what he does best: keep his head up and read the game. Pineda created a myriad of chances with quick passing, vision, and over the top service (notably to Barrett in the 7th and Remick in the 47th).
I had Gonzalo with 5 chances created, the two over the top, a good free kick, and another look in the 37th minute to Barrett that put him on goal. It is just night and day what this guy can create when the right parts are around him. With better finishing he could have had multiple assists.
On the negative side, there were a lot of turnovers, and perhaps with a non Honey Badger behind him to clean up this is frightening. The majority of errors that I noted were after the 66th minute, when I noted that he looked tired and may not have the legs for ninety anymore. As the game wore on he looked worse and worse and started whiffing defensively which put pressure on the back 5. I like what I saw from Gonzalo though and in a game where creativity was lacking, he stepped up nicely. If Frei didn't get hurt I think Rose subbing on for Pineda around 70 minutes would have made a lot of sense.
Community - 7.15
Realio - 8 (MotM)
Based on personal stats Thomas would be the MOTM but this is a case of the Alonso affect directly changing how the entire team plays, allowing many others to excel.
It was obvious that this was Ozzie's first game back after being out, and the rust showed with two bad touch turnovers in the first five minutes, diving in and being beat, ball watching and making bad passes. This wasn't a typical Alonso dominant game at all, though he did show flashes such as a turn and run around defender in the 8th minute. Though infrequent, the switching pass from a deep lying position on the money to Neagle in the 72nd or the shoulder tackle to win the ball in the 76th minute reminded me of what this player can do.
The reason Alonso is the Man of the Match is he completely changes how the Sounders play soccer. Suddenly outside fullbacks Mears and Remick were able to bomb forward while being covered by a dropping Ozzie. Pineda had time to look up and pick out perfect over the top or through balls to streaking forwards when afforded time and a viable option next to him. Scott and Marshall relinquished the role of trying to chunk long balls and instead were able to play short to Ozzie to start attacks. Roldan and Thomas had a release valve, so when pressured back towards midfield they could push a ball to Alonso who kept possession and switched the field.
I noted that DC (even before the red) tried and failed to put any pressure on the midfield and stopped any sort of pressure when they realized the Sounders' ball movement was too quick. This is the Alonso effect. He didn't have a wonderful stat wise game for himself, but he made every single player around him better. As he gets back to fitness he will only improve on this performance and it is no coincidence that players such as Pineda and Thomas were greatly improved against United.
Community - 5.18
Realio - 6
Roldan looked like an MLS starter in this one for an entire ninety minutes, and that was great to see. It was a choppy performance that showed flashes of brilliance and lots to work on. What I really enjoy about Roldan's play is he already does things tactically well. This makes me believe that the mistakes (touch, speed of MLS play, etc) are all things that he can and will improve upon.
I'll start with the rough notes, and they were many. Roldan needs to play faster, such as when the ball was taken off his foot trying to shoot in the 18th minute. He is still hesitating when he gets the ball and I would like to see him make a decision and commit quicker. Cristian HAS to work on his touch. With better control of an Alonso pass in the 32nd he might have a goal. Another good ball into Roldan in the 35th was lost by a turnover. I noted more bad touches in the 40th, 69th, and 73rd, all times where a better control could have really been dangerous for the home team.
The silver lining of all these bad turnovers is where they are occurring. Roldan is very tactically proficient and reads the game as well as anyone on the field. These spots where he is losing possession are the spaces in between the defense and Roldan's awareness to find these is tremendous. When Cristian is able to control the ball and play quick enough, good things happen. I believe Roldan's mind is making the right decisions; it is just up to his body to catch up and be able to follow through consistently.
Chad Barrett (off 85')
Community - 5.20
Realio - 7
I got the impression that others thought Barrett played bad on Friday whereas I saw him as by far our most effective attacker. In fact, I think he has looked very dangerous all year, other than finishing vs. Dallas.
In this game, Barrett's early 3rd minute hustle forced a bad clearance and set the tone for an active, pressuring shift. His run in the 7th minute was perfect and he managed a nice shot in the 24th. On this play it was noticeable that players around him weren't moving a ton and it's something to keep an eye on. If you aren't a Chad Barrett fan re-watch the 38th minute turnover he commits then chases down the United player forty yards down and all the way across the field until the ball goes out for a corner.
Barrett had a great little flick to Neagle for a shot on goal in the 44th minute and another to Roldan in the 48th. He got two headers towards goal in the 50th and 53rd minutes. Perhaps his best play was finding open space in the 71st minute, controlling a tough Alonso pass, and then dropping a perfect left footed ball over the top of a defender onto Neagle's foot for a great chance that was missed.
This was a very good game from Barrett and he has been effective both in his movement to good spots and creation for other players this season. He has shown to be very good at converting shots on goal, and I would love to see others give him similar chances as he is generating for them.
Community - 5.70
Realio - 6
Neagle looked to be more rested this game and more willing to run and create space for others. I didn't see a ton of special play from Lamar, who had an average, quiet night.
Neagle did create a tremendous chance early in the 5th minute, using a shoulder tackle to shrug off a defender and cut in to the left of the goal. Unfortunately he ignored a wide open Thomas and went alone, hitting the ball shoulder height near post and off target.
Lamar received a short pass from Barrett and took a wonderful shot from outside the 18 yard box in the 44th minute that looked to have gone in, but unfortunately it was behind the net. I liked the hustle from Neagle during this game and he had many good runs and crosses and effort plays that just didn't pan out. Perhaps the best chance of the game came in the 71st where another smart run got him on the end of a Barrett pass; however Lamar wasn't able to get any power on a weak volley right at the keeper.
I did see Lamar lose possession and quit on defense in the 36th minute and take a number of other plays off watching, but he still earned an average grade from me based on dangerous movement for most of the game. I am looking forward to a fully rested Lamar Neagle playing well this upcoming weekend.
Troy Perkins (45')
Community - 5.80
Realio - 6
Troy had only a few minutes to warm up and take the field, and Coach Tom Dutra kept him out the entire halftime to warm him up correctly. Luckily he wasn't called on to do much in his first MLS minutes this year.
Perkins seems very willing to come out from his line, stepping confidently in the 58th and catching, and again in the 64th. A good punch was utilized in the 79th. On the negative side he looked to have misjudged a ball in the 68th that hit the crossbar and muffed an 89th minute punch out. The latter landed fortuitously on the feet of Nick Deleon, who missed a close shot.
Andy Craven (79')
Community - 5.67 (85% rated)
Realio - 6
Craven improved on his score from the last game and did so due to great activity and infusing some needed energy up front. The "roller-skating giraffe on mushrooms" as my wife called him upon dancing in warm-ups may have been a bit out of control, but he instantly showed his great soccer I.Q. and solid ball skills.
I noted his almost constant movement while on the field and Andy seemed to drift into pockets of space in the defense. Craven's holdup play in the 94th minute showed promise, controlling the ball with back to goal, turning, and attacking (but go to the corner son, no need to pass back to the middle for a turnover!).
The thing I was most impressed with from Andy I noted on the goal scoring play. Craven starts on the left side and curls into the 6 to poach if Jones or Alonso wins the header. If you watch closely, as soon as the ball goes over their head Andy recycles his run. Not only that, while watching the ball go towards Mears you can see Craven realize he is in the shot line and he immediately looks over his shoulder for the defense and steps back towards his OWN goal. Why is this important? Because there is a chance he would have been shielding the goalie and called for passive offside had he remained where he was between the defense and the DC keeper. This was a flat out tremendously quick, perfect decision by a young player. That little drifting move was so wonderfully simple yet effective and put him in position to again follow any rebound while staying on side. This shows me the guy has the head to be effective in this league.
Darwin Jones (85')
Community - 4.91 (46% rated)
Realio - 5
There wasn't a ton to note about Darwin's game. He had a good run and a header in the 86th minute as well as a muffed shot. Every game Jones looks a bit more like an MLS level talent but he needs to take advantage of the time he is given with the first team to show more than just hustle.
Community - 5.86
Realio - 5
This game got really physical and choppy and while he seemed to have control, Petrescu just missed too much for my liking in this one.
The correct yellow on Scott in the 12th minute made sense but was immediately after Roldan was hacked on a breakaway in the 11th and followed by a miss call on Barrett in the 17th that could both have been yellows as well. I think the red was warranted as Fabian Espindola was definitely cocking his arm to retaliate and even if he didn't land flush it had nasty intent, but the card was surprising since the ref had let much go to that point.
I don't understand why Davy Arnaud was allowed to run around hacking people all game, his tackle in the 56th alone could have been red but he didn't even get a warning. Then Doyle on a yellow completely undercuts Marshall in the 65th which warranted at least a second yellow. DC had good claim for an advantage that wasn't correctly given on a goal scoring opportunity late as Petrescu evened out the bad calls. I do think he got the possible DOGSO foul against Neagle outside the box correct. This was far below some of the good referee jobs we have seen this year, and a below MLS average performance from the ref.
Side note: On Friday I took a good friend and mentor with me to the game. He recently had a personal tragedy and really needed a distraction from life that has been especially tough on him lately. I am proud to say this team gave us both a great time and helped me reconnect with someone who helped shape me to the person I am today. This one's for you Dave.