Seattle went on the road, on short rest, with an injured team, to play the New York Red Bulls, one of the best teams in the league and one that’s completely healthy. The difference showed as New York could have amassed an early lead and dominated for long stretches. They didn’t put Seattle away, however, and the Sounders nearly stole points late before succumbing 1-2.
Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.9
It’s great that Frei made 11 saves, but a majority of them were routine balls hit to spaces he should be expected to save. That being said, this defense should not give up that many opportunities for opponents.
One thing I liked: In the 67th and 71st Frei came up with big saves that kept Seattle in the match, first on Bradley Wright-Phillips and later against Florian Valot.
One thing I didn’t like: His distribution and decision making were awful. Maybe he’s being forced to go short, but playing directly into the press was insane. When he did adjust, he switched to chunking hopeful balls to McCrary (or over his head).
Going forward: This defense is good enough for shutouts. We have to have more of them.
Waylon Francis – 4 | Community – 4.1
Francis looks the part of a two-way outside back, and at times we see glimpses of that, but once again he struggled to make a positive impact on either side of the ball. I’m confused by a game plan that gives Francis the most touches on the team.
One thing I liked: He stepped up high in the 87th minute, stole a pass, and started the Sounders’ goal scoring sequence.
One thing I didn’t like: He just doesn’t play very good defense. He doesn’t track back goal side, often getting pinned to the sideline by smart offensive opponents. With five defenders that might be okay, but it puts immense pressure on those inside of him.
Going forward: I’d like to see Francis embrace his strengths (and faults) and stop trying to be a two-way player. Similar to Jones last year, let Nouhou be the defensive stalwart and concentrate on being an offensive spark every time he subs in. I don’t see him being good enough at anything else, so just let Marshall be amazing and push high and create.
Tony Alfaro – 3 | Community – 3.4 (off 46’ for Dempsey)
Alfaro was a mess and didn’t look like he had any idea where he was supposed to play in the back five. Once thought of as his strength, he completed a dismal three of 12 forward pass attempts. He was only credited with three defensive actions, while the other two central defenders had 27 between them. He wasn’t good and NY scored through the giant hole he continually created in defense.
One thing I liked: In the 32nd minute Alfaro had a crunching tackle, perfectly used, that not only stopped an attack, it won a throw-in.
One thing I didn’t like: Overzealously slide tackling (and missing) in the 11th minute that immediately turned into a shot on goal for NYRB. This is an epidemic in his game and the inability to curb this awful habit is massively troublesome from a personal and coaching aspect.
Going forward: I think Alfaro needs a complete reboot at S2 or elsewhere. He has zero confidence and as soon as he inevitably misses a silly slide tackle it dominoes into mistake after mistake. His output when he’s playing poorly creates even more issues as he loses marks on set pieces, fails to complete simple passes, and generally explodes mentally. There is a tiny chance he’s similar to Zavaleta/Ockford/Long in ability (meh MLS players), but with the development of S2 defenders, I don’t see him having time to prove that.
Chad Marshall – 7 | Community – 5.9
Marshall had a ton of defensive actions, equaling Kim’s team high of seven interceptions, and added five clearances and a few tackles to boot. The game got spread out a bit but the steadying presence of Marshall often stopped chances.
One thing I liked: He and Kim continue to work well together, often covering beautifully for one another. When Kim slipped in the 30th, it was Marshall who dropped back to support.
One thing I didn’t like: Although they work well together, at times Kim tends to get ahead of Marshall, and they will need to fine tune their defensive line.
Going forward: I love the coverage these central defenders offer, each showing skills that mesh well with the other. Marshall is due some offensive luck, and my expectation is as the team gets healthier around him, he’ll do exactly what he always does: play really good defense.
Kim Kee-hee – 6 | Community – 6.0
I like what Kim brings to the Sounder defense: seven interceptions, four tackles and three clearances filled up the stat book on a busy evening for Kim, and I can only imagine what this defense would look like without him on the team.
One thing I liked: In the 8th minute Kim chased BWP all the way across the field to the opposite sideline and did a very good job all night of sticking to the elusive Red Bull striker.
One thing I didn’t like: He needs to keep his concentration throughout an entire game, as again there were a few times he spaced out and NYRB nearly scored. Kim was beaten by BWP on a header in the 67th, taking an outside position that allowed Wright-Phillips to turn, rush to goal, and get a shot off. Four minutes later Valot snuck in behind him on a deflected header and had a wide open goal.
Going forward: I am very excited about this center back pairing. I think the speed and anticipation of Kim combines well with the positioning and consistency of Marshall. I would love to see Kim solidify his hold on the starting spot and contribute to many more shutouts.
Jordan McCrary – 5 | Community – 4.5 (off 78’ for Eikrem)
I think McCrary played. I have almost no notes on him and he had nearly 50 less touches than Francis opposite him. His defense was okay, especially in light of the awful left side, but a back five needs to get width from the outside backs and McCrary rarely pushed forward.
One thing I liked: In the 65th minute he earned a key pass with a nice entry into the box that set up Shipp after a give and go.
One thing I didn’t like: His connection with Nicolas Lodeiro on the right side was nonexistent in the first half and he failed to get enough penetration up the right to support the runs of Lodeiro who tucked central.
Going forward: McCrary is an adequate backup and while he isn’t going to win a game for you, he is solid enough to not lose it. I like his pace and would love to see him develop a bit but realistically, just getting us back to a healthy Leerdam without being awful would be great.
Victor Rodriguez – 6 | Community – 5.8
Rodriguez started this game and had many nice plays without contributing directly to big chances. His touch let him down on multiple occasions, which I attribute to rust and getting back into fitness. He managed four shots and combined well with teammates while pushing the offense forward.
One thing I liked: In the 63rd minute Rodriguez one-timed a ball wide that perfectly put Francis up the wing. He is by far the best on the team at utilizing his outside backs, tucking inside and hitting overlapping teammates well.
One thing I didn’t like: A better touch twice in the first half likely scores goals, with 25th and 42nd minute chances failing to score after great play to do everything but get the shot on frame. For a team begging for goals, he has to score one of these.
Going forward: V-Rod needs to get fit and capitalize on the good spots he’s getting into. It’s clear he is a tremendous technical player, and I’m optimistic his effectiveness will only increase as he gets more full-90s into his legs, but as someone who is already goal dangerous, I am looking for more.
Cristian Roldan – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 5.4
This was a very good game from Roldan that was hidden behind a messy match through the midfield where he played essentially as a single defensive midfielder and carried everyone around him. Roldan was awesome: six tackles, four interceptions, a clearance, a shot on goal, and two key passes.
One thing I liked: Pushing forward, he sliced through the NYRB defense in the 25th minute and slipped V-Rod through on goal with a great pass that deserved an assist.
One thing I didn’t like: After BWP posted up on Frei for a 52nd minute corner, it was Roldan who was matched up with the NY forward on the recycled pass and even though they are listed at the same height, Roldan was easily beat for a header goal.
Going forward: This was the kind of outing that Roldan turned in throughout last season, but he’s been much less consistent in 2018. He needs to return to that form and continue the momentum from this solid performance.
Osvaldo Alonso – 4 | Community – 4.9 (off 59’ for Shipp)
This was a lousy performance from Alonso, who was a huge reason the defense leaked like a sieve. He was slow, out of position, made bad decisions, and put huge amounts of pressure on players around him to pick up the slack.
One thing I liked: The only time Alonso got forward he charged into the box in the 28th and nearly won a PK for Seattle.
One thing I didn’t like: He was terrible after the first 15 minutes or so, showing zero movement and range, zero pace, and relying on Roldan to cover huge amounts of space in the middle. His decision making to try to dribble out of trouble in the 46th and then walking after losing the ball was criminal.
Going forward: For him to go forward. Alonso’s passing map for this match was purely side to side and Seattle desperately needs a midfield that can push the ball vertically, not just play safe, square passes all game. Try to get as much as possible from him until Svensson can return.
Nicolas Lodeiro – 6 | Community – 6.1 (MOTM)
Lodeiro didn’t have nearly the impact in this match that you would like your best player to have. His touches were down and he failed to get a shot off, but he did lead the team with five tackles and three key passes.
One thing I liked: In the 28th minute he combined smoothly with V-Rod, as the two used smart movement and deft touches to carve up the field, earning a corner as six straight touches from these two saw Nico released into the box.
One thing I didn’t like: Lodeiro has to be more active, which may be something I have never said about him. He is a great player but he only played like a good one.
Going forward: He doesn’t seem to work well with Bruin, and these two almost never combine. Seattle needs to find a way to allow their best player to succeed, and it’s essential that moving forward Lodeiro isn’t just an afterthought in game planning.
Will Bruin – 4 | Community – 4.7
If he’s hurt, why is he playing? If he’s not hurt, why is he playing so badly? He had 26 touches in the entire match and his movement and effort was decidedly poor. His holdup play in this formation that was so good against Toronto was nonexistent, and the hustle that defined that match was missing.
One thing I liked: In the 87th minute Bruin checked to the ball, turned, and found a pass on goal. He needs to do more of this and stop running away from the ball!
One thing I didn’t like: After V-Rod had made a beautiful play on the sideline to create space, Bruin had a chance to dive near and offer a run for Rodriguez that would have allowed a direct vertical ball into the near corner of the box with runners behind. Instead, he faded away from the play, making a far post run and asking V-Rod to make a 40 yard, left footed, over the top cross. It was no surprise when this failed.
Going forward: When healthy, Bruin can be a poacher on this team. He offers the ability to hold up the ball and support others when he remembers he isn’t Jordan Morris. He should do those things.
Clint Dempsey – 5 | Community – 4.5 (on 46’ for Alfaro)
Dempsey needs a forward willing to make runs for him to ghost off of, and that didn’t happen much against NY. He still drew plenty of attention from the home team, but with a defensive midfield that struggled, he rarely saw good chances going toward goal and doesn’t seem capable of creating his own.
One thing I liked: He nearly found Victor through in the 77th and these two looked to have a nice rapport on the field.
One thing I didn’t like: V-Rod is capable of awesome passes, such as a 50th minute ball that put Dempsey through, but Clint wasn’t fast enough to get there.
Going forward: Dempsey is no longer a dominant player but his drop-off in output this season has been a huge disappointment. He is a streaky player, and I would love to see him get a goal and regain the fire he used to play with. I haven’t seen this since his suspension earlier this year. If there is anyone who should be able to combine with more quality around him, it’s Dempsey.
Harry Shipp – 7 | Community – 6.3 (on 58’ for Alonso)
I have been very impressed with Shipp since he came back, scoring goals and being the creative player I believe the team thought they were getting last year. He plays with a very high soccer IQ and his runs and off-ball movement are vastly helpful to this team. When given a chance to hit a ball early he did exactly that, and put in a clinical far post finish.
One thing I liked: More than just scoring a goal, Shipp was the most goal-dangerous player for Seattle, getting three shots to lead the team in a mere third of a match. His ability to come in and be a spark has been tremendous.
One thing I didn’t like: Shipp was trailing the play in the 76th and was forced to yellow card foul on defense. He isn’t a fast player and it showed there.
Going forward: He should continue to earn playing time and do what he’s been doing. Every young player on the bench should watch his off ball movement and learn how to be effective in the spaces around the bigger name players.
Magnus Wolff Eikrem – 4 | Community – 5.2 (on 78’ for McCrary)
Coming off an injury, Wolff was ineffective when added to a wide-open game against New York.
One thing I liked: MWE has nice movement, and I think Seattle needs to utilize it more as he is often open and the team just doesn’t find him.
One thing I didn’t like: He didn’t complete a single pass (0/4) in 15 minutes. He has to be better than that as an impact sub.
Going forward: Wolff needs to demand the ball and show his talent for this team. My concerns about his mismanagement aside, this is a guy who when healthy should be an attacking asset. I would love to see him get time centrally.
Allen Chapman – 5 | Community – 5.1
Chapman was okay in this game but could have called a few more fouls. Both teams were quite frustrated by this ref just swallowing his whistle and it was only due to the lack of a Chara-, Waston-, Feilhaber-, or Dwyer-type physicality that this wasn’t an issue.
One thing I liked: A 6th minute foul on Kim was correctly called a foul, and not some silly DOGSO red that other MLS refs might call.
One thing I didn’t like: Nico 52’, Roldan 55’, McCrary 62’, Royer 68’, V-Rod 85’ were all 100% fouls that I am flabbergasted didn’t get a whistle.
Going forward: In the 86th minute Derrick Etienne dragged his foot across Roldan’s face. Maybe call it next time, eh?
New York Red Bulls MOTM
BWP makes good runs, is pretty clinical, and has been having a good 2018 so far. His match against Seattle was no exception.
There isn’t much to take from this match. The scoreline was maybe nice to Seattle, but the conditions didn’t have me expecting a lot more than this. Now there is time to get a bit more healthy, watch some World Cup and refocus on a desperate need to accumulate points in the next few weeks.