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Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake: Player ratings

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At least Harry Shipp showed that placing players in their natural positions can have (somewhat) positive effects.

There wasn’t much to rate. Looking for reasons to justify my existence with rating a team that can’t create, a coach who either doesn’t have the pieces or can’t seem to find any tactical cohesiveness, and a rapidly changing family life to prepare for, frankly I found myself pretty busy this week. I watched, I rated, but I just don’t see the need to deeply analyze this hugely flawed team. Instead I have submitted my ratings, a good and a bad thing each player did in the game, and my biggest current gripe about him.


Goalkeeper

Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 5.5

Frei hasn’t been shelled all year. He gets two or three decent shots against per game and if we had any kind of midfield and forward cohesion, we might be talking about what an amazing defense this is.

One good thing: A 77th minute diving save on Bofo Saucedo was very nice.

One bad thing: 63rd minute footwork was suspect, nearly allowing Corey Baird to score on what should have been a routine cross into the forward.

My big gripe: Frei is really good. I would love to see him be great, pull some Rimando magic out.

Defense

Nouhou – 6 | Community – 4.6

So Nouhou can play 90. He has just been inexplicably pulled cause … reasons. Great.

One good thing: In the 56th minute he made an excellent run up field, found the ball from a great Dempsey feed and unleashed a perfect pass from the width across the six-yard box that should have been finished by a Sounder to change the entire game outlook (RSL scored immediately thereafter).

One bad thing: While his decision making was good most of the match, Seattle was very lucky his blind, 30th minute pass to the middle (and directly to RSL) wasn’t immediately turned into a goal against. He just can’t make that pass.

My big gripe: He was completely shackled after SKC by the coaches and it seems to have destroyed his decision making. He is not a good combo with Alex Roldan whatsoever.

Chad Marshall – 6 | Community – 5.6 (MOTM)

He makes everyone around him better.

One good thing: In the 70th minute Chad chased down Baird all the way across the field and completely shut him down 1v1. Marshall is 11 years older than the RSL player and, even tired, still showed that experience rules.

One bad thing: He put Cristian under pressure a few times with passes, but who are we kidding? It’s Marshall and there just aren’t many “bad” things to say.

My big gripe: We can’t score from the run of play without playmakers, but we are still earning set pieces. Why aren’t we aiming for Chad’s head every single set piece? He’s one of the few consistent mismatches we have on the field and we aren’t taking advantage.

Kim Kee-hee – 6 | Community – 5.5

If this were a better team we might be applauding the addition of Kim, who has been great, as the fantastic offseason signing of an above average MLS starting center back.

One good thing: In the 23rd and 51st he showed tremendous range, coming across to defend when Alex Roldan was badly beat. His speed allows him to stay with nearly any runner in the game, which is wonderful.

One bad thing: A 33rd minute whiff on Damir Kreilach, who should have done better after beating Kim and having a shot.

My big gripe: His positioning can get a bit wonky and he’s been lucky not to directly be at fault for a few goals. I want him to be awesome right now because I am not sure Torres is great and Kim can be.

Jordan McCrary – 5 | Community – 4.1

Why did he start here when we have a really good right back?

One good thing: He played hard all match, as exhibited by an 84th minute play where he chased down Saucedo, matched up 1v1 with him and dominated, conceding a corner but keeping Seattle in the match.

One bad thing: Jordan tried to offside trap RSL in the 57th and when it wasn’t called, they scored. Bad choice, man.

My big gripe: He is really fast but putting Leerdam in front of him (twice!) were awful decisions and prevented him from using that speed.

Defensive Midfield

Cristian Roldan – 5 | Community – 4.9

He isn’t creating anything from defensive midfield, with only three passes actively attacking towards the RSL goal. Playing next to Delem was a mess.

One good thing: He showed a few nice possessions in the midfield and defensively did an okay job.

One bad thing: Why take a short free kick in the 83rd minute with our center backs upfield? I see a lack of mental maturity from Roldan that is frustrating, and decisions like this are suspect.

My big gripe: This is the team MVP from last year (in my eyes). He wears the armband. He has been merely average this year. That’s not good enough.

Jordy Delem – 3 | Community – 4.1 (off 46’ for Shipp)

There is no world where this team wants to play this guy as much as it has. But it’s not his fault that the team keeps asking him to go out there and be something he isn’t. He can’t move the ball toward the opponent’s goal and his combination with Roldan has been poor.

One good thing: The team pitched a shutout while he was on the field.

One bad thing: Once again he got a silly yellow out of the blue. Similar to Alfaro and some of the other younger guys, he has to curb the yips where he just loses his mind for a moment.

My big gripe: Delem consistently gives us the same game (other than MINN) and at some point, he has to be more than a complete liability moving the ball towards the opponent’s goal.

Attacking Midfield

Alex Roldan – 4 | Community – 3.2

If I’m being generous, three passes in the attacking half of the field were completed towards goal by A-Rold. But eight failed, and that’s terrible for an “attacking” midfielder.

One good thing: He led the team with eight tackles, which is high for an “attacking” midfielder.

One bad thing: There were many, but defensively in the 35th minute not getting goalside on Baird in the box was egregiously wrong. His 88th minute dribbling into the box, unable to find a cross and eventually losing the ball for an RSL break-out sums up his abject offensive “ability.”

My big gripe: I just don’t get it. He’s not ready for this level and shouldn’t be asked to continually get run out there to struggle. He offers nothing dangerous at goal and doesn’t open Nouhou up to succeed either.

Clint Dempsey – 6 | Community – 4.3

Lost in that bummer of a game were a number of very nice plays from Dempsey, who had a solid match. His options as outlets were C-Rold who made six passes in the offensive half all match, a hurt Will Bruin, a recycled right back, and a USL guy.

One good thing: His 65th minute through ball to Bruin was magical.

One bad thing: Dempsey can’t do it all and his frustration has led to him forcing things and not trusting guys.

My big gripe: He can’t make magic happen as often anymore, and when he does, the pass goes to a hurt Bruin who does nothing with it.

Kelvin Leerdam – 3 | Community – 3.9 (off 64’ for Neagle)

When your midfielder touches the ball ten times in 63 minutes there’s a problem. This was a disaster of an idea that should have been put to bed in the home RSL match.

One good thing: Eh.

One bad thing: Kelvin could very well have been red carded off the field in the 10th minute, showing again a penchant for out of the blue, unnecessary, hard tackles that could really hurt the team (and opponents).

My big gripe: We’ve proven that he isn’t an answer at winger. He’s a very good outside back, why the heck don’t we play him there where he has been effective supporting the offense? He isn’t great defensively at winger for whatever reason, so why not let him be the guy we know who can defend the right and make quality decisions going forward?

Forward

Will Bruin – 4 | Community – 4.4 (off 74’ for Rodriguez)

I appreciate that he tried and it’s clear that he adds a dynamic to this team that helps. Why was he left in when he was hurt? Why did he play if he was a risk to get injured? Why does he keep making runs like he’s fast?

One good thing: His 63rd minute backheel hold up flick was a bit of class.

One bad thing: Bruin has to score a wide open 56th minute header on a perfect pass from Nouhou, which would have completely changed the entire game dynamic and possibly the season.

My big gripe: If you are hurt, don’t play. Stop running away from the ball when you don’t have the speed to do anything with it. Embrace your skillset and stop playing in a way that accentuates your faults.

Substitutes

Harry Shipp – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 4.6 (on HT for Delem)

This game illustrated what having an attack-minded, creative player could do for this team. Shipp was very good defensively and immediately upgraded the attack moving forward.

One good thing: Recognizing space and defensive susceptibility, Harry dove into the box in the 79th minute and got on the end of a Victor Rodriguez pass. This was a natural attacking, smart player who understood how to attack a defense.

One bad thing: A miscommunication with McCrary in the 61st led to an unnecessary corner kick conceded.

My big gripe: Harry Shipp isn’t the answer to all of this team’s issues, but he shows what actually using creative players can do for the team. Seattle was vastly more dangerous with Shipp on the field merely because he looked forward with passes. Shipp isn’t an amazing player, but he shows what this team is missing, and that is something I think SSFC should have realized.

Lamar Neagle – 3 | Community – 3.2 (on 64’ for Leerdam)

Oh, Neagle played? He was brought in to make something happen, but here’s a fun stat: Neagle tried seven passes. Four were complete (all away from goal) and his three toward goal (and that’s a very liberal reading, as two were square-ish) were all turnovers.

One good thing: In the 65th he supported Bruin’s run and I can’t believe I am saying this but I think he should have gotten the ball. Would have been better than kicking into two defenders and Rimando while almost falling down.

One bad thing: Neagle missing a 69th minute trap out of bounds is a microcosm of him in the last few years.

My big gripe: What are they seeing that I do not? Zero defensive actions. Zero offensive actions (but one offside!). 57% passing. Not a single pass completed toward goal for an “offensive sub.” Why?

Victor Rodriguez – 6 | Community – 5.0 (on 74’ Bruin)

He was the attacking catalyst that we were missing, and a lot of the skills we needed him to have were there. He played 15 minutes and had a key pass, and a few other great plays including 88% passing with everything going at goal.

One good thing: His 79th minute play was a beauty. Shrugging off a defender, he churned towards goal, making himself directly dangerous, then slipped in an inch-perfect pass to Shipp in the box, setting up a great chance.

One bad thing: Victor tried an 80th minute spin in traffic that lost possession and led to a long Sunny shot.

My big gripe: This guy has to stay healthy. He can’t do it all, but he’s really good, and we need him.

Referee

Kevin Stott – 4 | Community – 4.5

Our first repeat ref of the season didn’t improve on his last grade.

One good thing: Advantage was played okay most of the match, and no one (luckily) got hurt.

One bad thing: I have no idea how Silva, Beckerman, Costa and Bruin didn’t get yellow cards. What the heck is he calling?

My big gripe: He’s so damn inconsistent that numerous plays were just completely random from my vantage point.

Real Salt Lake MOTM

Corey Baird received the majority of the votes, likely for scoring the opening goal (but possibly for having an unnecessary E in his first name).


The sky is officially falling. There, I said it. Oddly enough, after rewatching the game I think we still, inexplicably, will make the playoffs. It starts with DC.