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Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas: Player ratings

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Lodeiro assists on one and scores the other as Seattle takes down the top team in the West.

Western Conference leader Dallas came into CenturyLink Field with a full, rested, and healthy team and Seattle dominated the game and left with a full three points. Other than a few hiccups, Seattle controlled the match, and the 2-1 Sounders win was justified. If not for a few unlucky bounces or good plays by Dallas, it would have been even more lopsided. Seattle is showing that when healthy, they can play with anyone.

*I’m sick, so this is a shorter than normal ratings.


Goalkeeper

Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.8

Frei didn’t have a ton to do, rarely touching the ball and doing an okay job distributing.

One thing I liked: Working with Smith, Francis, Torres, and a combination of backlines, I thought the defense stayed very compact, and Frei did a good job directing the traffic in front of him.

One thing I didn’t like: After Dallas scored, Seattle lost composure, and Frei forced the ball short a few times, nearly resulting in a PK, instead of just giving the defense time to breathe.

Going forward: Seattle honestly deserved a shutout in this game. I would like to see Frei and company earn more clean sheets for an obviously great defense.

Defense

Brad Smith – 7 | Community – 7.3 (off 73’ for Francis)

Most of my scouting report held true. (Remember that 44th minute first-time right foot that nearly found top corner?) We saw the easy grace at which he ran full speed and his decision making on offense was great. There is still some work to do defensively.

One thing I liked: In minute 3 he not only got into great position on the wing, but his cross was perfect, forcing a fantastic defensive lunge to prevent a Cristian Roldan tap-in at the far post. His service is a step up and he was consistently a threat down the wing.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 58th minute he failed to get an inside position on Carlos Gruezo, who managed to win a dangerous header. Smith needs to get used to the physicality of this league, as he was often frustrated by fouls not called.

Going forward: His defense is okay, but it’s the offensive end where he shines. I thought he and Harry Shipp were less teammates and more Harry making room for Brad, so hoping to see an increased cohesiveness as Smith gels with his teammates more.

Chad Marshall – 8 | Community – 7.8

If you give Marshall 11 corner kicks in a half, he is going to score one.

One thing I liked: In minute 39 Marshall came across to defend a long over the top Dallas pass and made this gentle, floating chest pass right to Smith that was just gorgeous. His control with non-foot body parts is unmatched, and a huge reason Seattle keeps possession so well.

One thing I didn’t like: I think he has to yell at Alonso to cover better on the Dallas goal, as Chad was caught in between players and the communication has to be improved.

Going forward: Chad is going to start and play great.

Kim Kee-hee – 8 | Community – 7.3

Kim had nine interceptions. NINE! Also four tackles and a clear and was everywhere defensively.

One thing I liked: In the 23rd minute his slide tackle on the wing stopped Dominique Badji from getting in behind, and right after the half, with Marshall out of position, Kim tackled multiple times on the same sequence, defending all the way across the field to stop Dallas.

One thing I didn’t like: Directly after their goal, Kim and Seattle tried to play the ball out of the back and were nearly punished. They need to have better composure.

Going forward: Showing no worse for his injury against Minnesota, Kim was fantastic in this match and should continue to add that pace to the defense.

Kelvin Leerdam – 6 | Community – 6.6 (off 88’ for Torres)

Seattle actually attacked more up the Leerdam/Roldan side than the left, but there weren’t a lot of notes for Kelvin this week.

One thing I liked: Dallas had zero quality attacks through Leerdam/Kim, who completely locked down their side. Kelvin also frequently got into the attack.

One thing I didn’t like: I’d love to see Kelvin get some stats for all his good play; at some point these runs and passes have to be more than just “close”.

Going forward: I have no concerns with Leerdam, he just quietly does nearly everything right.

Defensive Midfield

Gustav Svensson – 7 | Community – 7.0

Goose was everywhere. Again. I cannot overstate how much his movement is holding the entire Sounders midfield together. Since returning from the World Cup he has been incredible.

One thing I liked: Svensson’s first touch is more and more likely to find Nicolas Lodeiro, as these two have developed a nice cohesion, and often when Goose gets near the ball I see Lodeiro making strong runs in anticipation.

One thing I didn’t like: He got a little caught up in the frenzied nature of the match, and was baited into a yellow card right before Dallas scored.

Going forward: Sign this guy to a multi-year contract ASAP.

Osvaldo Alonso – 6 | Community – 6.6

Another 91% passing performance was somewhat misleading, as many of his passes tended to put teammates in rough positions. There is no doubt that Alonso is improving, however his penchant for awful giveaways in the first 20 minutes of matches has to change, and he needs much more range if he is going to stay a starter.

One thing I liked: A 59th minute hip tackle and possession won was “vintage Ozzie” and he still does as good a job as any in finding teammates with passes.

One thing I didn’t like: Part of the reason Kim had so many interceptions was free runners in behind where Alonso should have been, and his positioning shows a huge lack of mobility that luckily teammates are covering. His tackle in the box on Urruti was unnecessary and stupid, and another ref could have given Dallas a PK.

Going forward: Alonso is the captain and emotional leader on the team, but performance-wise is just okay. Not sure we are going to see any change in the lineups while winning though.

Attacking Midfield

Harry Shipp – 6 | Community – 6.2 (off 77’ for Rodriguez)

It was clear that Smith and Shipp (Smipp? Shith?) hadn’t played a lot together, and it was also clear that Harry is a strong tactician as he was able to completely adjust his movement and runs to acclimate to Smith. This was very encouraging.

One thing I liked: When Shipp adjusted to the runs of his left back, he repeatedly opened up space for Smith up the line. In the 8th and 32nd with Smith in advanced positions, Harry was in perfect defensive position to support.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 46th the ball fell to Harry on the far post and he hesitated before putting a weak shot wide. For a few games he was lethal and hungry, and we need to see more of that.

Going forward: With Victor Rodriguez coming back, Harry may find himself moved around, but I still think he’s an integral part of the Sounders’ resurgence.

Nicolas Lodeiro – 8 (MOTM) | Community – 8.3 (MOTM)

Three shots, three key passes, a goal and an assist: very strong output from a player who is starting to just dominate games in the middle of the field.

One thing I liked: I told my buddy Andy in the stands he should just shoot it, as there would be a scrum in the box, so thanks Nico for making me look like a genius on that set piece goal. Also set piece goals are great, and something Seattle can add to their arsenal.

One thing I didn’t like: He missed Raul Ruidiaz a few times and I just want to freak out when these two finally combine on a goal.

Going forward: This was the second game in a row that Nico was very offensive, played nearly no defense, and just tried to jam the ball down the opponent’s throat. With V-Rod and other offensive options coming on board, I am not sure he will continue this role.

Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 6.8

Cristian hustled a lot, and a surprising majority of Seattle’s attacks came down his right side, but there is still plenty of evidence that he’s not great at playing wide.

One thing I liked: It was his 62nd minute free kick earned that Seattle scored the game winner from. No matter where he plays, he does the little things that help his team win.

One thing I didn’t like: A breakaway in the 19th minute illustrated his limitations on offense. With the ball and space, he dribbled away from the defense, fading towards the width of the field instead of driving at the defense, before a bad touch turned the ball over to Dallas. A more polished attacker would drive at the defender and create lanes for RR to run into.

Going forward: Roldan is a good player who needs to be on the field.

Forward

Raul Ruidiaz – 6 | Community – 6.4

Similar to when Nico arrived, Ruidiaz kind of does everything right. His movement is smart, his touch is always goal dangerous and he puts pressure on the defense that continually opens up teammates.

One thing I liked: In the 66th minute he dropped into the hole, got a pass and took one touch immediately towards goal, juked a guy, and got a shot off. He is so goal dangerous and I love it.

One thing I didn’t like: I’m sure in Liga MX he played against plenty of physical center backs, but that head-butting crap is unnecessary and stupid.

Going forward: It’s time for the outside backs to find Ruidiaz, and for Ruidiaz to score.

Substitutes

Waylon Francis – 6 | Community – 5.4 (on 73’ for Smith)

I barely remember him playing.

One thing I liked: Seattle didn’t concede with him on the field.

One thing I didn’t like: Late in a game with a 2-1 lead he was so high offensively that I thought it was an unnecessary risk.

Going forward: Would I rather have Nouhou in for defense late with a lead? Yes.

Victor Rodriguez – 6 | Community – 6.0 (on 77’ for Shipp)

Welcome back.

One thing I liked: His first touch was going at goal. So was his second. He completed all his passes, he got a shot on goal. Not bad for six touches.

One thing I didn’t like: Right after V-Rod was subbed in, Reggie Cannon destroyed him on a crummy tackle. Don’t get hurt, man!

Going forward: V-Rod is a guy who is talented enough to start, and likely changes the lineup quite a bit in doing so. His direct and positive offensive play is a huge asset to a team struggling to score, but it remains to be seen how he fits into the coach’s plans.

Roman Torres – 6 | Community – 5.9 (on 88’ for Leerdam)

5 in the back? I think? Roman played centrally, which was fun.

One thing I liked: When Dallas tries to get tough at the end of the game, it’s always nice to have the big guy on our side.

One thing I didn’t like: Nothing.

Going forward: I have been pleasantly surprised to see Kim keep his starting spot, and Roman has looked good in his time as well. Will we see some rotation?

Referee

Ted Unkel – 5 | Community – 3.8

I was really mad at him live at the game. But now rewatching while sick, I didn’t see as much crap as I thought. Advantage wasn’t given twice, yet no cards came out and Unkel appeared to have the game get away from him late.

One thing I liked: His cards on Kim and Cannon were correct and quick.

One thing I didn’t like: If Unkel had controlled the end of the game better, the late debacle might not have happened. A card for crushing Roldan, limiting encroachment, etc. was necessary.

Going forward: Unkel seemed uninterested in VAR, which I think ultimately benefitted Seattle. I want the refs to use all the tools at their disposal, however, and going forward I want Unkel to focus on early recognition of fouls and preventing the heated ending that occurred.

FC Dallas MOTM

New acquisition Dominique Badji dominated (heh) MOTM voting thanks in large part to what was at the time a match-tying goal.


Beating the top team in the Conference at home is great. Now comes LA, and Seattle has a massive chance to move into the playoff race and continue this fantastic run up the table.