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Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy: Player ratings

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Seattle drops five on LA as Ruidiaz and Lodeiro do pretty much whatever they want.

I’m glad I got to watch the LA Galaxy match live, as Seattle scored early and often, running ex-coach Sigi Schmid and his team out of the building in a complete rout. The 5-0 scoreline was closer than the match, with Seattle punishing the woodwork and seeing other quality chances go just wide. People talk about how many injuries the Galaxy had, but Seattle was never even close to being blown out like this with their own early-season injuries. The Galaxy were completely overmatched, and they were lucky to escape without further embarrassment.

*Until I recover from bronchitis and pneumonia, ratings shall be terse.


Goalkeeper

Stefan Frei – 7 | Community – 7.3

Frei didn’t have much to do in this game, but the few chances Los Angeles had to get a stray goal here or there were quickly snuffed out by Frei and a strong defense in front of him.

One thing I liked: In the 75th LAG lofted a ball over the top and got a free header on the back post, but Frei expertly moved his feet well to position covering the bar and easily saved.

One thing I didn’t like: A minute later he forced a long outlet pass through the middle to a covered Bruin. You are up 5-nil, man, no need to rush.

Going forward: This game and Frei deserved the shutout.

Defense

Nouhou – 6 | Community – 6.5

Nouhou stuck to the hits this week: strong defense with a sprinkling of fast charges up the line to put in crosses. 87% passing, very strong defense, and a good match overall from the left back.

One thing I liked: In the 50th minute Nouhou quickly recognized the stellar run of Lodeiro and put a pass in behind that ultimately led to an own goal from Servando Carrasco.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 33rd minute Nico perfectly set him up for a first-time shot with a delicate header and Nouhou took an extra touch, eventually losing the ball. He has to improve his offensive output if he’s going to play in this Seattle system.

Going forward: It’s annoying seeing Nouhou be the constant whipping boy whenever anything goes wrong on defense. It can’t always be his fault, and you know what? It isn’t.

Chad Marshall – 8 | Community – 8.3

Marshall is heating up on set pieces, and after being close multiple times this year is suddenly getting great service and finishing headers. Defensively he is rock solid, once again combining with Kim Kee-hee to hold the middle while boasting good passing accuracy and cohesion, earning a clean sheet.

One thing I liked: In the 3rd and 44th minutes he got loose from defenders and scored and hit the crossbar, respectively. Marshall gives you a huge advantage on set pieces, and this is yet one more way for Seattle to punish teams.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 36th minute he and Nouhou got crossed up, allowing Ola Kamara to get in between them, but luckily, he put his unmarked header wide.

Going forward: When Marshall gets on a scoring run, watch out.

Kim Kee-hee – 7 | Community – 7.4

The Kim-Marshall (Mim? Karshall?) combination in the middle is so solid as they complement each other’s playstyle. Kim was great again, as usual offering speed and positioning to support huge areas of the defense.

One thing I liked: In the 84th minute, with the game decided and everyone tired, Kim found himself 1-v-1 with Ariel Lassiter, and promptly stuffed him. He does lots of good stuff with his speed and going forward but this was just perfect defense.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 75th minute a far post cross saw Kim stuck in between two Galaxy attackers, and he allowed a free back post header.

Going forward: It’s his turn to show he can be a force on set pieces.

Kelvin Leerdam – 6 | Community – 6.9

Leerdam had a fairly quiet evening, with 80% passing but a nice six clearances. I thought his concentration waned late, and many of the Galaxy’s best attacks came with Leerdam lax on the back side.

One thing I liked: In the 7th minute Leerdam put an absolute beauty of a pass over the top to Ruidiaz that was so, so good. That pass is an assist very soon I think.

One thing I didn’t like: The aforementioned back side defense really left Kim out to dry, and Frei had to make a few saves that should not have been necessary.

Going forward: Leerdam had kind of an off game, but he was still fine defensively.

Defensive Midfield

Gustav Svensson – 8 | Community – 7.5 (off 84’ for A. Roldan)

Svensson again held the middle together for Seattle, with multiple tackles, interceptions, and clearances while also contributing 90% passing through the middle, including an assist. He tossed in two shots and a key pass to boot.

One thing I liked: Even though he plays defensive midfield, his passing is often attacking and more importantly, it’s often first-time touches, such as his incredible assist to Shipp in the 18th. This pass was perfect.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 11th minute he correctly rotated out to support Leerdam on the wing and whiffed defensively, allowing LAG to attack.

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

Osvaldo Alonso – 6 | Community – 6.7 (off 62’ for Bruin)

Alonso had a fairly quiet afternoon. Although his passing was accurate (90%) it wasn’t very dangerous and other than a few tackles, he had little on the stat sheet to remark about.

One thing I liked: His positioning looked better this game, whether because LAG was so bad or not, I don’t know. Alonso was consistently in the middle.

One thing I didn’t like: a 20th minute dribble attempt by Alonso went very badly, resulting in a Galaxy steal and scoring chance. The sooner he stops trying to dribble out of the back the better.

Going forward: I love his emotional intensity, but he’s just an okay player right now from my vantage point.

Attacking Midfield

Harry Shipp – 8 | Community – 7.4 (off 60’ for Rodriguez)

Shipp was once again highly active and it seemed to energize the Sounders. Every scoring opportunity had Harry’s fingerprints all over it, and even though he had but a single key pass, he had a goal and an assist and his movement and connections helped create chance after chance.

One thing I liked: He was in the perfect spot in the 18th for a calm finish, but it was his assist in the 59th minute that impressed me more — multiple touches on the buildup, strong movement off the run of Lodeiro, and great vision and awareness to pick out Roldan for the open look.

One thing I didn’t like: in the 13th minute he made a risky pass across the middle, in a game that was not quite yet out of hand.

Going forward: Shipp showed he can work flawlessly with Nico, and these two combined all afternoon to create chances. He should continue to get the opportunity to do so.

Nicolas Lodeiro – 8 | Community – 8.8 (MOTM)

Two shots, five key passes and an assist on 88 touches was a tidy bit of work for Nico against LA. His movement befuddled the Galaxy defense, and time and time again he set up teammates for strong scoring opportunities.

One thing I liked: Although the improved set piece delivery is great, it was the 50th minute run that ripped the entire Galaxy defense apart that I loved the most. His movement put the defense under so much pressure that a slip, a mistouch, any mistake and Owen Goal is pouncing on the loose ball for the Sounders.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 24th minute he had a risky back pass that nearly put Seattle in a hole.

Going forward: Again, Nico recorded little in the way of defensive actions, but was a complete monster offensively, creating chance after chance for a team that suddenly looks as goal dangerous as anyone in the league.

Cristian Roldan – 7 | Community – 7.6

Roldan seems out of place on the wing but he’s a very smart player, so he makes it work. He adds some nice defensive work into his offensive duties, which included a goal based on being in the right place and making the right play.

One thing I liked: In the 37th minute we saw vintage Roldan holdup play, this time on the wing, as he held off multiple defenders, used his strong body to shield the ball and spun out of their trap to feed the ball forward. This sort of play seems wasted on the wing.

One thing I didn’t like: His back pass right before half was stolen and allowed Sebastian Lletget a chance to cut into the lead.

Going forward: Roldan is a good player who needs to be on the field. Maybe next week it’s time for Victor to move him back to defensive midfield?

Forward

Raul Ruidiaz – 8 (MOTM) | Community – 7.6

Ruidiaz was absolutely fantastic in this match and even if he hadn’t scored, he was my MOTM. His movement and spacing is clinical, and when combined with smart teammates can rip defenses apart. Against the Galaxy he had a huge six shots (on 41 touches) to go with two key passes, and a goal (and he could have had about four others). He was dominant.

One thing I liked: His pressure helped force the second goal. His positioning was perfect on the third goal, forcing Carrasco to score in his own net. Goal four saw multiple defenders so occupied with RR’s nifty movement that Roldan was wide open. The fifth goal was class, as even though he cut his angle down by creating space from the defender (poor Carrasco again) his calm finish was surgical to side net. He had an early header saved off the line, a breakaway got a mistouch on the turf and he put two other shots wide that will likely score most of the time.

One thing I didn’t like: If a team gives you a hattrick, take it.

Going forward: Everyone was happy/relieved to see Ruidiaz score, and he’s going to score a lot based on this match. The injection of V-Rod (not Will Bruin) really unlocked him.

Substitutes

Victor Rodriguez – 7 | Community – 6.8 (on 60’ for Shipp)

This was a very nice shift for V-Rod, who dominated in his 30 minutes. Two shots, two key passes, 24 touches, and showing he is already compatible with Ruidiaz. These two nearly combined for three goals, and I can’t wait to see this combo continue to carve up defenses.

One thing I liked: He did it a few times, but the 90th minute slip pass left Ruidiaz so alone I think even the forward was surprised, pushing his shot wide. This is the kind of connection these two technical players have, and good things look likely from this combination.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 73rd minute he missed Nouhou on an overlap, perhaps forgetting how fast he is.

Going forward: I love Roldan, but he’s not the guy to open up Ruidiaz. V-Rod showed this ability in spades against the Galaxy, and I hope to see him show this team and the fans what we have been missing without his creativity on the field.

Will Bruin – 6 | Community – 6.4 (on 62’ for Alonso)

Will came in and did about what he has done all year: hang out in the middle of the field and link up a bit, while at times trying to charge up field on diagonals. He managed nine touches.

One thing I liked: A couple nice holdup plays in the 76th and 86th helped Seattle transition from back to front.

One thing I didn’t like: Pick one: the 65th minute backheel to no one, or the 82nd minute offsides attempt to get in behind. Play to your strengths, man.

Going forward: Bruin was an interesting sub as we didn’t need offense and he’s really good at adding late game offense, so instead he was just another slowish guy in the middle. I love his willingness to mix it up with the small technical guys, but would rather he be less playmaker and more finisher.

Alex Roldan – 6 | Community – 5.6 (on 84’ for Svensson)

The multi-Roldan defensive midfield was tried again, with mixed results.

One thing I liked: Alex had good composure, especially in the 89th minute under pressure to spin away, and he kept the ball well all night (88% passing).

One thing I didn’t like: His positioning as a defensive midfielder was all over the place, high and wide and not super disciplined, hanging his brother out to dry a time or two.

Going forward: Who did Jordy Delem piss off?

Referee

Mark Geiger – 6 | Community – 5.7

This is an average grade mostly because we have had some bad refs. This was okay by Geiger, who wasn’t forced to make any difficult calls in a game that was over early.

One thing I liked: There were no really questionable fouls, everyone played clean, and the game went by quickly.

One thing I didn’t like: If it was a closer game the 56th minute handball and 79th minute PK would be huge talking points. I believe the player made himself bigger in the first and there is no way that RR fouled anyone in the second. This is why VAR is there, so why not use it?

Going forward: Geiger isn’t a great referee but a clean team like Seattle and a whopping like this was a walk in the park. He won’t always have this easy of a match, and I hope he’s up to making some hard decisions that aren’t hidden by the game state.

LA Galaxy MOTM

With an own goal and an assist to Ruidiaz for Seattle’s fifth, Servando Carrasco is your undisputed MOTM. Once a Sounder, et cetera, et cetera.

*Ed. Note: Leaving Carrasco out of the poll was a blatant oversight on my part. Apologies to our readers, and most importantly, to Mr. Carrasco.


Beat. Portland.