Throughout this season I’ve rated each player for every match. This series of articles will present a recap of Realio’s Ratings, with players ranked in reverse order from 31 to 1. The ranking is from all MLS matches they played in this season, and I’ve included my thoughts on each player going forward.
Please feel free to ask if you want more in-depth data on these players, as I have game-by-game breakdowns, historical data on some players for up to five years, and tons of other info if you have specific questions.
Please keep in mind a few things when looking at these recaps:
- Ratings aren’t the only way to judge a player, and these should not be considered “official.” It’s merely how these players came out in my ratings for the season. While higher ranking players are likely better performers, using ratings to say “X player is better than Y” is not the full picture. There are tons of variables that go into ranking different players.
- Sample size matters. A lot. Two late-game appearances where a player didn’t look completely out of touch may get him a cumulative 6 rating, but another guy who played 20 games and got a 5.9 may be a better player and more valuable to the team. Please consider how much some guys played and realize how sample size can skew both directions. Subs tend to start lower on the scale, and some players who played well but only as subs may be ranked lower than you expect and vice versa.
#31 Trey Muse
Realio’s rating: 0.00 in 0 appearances
Community rating: N/A
MOTM = 0 High = 0 Low = 0
Trey Muse was highly touted out of college, after having played for Indiana University and earned a ton of awards for his college keeping. His numbers were bleak early on as the Tacoma Defiance struggled immensely, but as the team improved, he did as well. He spent the entire year at Tacoma, showing a lot of growth on his obvious raw potential that is pretty exciting. A guy who can make all the acrobatic saves, he definitely showed huge holes in his game and consistency was severely lacking.
What I liked: A year studying the game with Tom Dutra and Stefan Frei? Hell yeah, I like that. Seattle has a proven goalkeeping machine, churning out starting level goalies and showing the ability to not only sign the right keepers, but train them up to be assets. Muse came on strong late and was part of a Defiance surge as they went undefeated in their last five matches, punctuated by an absolutely insane quad save to preserve a draw against New Mexico. He ended up third in the league with 97 saves.
What I didn’t like: Trey was exposed pretty badly for the first half of the year in Tacoma, and ended with a rather dreadful 2.23 GAA. The physical tools are there, but it takes about 18 months for Tom to know if a guy is going to pan out, and we are still in the unrealized potential phase with Muse.
Moving forward: Muse has plenty of time to mature his game, and there is no better place for a developing goalkeeper to be than in the capable hands of Dutra. Although he is likely not ready to sit in the 18 every match just yet, the experience in training with the full team is invaluable. Another year improving at Tacoma could be the springboard he needs to develop in the same fashion as Tyler Miller and Bryan Meredith before him. If he is going to do that, he will need a lot of improvement on distribution in order to play the way Brian Schmetzer expects his keepers to play.
#30 Bryan Meredith
Realio’s rating: 0.00 in 0 appearances
Community rating: N/A
MOTM = 0 High =0 Low = 0
Speaking of Meredith, he comes in at 30th on our ratings recap, mainly because of the excellent durability of Stefan Frei in front of him. Bryan was available nearly every match in the 18, but due to Frei’s 38 appearances this season, Meredith was a well-dressed spectator. It’s hard to tell how good he would have played, but I will say he seemed well liked in the locker room and the kind of guy who teammates loved to have around.
What I liked: At every practice I attended, the keepers were last off the field. Each time I talked to Dutra he praised the work ethic of his guys, and the dedication they had. That includes Meredith, who trained every single day like a starter, and looks to have been rewarded for this by being drafted by Inter Miami.
What I didn’t like: It’s really hard to rate a guy who had one MLS appearance in the last five years. He did play some in Tacoma (eight games) and his abilities paled hugely in comparison to Frei; he had 2.375 GAA for the Defiance. That is both a compliment to Stefan and a bit of a knock on a guy who has been a career back up.
Moving forward: Bryan gets to take his funky hats off to Miami, and compete there for a starting spot on a brand new and exciting team. Seattle gets 50k GAM and protection for the rest of their players, as well as skipping the next expansion draft. This really seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved.
#29 Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez
Realio’s rating: 4.67 in 3 appearances
Community rating: 5.27
MOTM = 0 High = 5 Low = 4
Someone who was completely off the radar for first team play last year, Fonz translated excellent international play into an MLS contract and even some minor playing time in Seattle. He is a young player with an enormous upside, and is already getting plenty of international experience due to production rising through the youth ranks.
What I liked: The talent is definitely there, and AOC is only 17 years old. This guy has a nose for the goal no matter what level of competition he plays at. There isn’t a ton of sparkling moves or physical domination, but instead an intangible ability to get into position to put the ball in the back of the net. From Defiance expert Scott Burbidge: “Late in the season he got some time out on the left wing and performed better than expected. He showed an uncanny ability to get around defenders down the line to get off decent crosses or completely beat them to drive into the box from out wide”
What I didn’t like: Alfonso spent so much time with various national team call ups that he wasn’t around to gel as much as I would have liked with Defiance players, which clearly added to their struggles. The team clearly saw the benefit to promoting him to the first team, but we didn’t see a lot locally to back this up.
Moving forward: With Will Bruin’s status up in the air and Jordan Morris playing on the wing, there is a backup striker role immediately available for this Sounders roster. That might not be the best spot for him, as steady game time in Tacoma could help his development better than sitting with the first team.
#28 Shandon Hopeau
Realio’s rating: 5.00 in 1 appearance
Community rating: 4.43
MOTM = 0 High = 5 Low = 5
Hopeau had to be stoked to get his first MLS playing time in a late-season match against Colorado. He was signed via hardship with only four players who played in the MLS Cup Final seeing the field for Seattle, and predictably, the Sounders struggled immensely.
What I liked: Play the youth! Hopeau is 20 and saw huge growth in Tacoma this season. He looks poised to be the next player from Defiance to get a first team look and has a large upside. His increased confidence and direct attacking wide play is something that Seattle should find valuable.
What I didn’t like: Shandon was tentative in his match in Colorado and that is understandable. At times in Tacoma he looked like a USL level player and at other times he showed much better. The consistency isn’t there yet.
Moving forward: Hopeau is most similar in play to Henry Wingo, but at four years younger, may have a higher upside. This season was one of massive growth for Shandon, and should he continue to develop, will definitely push for a first team contract in the offseason. A perennial occupant of the “most likely to get signed by the first team” for much of the second half of the season, Shandon could make the jump soon.
#27 Henry Wingo
Realio’s rating: 5.00 in 5 appearances
Community rating: 5.33
MOTM = 0 High = 6 Low = 4
Wingo was stated to be a right back in preseason, but didn’t play there at all for Seattle’s first team, instead getting a few appearances at right wing. His steady improvement throughout the season led to him seemingly passing Handwalla Bwana on the depth chart, and earning scouting from teams overseas. A physically strong player who controlled the ball well, Henry increased his direct play this year, which translated to more playing time on a team lacking wide aggression.
What I liked: Wingo really started to come on, first with Tacoma, then Open Cup play, and translated success there into MLS minutes. Against Vancouver in June he was excellent, putting DP Ali Adnan in the blender time and time again for the first team. Connecting passes, beating guys down the line, crossing into dangerous areas, Henry showed off his immense physical ability, in a match that really showcased a lot of talent and high upside.
What I didn’t like: His last appearance for SSFC was his worst of the year. It was also Seattle’s worst loss of the year, a 0-3 debacle at NYCFC immediately following the Vancouver match that only three guys who started the MLS Cup Final played in. Running right midfield, Henry struggled, fading after halftime and ending with only 43% passing on 19 touches. It wasn’t great, Dan.
Moving forward: Wingo had the same number of appearances and same rating last year, but he did seem to improve in 2019, showing enough to earn a transfer to Molde FK in the Norwegian Eliteserien where he was reunited with Magnus Wolff Eikrem. He has all the physical tools to be a solid pro for years to come.