In my final ratings post for the 2019 season, I have compiled some stats to see a bit of the big picture. Over the last five years I’ve rated each player after every match, and as a final post for the year would like to share some pertinent stats:
Team Average, 2019 Regular Season: 6.127
Team Average, 2019 Playoffs: 7.008
Highest Rated Matches: 7.500 at LAFC (Western Conference Finals), 7.357 vs. Toronto (MLS Cup Final), 7.214 vs. Cincinnati
Lowest Rated Matches: 5.000 at Real Salt Lake, 5.143 at NYCFC, 5.429 at Colorado
High Ratings: 10 – Raúl Ruidíaz 1x; 9 – Jordan Morris 2x, Víctor Rodríguez 2x, Nicolás Lodeiro 2x, Ruidíaz 1x, Gustav Svensson 1x
Most times MOTM: Lodeiro - 6
Low Ratings: 4 – Handwalla Bwana 6x, Joevin Jones 5x, Alex Roldan 3x, Brad Smith 3x, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez 1x, Saad Abdul-Salaam 1x, Henry Wingo 1x, Will Bruin 1x, Román Torres 1x, Kelvin Leerdam 1x, Kim Kee-hee 1x
Some fun year-by-year cumulative regular season ratings of players who have been here since 2016:
Historical Sounders Ratings
Highest rated players (2015-2019):
Regular Season – Lodeiro (7.049), Obafemi Martins (7.000), Ruidíaz (6.877), Rodríguez (6.721), Marco Pappa (6.650), Svensson (6.637)
Playoffs – Ruidíaz (8.500), Lodeiro (7.517), Clint Dempsey (7.458), Stefan Frei (7.200) Chad Marshall (7.008), Andy Rose (7.000)
2019 saw Seattle win their second MLS Cup, and they did it with a solid regular season and a spectacular post-season. In the regular season they averaged over 6 and were powered by a great start to the season. In their first 13 matches Seattle went 7-1-5 and earned a 6.360 rating. This was a resilient team that saw important players hurt and away for international duty yet still were able to gut out the results needed to find a home MLS Cup Final. This team was one that, after some mid-season hiccups, just continually found a way to win, and did so when it mattered most.
What I liked: Playoff Sounders are the best Sounders. They raised the team score by almost a full point over a four-game sample size, and that’s impressive. Every single player on the field had to greatly outperform their norm and there was no room for a bad performance. Over their four-match playoff experience, there were only two below-average grades given, both for very late sub appearances where the Sounders player didn’t have enough time to amass an average score. Those two below-average ratings were in sharp contrast to the thirty-six above average ones given. This run coincided with Seattle being able to put their best players on the field at the same time, and when they had their “optimal” lineup on the field, the Sounders were the best team in the league.
What I didn’t like: Losing a player as good as Chad Marshall was going to hurt, but we didn’t realize just how much. In games without Dad, Seattle looked lost, hemorrhaging goals at a frightening rate. There was a five-game stretch midseason where the Sounders gave up 11 goals and another later in the year when Seattle conceded 15 in six matches. Those 11 matches accounted for half the goals the Sounders gave up all year (2.36 GAA). The rest of the year, they gave up 23 in 23 (1 GAA). Seattle was able to recover and put up three very strong defensive efforts in the playoffs, but will definitely need to address their center back deficiency. We must fill that giant, Marshall-sized hole in the defense.
Moving forward: Seattle has in-prime players all over the field, from Ruidiaz up front to Frei in the back. The engine, Nico Lodeiro, keeps evolving into an ever-dominant player who is the leader of this team. There are few holes that can’t be filled with existing personnel; however, I think we are all waiting for more depth to arrive. This is a veteran team that should look to add strong prime players while they keep developing the exciting young talent already on the team. Sounders were the Team of the Decade from 2010 through 2019; how about we repeat that for the 2020’s?
*Writers Note: Thank you for all the support in the SAH community — reading, commenting, tweeting, and interacting with my ratings posts this season. It is a lot of work and a long season, but was an immensely rewarding one. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to look at what I do.
I also wanted to especially thank my editors: Diane Perry, you are absolutely incredible at putting up with my terrible writing and I thank you profusely for helping turn my incoherent ramblings into legible articles. Charles Caldwell, thanks for always making me seem cooler than I am with amazing headlines and publishing edits. You guys are the best <3