Seattle went to Colorado last weekend with a chance to win and get into the Supporters Shield race, but they fell flat on their faces in a 3-1 loss. Despite a competitive first half, Seattle squandered many chances and Frei had to pick the ball out of his net twice. A third Colorado goal in the 75th minute dashed any comeback hopes, although only the most optimistic of fans would have seen that as a possibility in a second half that was slow and uninspired.
Stefan Frei – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.5 (MOTM)
Frei was the best player of a mediocre Sounders team that was lucky not to concede even more goals. Although Seattle dominated the possession for large parts of the match, they allowed big chances nearly every time that Colorado threatened. Stefan had to make save after save to keep the Sounders from an even larger goal deficit.
One thing I liked: Frei had seven saves and his 88th minute one was perhaps the best, diving to the side to parry a shot that looked destined to find the back of the net, keeping a better Sounders offensive effort within striking distance.
One thing I didn’t like: Defensive breakdowns repeatedly showed a Sounders defense unable to limit chances. While it wasn’t all the keeper’s fault, he deserves some blame for the issues.
Going forward: This wasn’t a game that Frei will want to put on his GKOTY resumé.
Nouhou – 7 | Community – 6.0 (off 78’ for Bruin)
Seattle struggled defensively, but Nouhou was the lone bright spot in the back. Colorado managed 16 shots against the Seattle defense, but only a single 18th minute shot came from Nouhou’s side, and he did a good job shutting down attacks from the Rapids’ right. His 10 defensive actions removed crosses from that side and his five tackles led the match.
One thing I liked: He was credited with 100 percent passing completion, with only two crosses failing to find a teammate. Dangerous passes in the 34th and 66th nearly found teammates in chances to score.
One thing I didn’t like: Nouhou got into a great spot in the 33rd minute and missed the correct pass to Raúl Ruidíaz that would have likely been an assist. It was great to get there and attempt the right pass, but he must complete that play.
Going forward: Good defense, improving offense.
Shane O’Neill – 4 | Community – 4.3
Inexplicably, O’Neill was given another start with all Sounders healthy, and he responded with a rough match. He had 12 defensive actions across the back, but he also made some errors that directly led to multiple Colorado goals. An early missed assignment was compounded with a badly timed “jump,” and the Rapids took the early lead on a header behind O’Neill. This put Seattle in a hole that got deeper when Shane casually allowed Colorado a free corner kick that they scored on right before the break.
One thing I liked: Shane had a few nice over the top passes, especially a 5th minute one that found Jordan Morris in space. This deep pass from back line to the front was well taken.
One thing I didn’t like: There is an accumulation of errors that add up over the match when O’Neill plays. A back pass directly at goal in the 16th forced Frei to scramble when a square ball across the goal mouth makes an easier play. Nearly every pass to Yeimar or Nouhou was just enough behind his teammates to force them to slow their momentum, removing the pace of play and ruining the flow (and the point of reversing the ball). There are positioning errors when Shane is constantly behind everyone else, opening huge gaps and forcing teammates to adjust. But the worst was being smack in the middle of four big chances for Colorado.
Going forward: I had O’Neill at 4th in the center back depth chart and this game didn’t move him up.
Yeimar Gómez Andrade – 6 | Community – 5.5
Yeimar was okay against Colorado, especially when considering the issues happening around him. He ended with a respectable 89 percent passing and cleanly picked out teammates around the back for much of the game.
One thing I like: Yeimar had six interceptions, on the way to 14 total defensive actions, and was integral in stopping things from getting worse as people around him failed to defend as cohesively as usual.
One thing I didn’t like: YGA’s passing was just okay. He had a chance to put a few balls over the top and open the field and continually failed to complete anything going forward.
Going forward: While not as dominant as earlier in the season, with the right lineup around him, Yeimar can and should dominate.
Kelvin Leerdam – 5 | Community – 5.0 (off 76’ for Alex Roldan)
This was an underwhelming performance from Leerdam, who struggled and looked tired before being subbed out. He ended with six defensive actions, mostly because he was beaten on multiple occasions and seemed to struggle with his footing.
One thing I liked: Kelvin earned a key pass in the 12th minute on a nifty pass and was credited with a secondary assist in the 22nd when he found Cristian Roldan up the right wing.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 75th minute Seattle still had some dreams of a comeback, only to see Leerdam fall down, which caused a foul, and then he completely lost his man on the ensuing free kick. He was promptly subbed out after the Colorado score.
Going forward: Leerdam wasn’t great on offense or defense. He must be better.
Gustav Svensson – 5 | Community – 5.6 (off 64’ for Smith)
This was one of the least influential matches we have seen from Svensson, who failed to do much of anything before angrily being replaced in the 64th minute. He had 41 touches but didn’t use them to create possibilities for Seattle, instead pushing the ball square and backwards. He especially struggled to move the ball forward, going two of seven on passes in the offensive third.
One thing I liked: Gustav runs a lot and he hustled around the midfield to try to support a sagging middle for Seattle. A 62nd minute vertical pass was one of his few successes going forward.
One thing I didn’t like: Svensson was mostly invisible in this match. He was part of a defensive midfield pairing that constantly failed to close down runs through the middle, and Goose wasn’t good at defending the gaps in front of the back four.
Going forward: I don’t think this was the end of the GuJo pairing, but they looked tired and on different pages in this game.
João Paulo – 5 | Community – 5.4 (off 78’ for Delem)
João Paulo looked tired before subbing off in the 78th. He only had 66 touches, failing to imprint his usual impact on the match, and he was especially ineffective sheltering the back line. His defensive work rate remained high, and he was consistently in the middle of plays, just without as much influence as we are used to seeing.
One thing I liked: João worked hard defensively, with 12 actions, many on the right to support the Sounders who were repeatedly overwhelmed down that wing.
One thing I didn’t like: His 66th minute pass from the back was awful, right to an opponent, and his usually tight passing was devoid of anything that attacked the area, completing zero passes from possession in the final third.
Going forward: The extra rest from last match wasn’t enough, and with another game quickly upcoming, let’s hope he can play more like he has previously.
Jordan Morris – 5 | Community – 5.7
Morris always looks somewhat tired, but in this match his lagging work rate directly impacted Seattle on both sides of the ball. He struggled to get into good spots with the ball. More than any other player, Jordan was again hurt by a game state where Seattle was forced to break down a compact defensive structure for the majority of the match. He still scored the lone Seattle goal and had a key pass as well.
One thing I liked: In the 22nd minute Jordan tiptoed on the offside line and scored an equalizing goal. This was a much harder shot than it seemed, as his view of the ball was blocked until it was right at his groin area. He did well to finish.
One thing I didn’t like: That goal was his only shot. He added 65 percent passing. Jordan Morris was missing from this game.
Going forward: When Seattle gets Jordan into space to work, they dominate. When teams score first and sit back, Morris is limited.
Nicolás Lodeiro – 6 | Community – 5.4
Nico tried, but he looked absolutely exhausted by the end of the match at altitude. He had a game high 101 touches but was unable to infiltrate the box with anything that came to fruition and ended with a single key pass.
One thing I liked: Nico had a 56th minute pass that was absolute magic, an outside of the foot pass around the defense that unlocked Morris towards goal. (Jordan immediately and inexplicably turned around.)
One thing I didn’t like: Nico had a great cutback pass in the 5th minute that almost changed the entire game had a Sounder been able to get on the end and give a lead to a team that desperately needs to get ahead. They gave up a goal and chased the rest of the match.
Going forward: Lodeiro is a creator and when he’s not creating, Seattle struggles.
Cristian Roldan – 7 | Community – 5.4
Roldan was one of the best players on the field, playing all over the place and tirelessly running up and down the wing early before ending his shift in central midfield. He made the most of his 64 touches, finding a team-leading three key passes and an assist on the lone Sounders goal. His 89 percent passing was the most direct for any Seattle attacker.
One thing I liked: Roldan had some of the best wide service on the team, and his 22nd minute ball was perfect, around the defense and keeper and right into a great spot for Morris to nestle home. He repeated this in the 55th, with a brilliant pass from the width that nearly found Raúl.
One thing I didn’t like: When Roldan moved into the midfield, Seattle still struggled. A 72nd minute pass to O’Neill was a little off, and Cristian compounded that by diving in and being cherry picked after Shane ridiculously tried to dribble through an opponent.
Going forward: Roldan was effective, but it remains to be seen if that is something consistent for the width or just a byproduct of his work rate.
Raúl Ruidíaz – 6 | Community – 5.7
Raúl had less impact on this match than the previous one, but was still incredibly active in the attack. He ended with 34 touches, two shots on target, a key pass, and 91 percent passing as he continually moved and searched for space against a compact defense.
One thing I liked: Right after Colorado scored before half, Ruidíaz responded immediately with a near-post shot that nearly scored. His hustle in the 57th minute created another big Seattle chance that went wanting.
One thing I didn’t like: Raúl had a dozen touches at midfield, showing just how far back he had to come to get the ball and support others.
Going forward: Seattle needs to get the ball to him in space, and a great way to get space is to not give up goals in the first 15 minutes every match.
Brad Smith – 4 | Community – 5.0 (on 64’ for Svensson)
Brad Smith played for 30 minutes and didn’t have a single outstanding moment.
One thing I liked: A 67th minute cross from the left was sort of close to Morris.
One thing I didn’t like: He had five incomplete passes and seven complete passes. That’s not good enough.
Going forward: Smith was supposed to be a big mid-season signing. Still waiting on that.
Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.0 (on 76’ for Leerdam)
Roldan replaced a struggling Leerdam and held down his right side defensively, but he struggled to get anything going on offense.
One thing I liked: Colorado didn’t have a single shot from their left side after Roldan subbed on, not that they needed any.
One thing I didn’t like: His 89 percent passing was good, but Alex failed to do anything constructive in the attacking third as Seattle slowly accepted the score.
Going forward: Roldan is a capable backup right back.
Will Bruin – 5 | Community – 4.7 (on 78’ for Nouhou)
Will Bruin played and was nonexistent.
One thing I liked: I guess Bruin had a shot in the 81st minute, which is news to me.
One thing I didn’t like: Pushing for goals, Bruin had three passes, none of which were towards the Colorado goal.
Going forward: Bruin hasn’t shown he’s a consistent, effective attacking option this season, and he’s running out of time.
Jordy Delem – 5 | Community – 4.8 (on 78’ for Joao Paulo)
Delem came in and was very active, working around the field and defending well. He ended with 11 touches.
One thing I liked: Jordy moved the ball around well, missing on only a single pass while adding five defensive actions.
One thing I didn’t like: The one pass Delem missed came in the 79th and was poor and to the middle, which is exactly what you don’t want from a central defensive midfielder.
Going forward: If the ref isn’t in his way, Delem appears able to roam the midfield defensively and make clean square passes.
Ismir Pekmic – 6 | Community – 5.2
This was the first Sounders match for Pekmic, who was okay overall. He didn’t call many fouls (14 overall) and kept control of the match.
One thing I liked: Most of what he did made sense, and the lack of fouls from both sides was mostly fueled by the Sounders’ lack of intensity. This referee let the game flow, such as it was.
One thing I didn’t like: He waited for VAR on a potential O’Neill handball call and Yeimar altercation but failed to do the same on a Morris penalty shout or after Raúl’s face was bloodied.
Going forward: Seattle had three fouls and two yellow cards. That isn’t a stat you will see much. Welcome to the league, guy.
Colorado Rapids MOTM
In a hotly contested vote, Nicolas Benezet comes away with MOTM honors. He was prominently involved in Colorado’s opener, had a clean strike from distance that asked a lot of Frei, and generally made himself a nuisance with creative attacking play.
Seattle plays two more games before the playoffs and it would be nice if they won.