Seattle went to Portland and saw their recent winning streak cut short. Although they completely dominated the match for long periods of time, the Sounders failed to capitalize on multiple big chances and the Timbers did what they do best — sneak a counter attack goal against the run of play and then sit back and park the bus. After scoring in the 13th minute, Portland went until minute 94 before putting another shot on frame. Their second half tactics were to slow down the game and clog the middle. Unfortunately, Seattle was unable to deal with this, partly due to injuries and an over-reliance on crossing, leaving Seattle with a dreary 1-0 loss to digest on the way back up I-5.
Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.4
Frei was fine against Portland, although he had very little to do. Almost 70 percent of the match was played with Seattle possession and out of the Sounders’ defensive third. So, Stefan had to manage a match with a likely frustrating view of a compact, effective defense shutting down the Seattle offense.
One thing I liked: Stef didn’t touch the ball much but did well to push it to the guys in black and pink when he did. His 82 percent completion rate showed Seattle’s commitment to build up play.
One thing I didn’t like: I hate losing to Portland. It’s not Frei’s fault, but I am sick of seeing us outplay this team but lose.
Going forward: In an alternate world this is a comfortable 3-nil win for Seattle. Sigh.
Nouhou – 5 | Community – 4.6 (off 45’ for Svensson)
Nouhou spent most of his time pushing the ball up the wing as Portland sat way back and was content to deal with the pressure Seattle applied. His positional defense was strong and limited Portland from attacking from the width, and he passed at an 84 percent clip.
One thing I liked: Defensively, Nouhou did his job well, shutting down his side and covering for Seattle to attack up the left in the first half. His speed covered for Shane O’Neill on the few occasions it was necessary.
One thing I didn’t like: Nouhou got into the attack several times, but without finding a pass, he was forced backwards time and time again. He must develop another option as the team clearly needed to take advantage of this space and Nouhou wasn’t able to do so. He was likely subbed at half for this reason.
Going forward: Nouhou had a rash challenge late in the half, probably additional incentive to put a more offensive player in his position. With Brad Smith looming, that could be a permanent move.
Shane O’Neill – 6 | Community – 5.2 (off 76’ for Bruin)
O’Neill was okay, getting another start on the left and doing adequately against the few numbers that Portland pushed forward. He had eight defensive actions and 91 percent passing in a completely safe, wide passing effort with zero completions forward.
One thing I liked: In the 69th minute Shane had a nice 1-v-1 defensive maneuver in the box to prevent Portland from doubling their shots on goal for the half.
One thing I didn’t like: O’Neill’s passing limitations hamper the team in little ways that are frustrating. Being unable to pass forward forces the defensive midfielders to come back and retrieve the ball. His passes are also often slightly off, so while they are completed, they force a teammate into a bad position, like his ball to Frei in the 42nd minute that nearly scored an own goal.
Going forward: He earned this start and did what he does.
Yeimar Gómez Andrade – 6 | Community – 6.1
Yeimar was extremely active from the back, showing up all over to prevent what few attacks Portland attempted. He had 14 defensive actions, shading to the right to support a high line and he combined that with a key pass and nice vertical distribution on his 80 percent passing.
One thing I liked: Yeimar was cognizant of the holes in the opposing defense and unleashed a half dozen excellent switching balls, the best of which came in the 34th minute and opened Seattle into an attack on the weak side.
One thing I didn’t like: If YGA is ever pulled slightly out of the middle or disconnected from his teammates, it seems Seattle concedes, which is what happened when, well, Seattle conceded.
Going forward: He needs to clean up a few bad passes but continues to play well.
Kelvin Leerdam – 5 | Community – 5.9 (off 84’ for Ibarra)
Leerdam had a rough game on both sides of the field, at times struggling to defend in combination with Joevin Jones in front of him, as well as failing to take advantage of offensive chances.
One thing I liked: Kelvin got into some excellent attacking spots that are likely goals in a game when we’re not playing the cursed southerners. He got into the box alone in the 36th minute by beating two.
One thing I didn’t like: He inexplicably failed to be goal side of Portland’s fastest player on a set piece, and then compounded this by ball watching until it was too late. Portland never scores that easily if Leerdam is inside, using proper defensive positioning and forcing Yimmi Chará to go through him to score.
Going forward: Leerdam is better than this.
Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 5.9
Cristian had one of the quietest matches I can remember him having against Portland. He never seemed to get a chance to do more than defend, yet had an 11 defensive action map that encompassed the field, and excellent creation numbers that were hidden in sluggish second half play.
One thing I liked: Somehow Cristian led the team with four key passes, which is amazing because I can barely remember any of them. He quietly does all the little things well.
One thing I didn’t like: 87 percent passing and four key passes are great but his second half (winger) passing map is a struggle up the wing and entering the box. Sometimes his missed passes are deafening and his connection with overlaps is nonexistent.
Going forward: Roldan was good, not great, and looks much better in central roles.
João Paulo – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.7 (MOTM)
João is quickly developing a reputation for filling the stat sheet with tenacious play on both sides of the ball and this was no different. Two shots, three key passes, 90 percent completion rate, 124 touches, and 18 defensive actions were part of a very busy, yet unfruitful evening.
One thing I liked: JP dropped back in the 36th minute to receive a ball from a fullback in his own half and hit an overlapping fullback (Leerdam) up the field in on goal. That’s a defensive midfielder putting an outside fullback directly into the area for what should have been a goal.
One thing I didn’t like: For all his great play, João struggled to penetrate the 18 with passes, as Portland’s central defense stood stout. He can break that line of defense with incisive passes, but we didn’t see that in this match.
Going forward: In another game some of these shots go in and people are raving about his play. We can rave anyway.
Jordan Morris – 6 | Community – 6.0
Morris was so close to creating or scoring about five goals, but Seattle failed to capitalize on any of the big chances he created. He ended up with a team-leading four shots, a key pass, and 82 percent passing, as well as seven defensive actions.
One thing I liked: No team has yet figured out what to do when Morris runs diagonally from the left wing to the right corner and gets the ball in the channel. In the 10th minute he both received the ball there and played a perfect centering ball to Raúl Ruidíaz who should have given Seattle the lead.
One thing I didn’t like: Portland locked Jordan down in the second half, condensing the field and giving him more touches, but less space. It worked to choke off his speed advantage and deny him any ability to get in behind.
Going forward: Morris (and Seattle) needed to capitalize on their big chances to force Portland out of its shell. If they don’t or can’t do so, they’ll face more frustrating games like this one.
Nicolás Lodeiro – 6 | Community – 6.3
Lodeiro worked hard against the Timbers, to the tune of a game-high 137 touches, but couldn’t find a finisher at the end of his passes. While he had three key passes and exceptional 89 percent passing, the pass and completion in the back of the net never married successfully.
One thing I liked: You can always depend on Nico to run the middle and he was almost everywhere in the first half, trying energetically to set up teammates and get others involved while running the Portland defense around.
One thing I didn’t like: He seemed to force it a lot in this match, from a 19th minute shot into the bleachers or attempting a ridiculous 21 crosses. He was successful on four of them.
Going forward: Lodeiro isn’t slumping, but he’s not producing quite as much as we are used to, and he will need support from teammates to capitalize on his creation.
Joevin Jones – 5 | Community – 6.0 (off 53’ for A. Roldan)
Jones had an okay half at right midfield, getting into the attack and combining his usual great possession with some dangerous wide play. He had two shots and a key pass with 96 percent passing before switching to left back to start the second half.
One thing I liked: In the 19th minute Joevin had a nice little play to beat a player 1-v-1 and cross the ball.
One thing I didn’t like: Moving Jones to the left was a savvy move from Schmetzer to add his offensive verve to a wide space and support the attack through the left at the expense of some likely unneeded defense. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to show that due to an injury that forced him to sub out early in the second half.
Going forward: Jones had found success as a starting right wing and if his injury is at all lengthy, may return to no logical starting position.
Raúl Ruidíaz – 5 | Community – 5.5
It was a rough night for Ruidíaz. He started early, missing the goal on a 10th minute Morris pass and followed that up by inexplicably missing an open net in the 21st with a chip wide. He showed his frustration throughout and was unable to get through on any of his four shots.
One thing I liked: Ninety-six percent passing and three key passes showed he was working hard and finding teammates in good spots, even if they were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
One thing I didn’t like: Raúl was off all night, and he repeatedly forced shots or showed visible frustration. Particularly egregious was a side net shot in the 36th minute with both Lodeiro and Morris completely unmarked to walk in a cross.
Going forward: He was lucky not to be red carded off the field in the 54th minute. (Update: he was retroactively suspended and will miss the next match.)
Gustav Svensson – 6 | Community – 5.8 (on 45’ for Nouhou)
Goose came in at halftime to pair with JP in the middle and facilitate Jones moving to left back. He had a solid match, with strong (85 percent) passing, and was part of a defensive effort that held the score to one and gave Seattle’s offense a chance to come back.
One thing I liked: It was good to see the Swede back in the middle, and he offered very aggressive passing. Almost all his attempts were forward, as he was clearly working to push the ball toward goal from his midfield positions.
One thing I didn’t like: For all his direct passing, he never penetrated the 18-yard box.
Going forward: With Smith coming in and Jones hurt there might be a starting spot at defensive mid for Svensson upcoming.
Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.4 (on 53’ for Jones)
Alex came into the game cold, replacing an injured Jones, and did well on the defensive side of the field.
One thing I liked: Clearly not a natural left back, Roldan the younger did nicely in possession, keeping 91 percent of his 50 touches going toward a teammate.
One thing I didn’t like: Clearly not a natural left back, Alex struggled on offense. Time and again he would get into good attacking spots but fail to complete anything into the area, often settling for recycling the ball.
Going forward: I love Alex’s offense from the right. From the left? Not so much.
Will Bruin – 5 | Community – 5.1 (on 76’ for O’Neill)
Bruin came in to help overload the box and try to give Seattle some numbers against Portland’s parked bus defense, but he had little success.
One thing I liked: Will immediately got the ball upon entering the game and had an attempted turn and shoot combo in the 77th minute.
One thing I didn’t like: After minute 77 Bruin had no impact on the match.
Going forward: Bruin wasn’t utilized by Seattle and probably should have been. It’s likely he will be this weekend.
Miguel Ibarra – 5 | Community – 4.3 (on 84’ for Leerdam)
Ibarra entered eager to show that he’s the guy to replace the injured Jones on the right wing.
One thing I liked: 100 percent passing! (3/3).
One thing I didn’t like: All I remember from his appearance was an offside call.
Going forward: He’s now gone two games without an incomplete pass.
Allen Chapman – 6 | Community – 5.0
Chapman had a rivalry game and he reffed it very softly, allowing plenty of contact and only calling 19 fouls in the match.
One thing I liked: Generally, Chapman made good decisions and erred on the side of fewer cards than more. He still gave out three cards to each team but allowed advantage when he could and relied on his VAR and assistant referees to support him.
One thing I didn’t like: Portland likes to obstruct, A LOT. They do this continually to guys like Morris to prevent counter attacks, and Chapman did little to stop Pablo Bonilla and Diego Chará from constantly doing so. Both Nouhou and Ruidíaz were lucky not to have been sent off; Ruidíaz was reacting to Bonilla who somehow only had that single foul called against him.
Going forward: Chapman was okay.
Portland Timbers MOTM
Yimmi Chará earns Man of the Match for providing Portland with their one and only moment of attacking endeavor. It ended in a goal and proved to be all they needed. Congrats.
I’m so sick of playing Portland. This weekend we play someone else. We should beat them.