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Seattle Sounders at FC Dallas: Player ratings

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Atencio starts in midfield, bosses it, earns clean sheet on the road.

For the second time this season Seattle went into the Texas summer heat, played a rotated lineup, scored a goal and got a winning result on the road. Fueled by Raúl Ruidíaz’s magic immediately after coming on, the Sounders made his tally hold up for a 1-0 win. This was an even affair, as Dallas controlled long periods of possession without creating big chances, and Seattle was content to concede much of the ball but create some excellent counter attacks in the first half. After scoring, the Sounders bunkered effectively and left with their eighth clean sheet.


Goalkeeper

Spencer Richey – 6 | Community – 6.2

Two starts in Texas, two shutouts, and two wins. Spencer is a consummate MLS professional who steps into matches and does nearly everything asked of him. Although not bombarded by Dallas, he made two saves and did enough to keep the sheet clean.

One thing I liked: In the 46th minute Ricardo Pepi got forward down the middle and Richey denied him 1-v-1, cleanly stopping his attempt.

One thing I didn’t like: A 22nd minute save was nice, but he fumbled it back into the field of play, forcing an alert Shane O’Neill to clear before this rebound was tucked home.

Going forward: Although it isn’t always pretty, you can’t argue with Richey’s results. He is firmly the third keeper, and likely the best third stringer in the league. There might be even better goalies in the pipeline, but all Richey does is pitch shutouts, and that’s a great thing.

Defense

Abdoulaye Cissoko – 7 | Community – 6.3

Cissoko was strong against Dallas, combining with Jimmy Medranda on the width to almost completely shut down the home team on that side. This combination forced everything back and recycled through the midfield.

One thing I liked: AB filled the stat sheet: four clearances, three interceptions, three tackles, two blocked shots. He was outstanding defensively on his side, pairing well with those around him and preventing any chances from Dallas.

One thing I didn’t like: Cissoko was a bit hesitant a few times to step to the ball in the channel, likely fearing infiltration down the width. This allowed some dangerous moments as Dallas players had room to dial up a cross or long range shot in the gap.

Going forward: Cissoko was excellent in this match, and he reminded everyone how he has quietly become an above-average MLS defender in the matter of a few months. While unlikely in the top 11 of a healthy Sounders squad, this level of play should earn him consistent time as the roster is rotated.

Xavier Arreaga – 7 | Community – 6.9

Xavi started centrally and did an excellent job both sweeping across the back and stepping high to press opponent forwards. His physical play matched his stellar range and he ended with a game-high seven clearances.

One thing I liked: It was important that Arreaga step up in between the young defensive mids in the first half, and he did this smartly, supporting the line of defense and preventing any serviceable hold-up play that Dallas could use to bring numbers into the attack.

One thing I didn’t like: A few times Xavi got forward and the line didn’t support him, creating a gap that a better team would have victimized. Perhaps more importantly, he spent most of the match with his shirt untucked. Weird.

Going forward: Arreaga has settled into his role as the general on the back line and looks excellent there. Reputation aside, his consistent play rivals the defenders around him getting many plaudits, and Xavier’s skill set is one that should only shine brighter within a full-strength lineup.

Shane O’Neill – 7 | Community – 6.8 (off 75’ for Yeimar)

This was an excellent match for Shane, who popped up in Yeimar’s customary right defensive spot. He had five clearances and a tackle in a defensive effort that exhibited much effort and timely desperation defending.

One thing I liked: O’Neill didn’t quit on any plays, which was essential when there were some holes in the defense. Shane and crew were beat on several occasions, but he always recovered, especially in the 22nd, popping up centrally to clear a saved shot from Richey that was an easy tap-in without his effort.

One thing I didn’t like: Having to make a lot of spectacular defensive plays isn’t optimal, especially when you are culpable for many of them.

Going forward: I loved the intensity from Shane in this match. There is a leadership quality he displays (especially when the kids are around) that is notable and consistent. This is the kind of hard-working veteran that Seattle seems to find and get the most out of.

Defensive Midfield

Jimmy Medranda – 7 | Community – 6.7 (off 69’ for Smith)

Medranda revised his role in this match from scoring massive bangers to a workhorse two-way player who was a monster at wide defending. His three tackles and five interceptions were part of a stellar defensive combination with Cissoko, as Seattle locked down the left.

One thing I liked: Jimmy was consistent in looking for early far-post passes, and his service in the 17th deserved better from his teammates on the receiving end.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 67th minute he started clutching his shoulder after a hard foul and was almost immediately subbed.

Going forward: Medranda does whatever the game state requires, and that’s an excellent trait. In a must-win match, it’s likely Jimmy is on the field.

Danny Leyva – 6 | Community – 5.9

Leyva earned a road start and did his job, locking down the defensive channels centrally and helping run out the match from a more vertical position as subs arrived after halftime. He had 50 touches, found a shot, and 84 percent passing for the match.

One thing I liked: Leyva did what was needed, sliding across to support the left defense as well as popping up forward (like in the 17th minute) to support the attack.

One thing I didn’t like: When Roldan subbed out and Leyva moved to his spot, Danny looked a bit lost. He may still develop into an attacking midfielder, but there were a few times his runs and movement were off.

Going forward: Being able to start two teenagers in the center meant JP and Nico got rest. Best of all, they played their roles well, were integral parts of the shutout, and didn’t look at all out of place.

Josh Atencio – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.8

Atencio was excellent centrally, floating around to defend and being a clear hub to work passes through up the field. He won five headers in the middle of the field, defended stoutly, and pushed the ball forward in possession. Always calm, he anchored the team centrally even as teammates subbed around him.

One thing I liked: In the 52nd minute he was supporting the left side and got a pass from Nicolas Benezet before absolutely crushing a first-time left footed switch on a dime to a wide-open Kelyn Rowe, who assisted an off-side Will Bruin. This pass was incredible, from the vision to the execution.

One thing I didn’t like: He had a number of loose passes, leading to a low 70s completion rate.

Going forward: Being able to start two teenagers in the center meant JP and Nico got rest. Best of all they played their roles well, were integral parts of the shutout, and didn’t look at all out of place.

Kelyn Rowe – 6 | Community – 6.1

Rowe was deputized on the right wing and while he wasn’t smooth in his partnership with O’Neill, they combined to do just enough to defend Dallas.

One thing I liked: His service from the right was strong, offering up a few solid passes — none better than his ball to Bruin in the 52nd which unfortunately didn’t earn an assist due to offside.

One thing I didn’t like: Kelyn had a golden chance to open the scoring in the 44th minute when he found space unmarked on the back post — a beautiful cross was headed into the stands.

Going forward: Rowe could play several positions and that flexibility will likely be consistently utilized going forward, even as the bench fills with quality around him.

Attacking Midfield

Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 6.7 (off 46’ for JP)

Cristian got a half as an attacking wide midfielder and was unable to break through, creating a number of good chances but not quite able to get the game-changing touch. His stat line was just okay — 78 percent passing, 21 touches, two shots and a key pass.

One thing I liked: Seattle’s offense often came from Cristian’s diagonal runs into space and creation down the right channel, and his work rate supported a right side that was very busy.

One thing I didn’t like: We are spoiled, because we expect more creation from Roldan, regardless of the parts around him.

Going forward: Getting Roldan extra rest is huge, and he should be ready this weekend to avenge a certain loss from last season.

Nicolas Benezet – 7 | Community – 6.3 (off 63’ for Lodeiro)

On the heels of scoring a late goal in the last match, New Nico got his first start and immediately impressed. His quick-burst speed and intricate movement were delightful, intermixing across the attacking midfield with teammates and being the main creative force for his time on the field.

One thing I liked: Benezet led Seattle with three key passes, the best of which was a smooth back post ball in the 44th minute after dribbling to create space, which deserved to be an assist.

One thing I didn’t like: The rust is there, and he was unsure where Bruin was going on most of their attempts to connect.

Going forward: Nicolas Benezet already looks poised to step into the middle, be a guy who can combine with other skilled players through the center of the pitch, and connect with the quality movement of those around him.

Forward

Will Bruin – 5 | Community – 6.2 (off 63’ for Ruidíaz)

Will struggled in his first start in a while, once again failing to impact the score line in any way. He did manage two shots on his 31 touches, but other than a nice key pass late in the first half, Bruin was isolated, and his runs went unused.

One thing I liked: Bruin scored! Although it was called back because of being offside, it was good to see Will kick a ball that hit the back of the net. Maybe next time it will count.

One thing I didn’t like: Bruin remains scoreless on the season and although he was close this match, he’s struggling.

Going forward: It’s a fortunate position to be in where Will Bruin works hard for 60 minutes and nearly scores, and your team doesn’t concede. At some point he will score, and until then you can expect the same high intensity effort and frustrated looks.

Substitutes

João Paulo – 6 | Community – 7.0 (on 46’ for Roldan)

JP got a nice view of the first half and then subbed in to support his teammates in a deserved shutout.

One thing I liked: Some holes showed up in the back in the second half, and JP always seemed to pop up in the right spot to clear in his own box.

One thing I didn’t like: This match had less João Paulo impact than we are used to seeing.

Going forward: JP got rest and will be ready to bring the full brunt of his aggression this weekend.

Nico Lodeiro – 6 | Community – 7.2 (on 63’ for Benezet)

Nico came in for some fitness work, immediately dropped in an assist, and cruised to the end of the match.

One thing I liked: Lodeiro’s connection with Raúl is impressive, finding him seemingly at will.

One thing I didn’t like: This match had less Lodeiro impact than we are used to seeing. Big highlights aside, he doesn’t look quite fully back.

Going forward: Nico is a guy who both grinds down opponents and has incredible skill. The skill is showing but it may be a few more matches before he is fit and capable of completely running an opposing team into the turf.

Raúl Ruidíaz – 7 | Community – 8.1 (MOTM) (on 63’ for Bruin)

Raúl joined the match to pad his league-leading goal tally and see out a shutout on the road.

One thing I liked: 20 seconds.

One thing I didn’t like: He was on pace for 84 goals in this match. FAIL.

Going forward: Raúl got some rest, kept his scoring streak going via a shot that defied physics, and got to hug his kids. He is in great form and the league is on notice.

Brad Smith – 5 | Community – 6.1 (on 69’ for Medranda)

Brad came in for a beat-up Medranda and was solid in a mostly defensive shift to see out the win.

One thing I liked: In the 89th minute Smith tracked all the way across the field to clear a huge chance away, showing an excellent read on the play and some solid defensive instincts.

One thing I didn’t like: Subbed in against tired defenders, Brad was never able to open the throttle and create space up the wing for Seattle.

Going forward: Smith and Medranda platooned, both played well, and Seattle won. This looks to be a winning combination.

Yeimar Gómez Andrade – 5 | Community – 6.8 (on 75’ for O’Neill)

Yeimar arrived to help close out the match after Seattle scored. He did that.

One thing I liked: Three clearances and an interception was a tidy bit of defending late. He won four headers as well.

One thing I didn’t like: There were a few holes with Dallas players getting vertically down his side, forcing JP to support.

Going forward: YGA clearly wasn’t injured enough to preclude playing, which is great news for Sounders fans expecting to see his dominant self this weekend.

Referee

Robert Sibiga – 6 | Community – 5.3

Refereeing has been tumultuous this year, and somehow this was average. (Remember last match?) Sibiga called few fouls, showed three yellow cards, and kept the match mostly under control. He allowed more contact than I would have preferred, especially in the first half, but was fair to both teams.

One thing I liked: His cards all made sense, and he didn’t even wait until the end of the match to give them!

Things I didn’t like: There were plenty of fouls that I thought needed to be called, and MLS referees’ desire to “play on” is a plague.

Going forward: This referee was largely hidden, which is saying a lot these days.

FC Dallas MOTM

Renaissance man Bryan Acosta did a little bit of everything for FC Dallas, and came away with Man of the Match. He had three shots, three tackles, and of course, three fouls committed, all while getting the most touches in the match (104).


Two games in a row on the road won, with a chance to put a near full-strength lineup out there for our third in a week. We have a score to settle.