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Seattle Sounders vs. 2022: End-of-season player ratings, #26-#23

As is so often the case, we start with several players with potential, some of whom remain at the club.

2022 was a wild year both on and off the field. From the highs of a first ever Concacaf Champions League win to missing the playoffs after a 13 year run, the Sounders had plenty to rate. Throughout the year, I continued to rate each player for every match after a rewatch. This series of articles will present a recap of Realio’s Ratings for 2022, with players ranked in reverse order from 26 to 1. The rankings are from all MLS matches they played in this season, as well as CCL if they appeared in those. I’ve included thoughts on each player going forward. I watch and rewatch the games individually to rate players, and this compendium is meant to summarize an entire season of tabulating this data on a per-game basis.

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 five-plus 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, so please take them with the requisite grain (or grains) of salt and understand I am attempting to rate against an “MLS average” scale which is continuously evolving.
  • 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. It’s also important to note that subs tend to start lower on the scale, and some players who played well but only as subs may be ranked lower than you might expect, and vice versa. With the introduction of five available subs per match, cumulative scores dropped slightly as a result, compared to previous seasons.

#26 Samuel Adeniran

Realio’s rating: 4.33 in 3 appearances

Community rating: 4.45

MLS App 2, Rating 4.0; CCL App 1, Rating 5.0

2022 Recap: Sam started out in the plans for Seattle, coming off the bench in the 5-0 home dismantling of FC Motagua in the second match of the season. He started the MLS opener three days later but only managed to play half a game. His final Sounders appearance came in a 2-0 loss to Dallas in May before being moved to the USL to get more playing time. None of his appearances earned even MLS average scores.

Going Forward: After returning to the Sounders in the offseason following a solid loan stint at San Antonio FC (20 apps, 10 goals), Adeniran was promptly shipped off to St. Louis for one hundred thousand Garber-Bucks. This was an unceremonious dumping of a somewhat promising player who couldn’t translate his physical attributes into results for the first-team Sounders.

#25 Reed Baker-Whiting

Realio’s rating: 4.50 in 2 appearances

Community rating: 5.11

2022 Recap: Reed definitely had the look of a player on the rise, entering 2022 with size and talent in abundance. He struggled to translate that into playing time after showing little success in either of his matches. Reed started away at RSL in a 1-0 loss and did earn two key passes but was much too casual with the ball, struggling to maintain pace with the speed of MLS. He popped up again four months later in a late sub appearance, but spent most of his season with Tacoma Defiance, making 15 appearances in MLS Next Pro.

Going Forward: 2023 will be a big measuring point for RBW. Still only 17, he has yet to find a position or take the leap many feel he is poised for. We saw his intelligence, and he got into some good positions, but unless he can translate that into tangible soccer results, he may be one of the players Seattle loans out to solidify his identity.

#24 Ethan Dobbelaere

Realio’s rating: 5.00 in 8 appearances

Community rating: 5.50

2022 Recap: Ethan got opportunities in 2022 to show the skills necessary as an integral wing option, but struggled to give MLS-level performances. His top rating (6) came in a 1-0 win versus Houston in May: he entered as a late substitute and showed the energy and mentality to help see out the shutout win. His worst performance came in late July, as a longer sub runout saw him outclassed by an LAFC team that took advantage of his passivity.

Going Forward: Similar to RBW and some of the other young players, Dobbelaere must use 2023 to become more than just “20-year-old potential guy.” He has the effort and workrate but failed to leverage this into forward chances, choosing safe and negative plays over being offensively aggressive. He could develop into A-Roldan 2.0, dropping back a line to be an overlapping outside back, if he can upgrade his defensive skills to pair with nice pace and service from wide.

#23 Jimmy Medranda

Realio’s rating: 5.00 in 22 appearances

Community rating: 5.20

MLS App 21, Rating 4.95; CCL App 1, Rating 6.0

2022 Recap: Once looking like an absolute steal of a trade acquisition, Medranda struggled to impact matches in 2022 after making Brad Smith expendable in the offseason. Continually getting chances to play on the wings in both offensive and defensive positions, Jimmy failed to show the offensive link up and creation play that he showcased earlier in his career. His best offering was earning a 7 in Seattle’s 2-0 road win versus Toronto, with Medranda excellent as a wingback in a 5-man backline. Other appearances were less notable, as he failed to connect with teammates going forward and his average defensive work rate didn’t impress.

Going Forward: Defensively, Jimmy struggled, and as an offensive wide player there weren’t enough exciting moments to demonstrate what he brings. Seven key passes showed creative potential, but his window to be a contributor to this roster has to be shrinking quickly. Medranda will need to beat out free agents and young players in order to keep his end of roster spot in 2023, but may be helped out by a shortened offseason due to the Club World Cup. (edit: He has since moved on to the Columbus Crew.)

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