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Seattle Sounders at FC Dallas: Player ratings

Rotated squad lets points slip in Frisco.

After winning the biggest game in team history, the Sounders played a massively rotated lineup and got the expected result: a loss on the road to a solid Dallas team. Seattle looked okay for the first 60 minutes or so, bending without breaking and even having a huge chance to take a lead, but eventually Dallas’ starters overwhelmed a makeshift Sounders lineup, and Seattle lost 2-0 in another MLS defeat. Seattle wasn’t credited with a single shot between Léo Chú’s breakaway in the 24th and Albert Rusnák’s shot in the 87th. That’s 63 minutes between shots in a professional soccer game, which is unlikely to get the job done. The field was dreadful, with both teams slipping throughout, although Dallas seemed more prepared to deal with playing on whatever that surface was. Seattle likely cried all the way home to their CCL-champion beds.


Stefan Cleveland – 6 | Community – 5.7

Cleveland was fine, looking like a solid MLS-level keeper. He had four saves and kept Seattle in the match for the first two-thirds of the game, before eventually being unable to stop the big chances that Dallas created.

One thing I liked: A fourth minute save set the tone early, signaling to the home team that there wouldn’t be any easy goals. He had another in the 60th minute to keep the score level that impressed.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 13th minute, Stefan fumbled a clearance as he slipped on the turf and nearly gave the ball directly to Dallas to counter.

Going forward: After watching Stefan Frei’s dominance in winning CCL, it’s important to remember that Cleveland is a solid backup who will consistently show up with MLS-level performances.


Jimmy Medranda – 5 | Community – 5.1 (off 58’ for A. Roldan)

After struggling tremendously in his first few appearances this season, Medranda showed a much-improved game against Dallas, turning in a solid defensive effort with a few meaningful offensive contributions.

One thing I liked: Defense comes first and Jimmy had two clearances, a tackle, an interception, and five recoveries as part of a resilient defensive backline that didn’t concede with him on the field, all while navigating deplorable field conditions.

One thing I didn’t like: Medranda had clear, strong service from wide areas, but wasn’t able to connect on any of his three attempts into the box. Some of this was lack of targets, but on at least one occasion a pass that he’s entirely capable of was missed. This led to a less impressive 73 percent pass completion rate.

Going forward: This was a positive step forward for Medranda, who looked awful in his first few appearances this season. Seattle must lean on its depth as the fixture congestion increases, and Medranda has a chance for lots of playing time if he continues this improved play.

Nouhou – 6 | Community – 6.3 (MOTM)

Nouhou was his usual active self, but he tired and was unable to prevent Dallas from scoring multiple times in the last third of the match. His 47 touches and 84 percent passing were both okay, as he moved centrally as part of a three-centerback formation.

One thing I liked: With Dallas breaking for a likely third goal in the 93rd minute, Nouhou hustled back 60 yards to chase down the opponent and block their attack, preventing a huge chance. That kind of heart matters.

One thing I didn’t like: Nouhou struggled with the turf, slipping and flopping around even more than usual, with 30th and 70th minute slips allowing Dallas in behind. More concerning was when he dribbled around the box in the 55th minute instead of acknowledging the danger and just clearing the ball.

Going forward: Unpredictable as always, Nouhou appears to be healthy and ready to play full 90s, and he will be needed as the season fills up with matches.

Jackson Ragen – 6 (MOTM) | Community – 6.0

Ragen had an 86 percent completion rate passing and was a steady rock centrally for a defensive unit that was under pressure for much of the match. Although Seattle eventually conceded, Jackson was excellent in limiting good chances and giving the Sounders a chance.

One thing I liked: Three tackles, two interceptions, three clearances, three blocked shots — Ragen racked up 15 defensive actions and was a standout on a team that was under fire for long periods of time.

One thing I didn’t like: While he had a number of key defensive actions, Jackson has a tendency to give too much space to opponents. Perhaps due to a lack of pace or fear of being beaten, this allows clever opponents an easier time navigating around the large center back.

Going forward: Ragen continues to show excellent passing and distribution from the back while possessing exceptional composure and defending well. Not a likely starter due to the immense talents in front of him, Jackson will be a key piece of a secondary group looking to win every trophy out there.

Abdoulaye Cissoko – 5 | Community – 5.3

AB Cissoko got a start as the right center back of the defense and had a very up and down performance. His 86 percent passing was excellent, keeping some possession and finding safe passes, but he wasn’t always on the same page as teammates and relied too much on last-ditch desperation defense rather than consistent positioning.

One thing I liked: After some big defensive plays around the 70th minute, Cissoko allowed a shot in the 74th but it was an impressive play: by marking the runner across the box he forced an imminent shot to a predictable spot. Sometimes you can’t block every attempt, and giving your goalie a chance to deal with a shot from a helpful angle is an underrated trait from good defenders.

One thing I didn’t like: Cissoko struggled to move across the field with his defense as a unit, and at times was victimized diving in on defense (and being nutmegged on at least one occasion).

Going forward: ABC is a solid defender but clearly the fifth or so option at center back; he remains a decent option when going down the depth chart.

Ethan Dobbelaere – 5 | Community – 5.1 (off 80’ for Leyva)

Dobbelaere got a rare start and has found a bit of a niche as an outside back project. Against Dallas, he was fairly quiet, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing on a team that was content to defend and look for chances rather than play on the front foot. Eighty-four percent passing, 53 touches for Ethan in this one.

One thing I liked: An early back-post play in the 10th minute was followed up by a nice 16th minute cross — two of the few moments that Dobbeleare was effective going forward.

One thing I didn’t like: Ethan had a few mental lapses and poor decision making, the worst of which was in the 68th minute with a very bad pass being easily stolen and immediately used in a Dallas counter attack.

Going forward: Ethan Dobbeleare wasn’t on my radar of potential players in this match but he showed that Seattle’s roster has a lot of depth. While not outstanding, the game didn’t seem too big for Ethan, and he remains a guy who can eat minutes with an outside chance of further development while providing solid integration into more well-established pieces.

Defensive Midfield

Joshua Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.2 (off 63’ for Rusnák)

Atencio got a start in defensive midfield and immediately brought a toughness and hard tackling intensity to the middle. He ended with 27 touches and had 72 percent completion.

One thing I liked: He had some good movement and defensive cover that allowed his partner, Obed Vargas, to get into more advanced positions on the few occasions Seattle was able to do so.

One thing I didn’t like: As much as Josh hustled around, he was just … absent for much of the match. He barely touched the ball, did not impact the match going forward in any fashion, and was part of a midfield pairing that leaked vertical runs on numerous occasions.

Going forward: With a season-ending injury in front of them, the backup defensive midfielders should be raising their game, hungry for the opportunity offered. This performance wasn’t that.

Obed Vargas – 5 | Community – 5.5

Obed got a start a few days after playing much of the cup final and played 90 minutes of tired-looking soccer. He had the bulk of the central defensive touches (47) and completed 77 percent of his passes while earning a key pass but few defensive notes.

One thing I liked: In the 15th minute Vargas trapped the ball, turned in traffic, and drove towards goal in a brilliant display of control and precision in a crowded area.

One thing I didn’t like: Defensively, Obed was mostly lost, depending on teammates to cover as he lost runs vertically on a fair number of occasions. Perhaps the most obvious defensive lapses were on the goals: the first saw him drift to the top of the box and miss a vertical runner right behind him who would score, and the other had Vargas slow to close down his man, allowing a far-post cross to hit home for the second.

Going forward: With a season-ending injury in front of them, the backup defensive midfielders should be raising their game, hungry for the opportunity offered. This performance wasn’t that.

Attacking Midfield

Léo Chú – 6 | Community – 5.4 (off 63’ for C. Roldan)

Léo Chú returned from injury and was active up the wing, drifting into the attack both wide and centrally and finding a number of good chances, leveraging his pace and direct play. Although only touching the ball 21 times, Chú earned two shots to lead the team.

One thing I liked: In the 15th minute Chú popped up inside, somewhat reminiscent of how Jordan Morris has been emulating a second striker setup, and it helped create a chance.

One thing I didn’t like: In minute 24, Léo took off after a Fredy Montero clearance from defending a corner and, aided by a defensive slip, got in behind the defense with a 1-v-1 and a chance to put Seattle in the lead. His shot went wide.

Going forward: Chú adds a unique skill set to this roster and continues to bring direct, impactful play every time out. Unfortunately, he hasn’t put it all together yet, and he remains notable for his mistakes as much as his successes.

Fredy Montero– 6 | Community – 5.6

Added to the lineup but thrust into a rough position, Montero did his best to facilitate others in a limited role. He had 44 touches and had a stellar team-leading 89 percent completion rate, pushing the Sounders’ possession and attempting to create from small opportunities.

One thing I liked: In a turbulent match, Fredy did what he could to slow the ball down and retain possession for his team, including some early tactical fouls earned and some great controlled play centrally to help Seattle transition the zones, even nearly assisting on a massive goal by putting Chú into space.

One thing I didn’t like: Seattle wasn’t able to get the ball to Montero with any cohesive supporting runs, and most of the time he was forced into being a holdup forward from the attacking midfield position.

Going forward: Montero is a force multiplier, but the force was mostly absent in this one.


Will Bruin – 4 | Community – 4.7 (off 63’ for Adeniran)

Bruin was brought in to play up front and bring teammates into the play, but he had a lackluster, entirely mundane performance. He had 20 touches and won a header.

One thing I liked: A couple of hustle plays around midfield allowed Seattle some momentary breathing room.

One thing I didn’t like: Being nonexistent on offense may have been better than his positioning and runs, which limited what little offense teammates created. Defensively, he was beaten three times in a row on set pieces within the first 20 minutes.

Going forward: Bruin isn’t producing, although much of the time he’s paired with backups at best. He may be at the point in his career where he can’t carry others, instead depending on teammates to create for him.


Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.6 (on 58’ for Medranda)

Alex was tossed into the match to give a tiring Medranda a break from skating around the field.

One thing I liked: Alex was active, getting 25 touches, and his 83 percent passing was an improvement. He added a key pass.

One thing I didn’t like: Roldan was less effective on the left, and by the time he moved to the right the team wasn’t in the creating-many-chances business.

Going forward: Roldan drew the short straw, and likely will continue to keep playing as much as his fitness will allow.

Samuel Adeniran – 4 | Community – 4.2 (on 63’ for Bruin)

Adeniran came in for Bruin and moved to the left in a pseudo winger/forward hybrid.

One thing I liked: He looked okay the few times he got the ball, using his size to keep possession and finding teammates at an 83 percent clip.

One thing I didn’t like: Ten touches were all he could muster in an ultimately disappointing performance. Lost for much of the time, Sam wasn’t able to find the ball often, and when he did, he failed to find any accompanying space.

Going forward: Sam has potential, but instead of running at opponents with the ball at his feet and displaying ferocious size and speed, Adeniran has meekly taken what the opponents have given him, which is not much.

Albert Rusnák – 6 | Community – 5.9 (on 63’ for Atencio)

Adding Rusnák brought a bit more control in the midfield on offense, but the tired defense and poor positioning all over the field after these subs left Seattle with plenty of holes that were exploited.

One thing I liked: On his 24 touches, Rusnák had a fantastic 95 percent completion rate, and he was one of the few players linking up through the midfield with a positive tactical impact.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 87th minute, with a potential chance to snatch a late point, he attempted a shot instead of crossing into a dangerous area, which left the entire team wanting.

Going forward: Rusnák appears able to play every three days at a high level, but I’m not sure it’s wise to continue doing so.

Cristian Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.7 (on 63’ for Chu)

Cristian came in and played a hybrid winger/midfielder with a lot of running in between.

One thing I liked: Twenty touches and 88 percent passing saw Cristian as another big upgrade on the field.

One thing I didn’t like: He slipped badly on defense after losing the ball, compounding an already fraught situation with a turnover. Dallas got a shot immediately after and then scored moments later.

Going forward: Roldan also appears able to play every three days at a high level, but should he?

Danny Leyva – 5 | Community – 4.7 (on 80’ for Dobbeleare)

Leyva got a late 10 minutes to try to turn the tide of one-way traffic towards Seattle’s goal.

One thing I liked: Danny had nice control on nearly all of his 10 touches, and found teammates nearly every time he had the chance.

One thing I didn’t like: With only 10 touches, Levya failed to take advantage of his chance to show midfield strength.

Going forward: He wasn’t bad, but he didn’t do enough that was noteworthy in this opportunity to promote himself for more playing time.


Alan Chapman – 6 | Community – 5.8

This was a fairly boring match to ref, and Chapman was the boring ref to do so. He called 20 total fouls, gave a card to each team, and generally got out of the way and let the crummy pitch do most of the dirty work.

One thing I liked: The yellow for Vargas was deserved, as was the late Paul Arriola version.

One thing I didn’t like: Chapman’s calls seemed to generally come very late. Multiple times a foul occurred and without obvious advantage there was a delay as the teams (and fans) tried to figure out whether to play on or not.

Going forward: A crummy field and tired legs could have led to a much more contentious match; however, the Sounders left their fight in Seattle, allowing Chapman an easy job.

FC Dallas MOTM

Jesús Ferreira was held largely in check in the first half, but things changed as the match wore on. A 43rd minute decoy run created FC Dallas’ best chance of the first half. Ferreira followed that up with the 65th minute opener, finished coolly after Paul Arriola’s clever dummy. He probably should have had a second in the 69th after one of many slips by a Sounder — this time, Nouhou.

Next up: The first home match since winning the Champions League. It’s gonna be wild. (Also, bonus Open Cup midweek.)

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