The Seattle Sounders continued on the road in Colorado, a place where they hadn’t won in quite some time and … didn’t win. The final was 1-0 on what was essentially an own goal and was indicative of a messy match between two good teams playing poorly. Both teams were missing a number of players, but Seattle looked especially lost without Nicolás Lodeiro there to create opportunities, repeatedly unable to penetrate a compact Rapids defense. Sounders will rue their big chances missed as well as some suspect refereeing decisions, both of which played a part in ultimately leaving Colorado without any points.
Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.5 (MOTM)
Colorado didn’t do much in this match to create goals, which meant a very slow night for Frei. Although the Rapids had 16 shots, they only put four on frame (including the own-ish goal “shot” and another similar attempt by Yeimar to score on Seattle). Stefan saw more of the ball with his feet than he would have liked, ending with 50 touches.
One thing I liked: Frei had a nice 41st minute near-post save, and did well all night to force Colorado into poor opportunities, only being scored on after he saved a cross into the wide body of Yeimar.
One thing I didn’t like: Stefan got the ball often in this match but didn’t cover himself in glory, with poor clearances sprayed haphazardly around the field. Even worse was a nonchalant play on the ball with Michael Barrios charging in and blocking the late clear attempt.
Going forward: Frei was part of a “bend but just break a little” defense in this match, and that wasn’t enough.
Nouhou – 6 | Community – 6.0
Nouhou played his third straight match, this time as a wingback in a five-man backline. While defensively sound, he struggled to impact the offense as part of a dull left side bereft of many attacking ideas. His 90 percent passing consisted of mainly short passes square and back to teammates.
One thing I liked: Nouhou defended well, leading the team with six clearances. An excellent recovery in midfield in the 41st stopped a Colorado attack. Similarly, stepping forward in the 65th stole back possession and pushed the Sounders forward.
One thing I didn’t like: Early on it was apparent Nouhou was going to stray far up field, and in the 26th minute Colorado was able to take advantage. On the goal-scoring sequence, again Nouhou was too far up, playing an offensive role.
Going forward: JP might have been the secret sauce to make the three-back system work well, and while Colorado didn’t punish Seattle frequently, Nouhou needs to work on how to fit into the various tactical formations and add impact on both sides of the ball.
Jackson Ragen – 7 | Community – 6.4
Ragen played the left centerback in a revamped backline and fit the role well for much of the match. His ability to control the ball, pass or dribble forward to close space and create for others was excellent.
One thing I liked: Jackson has absolutely magical passing and vision for a centerback, and in the 9th minute he put Jordan Morris through for a chance on goal with a beautiful look forward.
One thing I didn’t like: This game seemed way too dependent on Ragen and not the established stars. He had 22 more touches than anyone else in the game (92) and when he lost a physical challenge in the 50th minute, Colorado immediately scored.
Going forward: Ragen has become indispensable for a team that likely wasn’t expecting this much from him. A spot starter and backup across the entire backline, look for Jackson to play a lot this season.
Xavier Arreaga – 7 | Community – 6.2 (off 73’ for Medranda)
Arreaga dropped into the middle of a three centerback lineup with Ragen to his left and Yeimar to his right, and showed he is excellent in this formation. His aggressive movement vertically supported the midfield, dragging inverted wingers back towards their own goal.
One thing I liked: Xavi started off showing his great range defensively in the 1st and 7th minutes, each time roaming behind the other center backs to defend to the sidelines. Later in the first half he aggressively stepped into central midfield spaces to earn possession and condense the Rapids’ space.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 62nd minute, Barrios completely shook Arreaga, making the Seattle defender look silly as he was soundly beaten.
Going forward: Seattle has the flexibility in the back to change formations, and Xavier is equally stout in either role. As the team adapts to his aggressive style, the midfield should coalesce into a more cohesive unit.
Yeimar – 5 | Community – 5.4 (off 58’ for Chu)
This was a rough match from Yeimar, who was a bit off in the third match in a week’s time. Seattle seemed to have figured out Mark-Anthony Kaye, but unfortunately when he left, Jonathan Lewis’s speed proved troublesome. Yeimar and Ragen both had some issues dealing with the increase in wide speed, with Yeimar showing uncharacteristic troubles.
One thing I liked: Yeimar and company did well to stop Barrios from dominating as he has against the Sounders in the past (seven shots, zero on target for Barrios). With a fantastic 94 percent passing clip, Yeimar did his part to keep the ball on the foot of the good guys.
One thing I didn’t like: There were a few atypical errors from the usually dependable Yeimar, starting with his falling asleep and being beaten in behind in the 7th minute. On the Colorado goal-scoring play, Yeimar tracked back to support, but failed to mark anyone and unfortunately redirected Frei’s save into the waiting Lewis.
Going forward: Nothing to see here. On to the next.
Kelyn Rowe – 6 | Community – 5.5 (off 73’ for Montero)
Rowe again started at right wingback and was very quiet on the evening. He had 43 touches and 92 percent passing, but was absent from most of the stat book, just content to take space and not get beat for much of the match. He didn’t earn a recordable defensive action or key pass.
One thing I liked: Kelyn got forward in the 13th minute, attacking the goal, and earned a dangerous free kick.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 15th minute Rowe made a nice turn (yay) before not making the right pass and turning it over (boo). Following up a good thing with a turnover is happening too often.
Going forward: Kelyn Rowe remains extremely valuable to the team for his versatility and has shown a high floor with an ability to fit in all over the field. He likely plays every game he is healthy, with spot starts.
Jordan Morris – 5 | Community – 5.4 (off 80’ for Bruin)
Morris got another start and was mostly ineffective for Seattle against Colorado. He had 24 touches and earned a shot on goal in his 79-minute outing. Jordan looked gassed playing at altitude, and never got a chance to really run at a strong, compact Rapids defense.
One thing I liked: A vertical peel run in the 9th minute displayed excellent familiarity with Ragen, and the two combined to see Morris running into the box unmarked with options.
One thing I didn’t like: With only 12 passes completed, Morris was absent most of the match. When he had a chance in the 53rd minute to tie the match after a Colorado blunder, he wasn’t up to the moment, chipping the keeper but without enough pace to beat a recovering defender to the open net.
Going forward: Morris is still creating big chances, but needs to finish a few more for the Sounders to have hope of getting back into the Shield race. (Yeah, I said it.)
Obed Vargas – 6 | Community – 5.9 (off 80’ for Atencio)
Vargas returned to pair in the middle and had a pleasant match. While there were plenty of notes both good and bad, he continues to show growth. Against Colorado he had 49 touches and 89 percent passing.
One thing I liked: The highs are high. A 6th minute attacking dribble central to find Raúl Ruidíaz was beautiful, and a 60th minute through ball for Morris showed his ability to be directly aggressive moving the ball forward.
One thing I didn’t like: The lows weren’t punished, which is lucky for Seattle. Obed lost a lot of vertical runners into the box, and in the 28th minute he completely ignored a backside runner who could have had a massive chance.
Going forward: This was a strong performance from Vargas. With a bit more maturation he can be the long-term answer at defensive midfield with Albert Rusnák, should the team go that direction.
Albert Rusnák – 7 | Community – 6.2
Rusnák again showed the kind of composure you love from the center of the pitch, repeatedly controlling the ball and distributing cleanly to teammates in good positions. He had two shots to go along with six defensive recoveries.
One thing I liked: 100 percent. That is Rusnák’s passing completion percentage. You might think he didn’t have many opportunities — think again. He had the second-most passes in the entire match, with 56 attempts. His control and precision are incredible.
One thing I didn’t like: Tasked with much of the free kick duty, Albert never got the hang of the altitude, repeatedly overhitting set pieces and squandering chances. An attempted shot late from outside the box trickled harmlessly over the line for a goal kick.
Going forward: This was a match that needed Rusnák’s calm control to support a midfield battle, and a direct attacking force to break Colorado’s defensive blocks. We got halfway there.
Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 5.6
Roldan was again muted against Colorado, unable to impose his will on the match, as he has so often this season. Although always full of effort, Cristian’s 63 touches were largely safe and horizontal, lacking the attacking verve we have come to expect from his wide play.
One thing I liked: In the 73rd minute Cristian showed absolutely phenomenal defense, stopping a big chance from Colorado and showing that defensive bite we know he possesses.
One thing I didn’t like: Although he had three shots, Roldan seemed a little off, such as missing Léo Chú on a through ball in the 72nd and passing to no one three minutes later.
Going forward: Cristian is unlikely to be shut out of the scoresheet for much longer.
Raúl Ruidíaz – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.1
With his team struggling and unable to create many chances, Raúl still managed to create two of the biggest in the entire match, both out of sheer talent and will. His four shots led the match, and he added a key pass to set up a teammate.
One thing I liked: Raúl earned a PK in the 66th minute. He also beat three defenders to force a big stop in the 89th minute, nearly earning stolen points back on the night.
One thing I didn’t like: No one missed Nico more than Raúl, and for much of the match Ruidíaz roamed around, unable to find the ball anywhere but facing his own goal.
Going forward: Raúl continues to be a devastating striker who will score if the team can just find him the opportunities.
Léo Chú – 5 | Community – 5.0 (on 58’ for Yeimar)
Yeimar came out early in the second half for Chú, who ran at the defense a number of times but was ultimately unable to add more than hustle.
One thing I liked: Chú brought great energy and his movement created a corner kick opportunity for Seattle mere moments after he entered.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 76th minute Seattle’s entire left side was ripped open as Chú failed to play any semblance of defense.
Going forward: Chú brings energy but doesn’t appear to be a seamless fit with teammates. It’s odd he hasn’t been tried inverted much.
Fredy Montero – 4 | Community – 5.2 (on 73’ for Rowe)
Fredy came in to give a different look to the Sounders late. He managed six touches.
One thing I liked: A diagonal run through the middle in the 73rd minute was interesting, moving the Colorado defensive shape around in a new way.
One thing I didn’t like: His passing was rough, with Montero completing only 40 percent of his attempts. He didn’t appear to be on the same page as anyone else.
Going forward: Fredy has a lot of value at a number of attacking positions, but he’s looked off his last few substitute appearances after a hot start.
Jimmy Medranda – 6 | Community – 5.1 (on 73’ for Arreaga)
Medranda entered and had one of his best matches this year, showing off an energetic presence across the field. In a mere 14 touches, he had 73 percent passing but most importantly led the team with two key passes.
One thing I liked: After finding teammates for shots on two occasions, in the 85th he also earned a corner kick for his efforts.
One thing I didn’t like: Jimmy was completely turned while defending in the 82nd minute, showcasing some embarrassing footwork.
Going forward: Medranda added some more direct offensive production this match and continues to offer a different look on the left.
Josh Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.3 (on 80’ for Vargas)
Atencio arrived into the midfield and was part of a late offensive flurry for Seattle as the match stretched with the Sounders pressing for an equalizer.
One thing I liked: Fifteen touches, 85 percent passing, and some positional defense allowed Rusnák to push into the attack higher, creating multiple chances.
One thing I didn’t like: An 82nd minute kick was straight out of bounds.
Going forward: Atencio has looked strong in each of his last few appearances and makes a case to fit into the defensive midfield, which allows Seattle more flexibility.
Will Bruin – 5 | Community – 4.6 (on 80’ for Morris)
Bruin came in for a tired Morris and brought a lot of effort to the front as Seattle moved to a multiple-forward formation.
One thing I liked: An excellent dummy in the 94th minute opened up the ball for a teammate.
One thing I didn’t like: Will’s attempt at an 84th minute holdup was comical, with him losing possession and falling over in a heap.
Going forward: Will wasn’t able to impact a lot in this match but at least one flick gave Ruidíaz space to work and may be an option worth more time in the future.
Tim Ford – 4 | Community – 2.8
Ford did a lot of things right, and then he did everything wrong. The fouls were even, the cards were even, the match was even, but then this referee made some egregious calls, even assisted by a competent VAR.
One thing I liked: Calling a handball on Jonathan Lewis in the 77th minute when he flopped and landed on the ball was excellent, and hilarious.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 43rd minute Lalas Abubakar two-hand grabbed Ruidíaz by the back of the neck on a break and Ford called “advantage” and never gave a card. This was egregious, but nothing like being called to the sideline to verify a PK and ignoring the correct call with some ridiculously BS excuse like “he might have been outside the box.” What massive hubris must you have to make such a crummy call?
Going forward: Use the VAR. They are there for a reason.
Colorado Rapids MOTM
Jonathan Lewis was an early replacement for Mark-Anthony Kaye, who suffered a head injury. While Kaye was being rather easily corralled by Ragen, Lewis was a different story. His speed seemed to unsettle both Ragen and Yeimar as he worked the channels. Ultimately, his game-winner was very much of a case of right place, right time, and he did well to be there.
Next up: Big home stand coming up and expectations should be high.