Seattle returned home to the friendly confines of Lumen Field and put together a comprehensive team win, 1-0 over visiting FC Dallas. From the opening whistle Seattle had the better chances, creating opportunities through a strong central core and eventually forcing a mistake and penalty late in the first half. A solid defensive effort limited Dallas’ quality chances and although Seattle gave up 15 shots, none threatened goal, and the penalty held up for a shutout win.
Stefan Frei – 7 | Community – 7.1
Seattle needed a win in this match and Frei did everything he could to ensure that, keeping a clean sheet and making three saves on the evening.
One thing I liked: The clean sheet was excellent, and Frei combined multiple easy saves with some smart distribution. In the 20th minute Stefan calmly split two defenders closing in with a smooth central pass, opening up Seattle into space to counterattack.
One thing I didn’t like: A number of occasions that warranted quicker play saw Seattle force the ball backwards to Stef, a criticism of the defense more than Frei.
Going forward: Frei and his defense needed a clean sheet, and this hopefully pushes the team into a run of quality results.
Nouhou – 7 | Community – 6.5
Nouhou had a strong game against Dallas, with 70 impactful touches that included a shot, 83 percent passing, and four interceptions as part of a strong defensive effort.
One thing I liked: Defensively, Nouhou was his usual strong self, but he added at least one incredible offensive moment. The best came in the 47th minute when he curved an inch-perfect long ball up the line in stride to Jordan Morris, releasing the Sounders winger free in behind with a beautiful attacking pass.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 86th minute, Nouhou had a chance to put the match away. It started with excellent hustle to get in behind, as he ran past the defense and held off strong physical pressure from his right side while getting a contested shot that was saved. If he’d been able to pick his head up and play a square ball to an onrushing Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle was sure to score.
Going forward: Seattle still isn’t creating a lot of great chances and it’s still not all Nouhou’s fault.
Xavier Arreaga – 7 | Community – 6.9
Arreaga was excellent against Dallas, continually blocking attempts through the middle and left, sliding up into the midfield to support with clean passing (87 percent), and leading an organized back line that limited the opponents to few viable goal opportunities.
One thing I liked: In the 4th minute, Arreaga dialed up Morris on a long ball that vertically attacked the defense and put Jordan in a 1-v-1 position that he won and created an opportunity from. This option exists for Seattle to exploit.
One thing I didn’t like: After having some success passing forward, in the 21st minute Arreaga forced a central ball that was stolen and presented a lethargic Dallas team with a good opportunity. He needs to pick and choose those moments better, especially with strong passing defensive midfielders as options.
Going forward: Xavier is dynamic passing forward but needs to remain cognizant of not forcing the ball while remaining dangerous.
Yeimar – 7 | Community – 6.8
Yeimar was his usual solid self, getting 85 percent pass completion and balanced defensive numbers with multiple tackles, clearances, and interceptions.
One thing I liked: The center back combination was clicking, with Yeimar showing strong control of the middle of the field, as well as range to slide across to either sideline as teammates pushed into the attack.
One thing I didn’t like: There were a few times Yeimar was too aggressive attacking forward, leaving gaps when he missed, offering Dallas chances to get behind. His yellow card came after he was megged charging forward to defend.
Going forward: Yeimar played well even on an early yellow card and remains a shutout creating machine when Seattle has their first choice defensive unit playing.
Alex Roldan – 6 | Community – 6.4
Alex was again a defense-first wide player, struggling to get into the attack but being a solid piece of the shutout effort. He combined well with Yeimar and supported Léo Chú in front of him, enabling Seattle’s attack to push numbers forward.
One thing I liked: Roldan had several highlights, including a 10th minute play where he completely dominated Marco Farfan, dispossessing the opponent and calmly moving the ball forward.
One thing I didn’t like: Although he touched the ball the second-most times in the match (85), he failed to have a single key pass or successful cross into the box (0 for 5).
Going forward: Alex joining the offense seemed to add a spark earlier in the season, and that outside support is severely lacking lately. Hopefully the re-introduction of Ruidíaz will give Alex more impact in the offense.
Cristian Roldan – 7 | Community – 7.1
Cristian has settled in nicely to his old defensive midfield position, showcasing strong positional combination play with Albert Rusnák as well as smart instincts on when to support forward. Roldan was all over the midfield, defending strong and pushing into the attack, picking out clean passes with a stellar 93 percent rate.
One thing I liked: No matter where he is on the field, Cristian understands where Jordan is and more importantly how to release him into space. Against Dallas, this came in the 37th minute from a deep right position, with Roldan putting a perfect ball over the top for Morris to run onto, creating the game-winning penalty.
One thing I didn’t like: While the central communication was better, there was a disconnect on several occasions between the defensive midfield and the back line. One such case came in the 29th minute as Arreaga and Cristian were not on the same page, allowing space for Brandon Servania to tee up a shot that Frei covered far post.
Going forward: Roldan is settling into defensive midfield and word is he will remain there for the foreseeable future.
Albert Rusnák – 7 | Community – 6.9
Rusnák looked more comfortable playing next to Cristian, both combining well and moving to space in unison. He also had great passing (89 percent) and added a key pass on offense. Defensively, the mids weren’t physical, but closed passing lanes and communicated well to limit space.
One thing I liked: Rusnák attempted more attacking passes in this match, with a 34th minute ball over the top to Morris showing he recognizes Jordan’s ability to break open the match. Bert also found Fredy Montero in the 60th minute in an advanced spot.
One thing I didn’t like: Rusnák still isn’t as clean on the offensive side of the ball as expected and lost the ball in the 7th minute at the top of the box. This completely ruined a strong attacking spell for Seattle that saw Albert attack the open space well.
Going forward: This defensive midfield combination did well against an opponent that didn’t overwhelm them with numbers, and they need to show they can do similar against other formations.
Jordan Morris – 7 | Community – 7.4 (MOTM) (off 89’ for Ragen)
Morris again was the offensive spear for Seattle, and against Dallas that was enough. He attacked the center of the field continuously until he broke through, creating the biggest chances for Seattle on the evening. Jordan had two shots, two key passes, and created the only goal of the match.
One thing I liked: Jordan stretched the field early and often, always a risk to get in behind the Dallas defense. He did just that in the 37th minute, bravely accepting contact after a great control off a long ball, earning Seattle the game-winning spot chance.
One thing I didn’t like: Morris never switched sides and at times got lost centrally, ceding the width to Nouhou. He also badly tired at the end, subbing out later than perhaps necessary.
Going forward: Jordan continues to be a game-breaking talent for Seattle and hopefully gets some help from the rest of the team soon.
Nico Lodeiro – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 7.3
Nico was a furious presence in the attack, roaming from side to side and finding pockets to get possession and attack a deep and organized back line. Lodeiro led Seattle with four shots and added two key passes while casually scoring his 18th penalty kick in as many tries.
One thing I liked: Lodeiro showed his engine all match, whether it was getting into the box in the 4th minute for an early shot on goal or putting Nouhou in behind with a massive chance to seal the game in the 86th. In between he hit a 44th minute free kick to prompt a save and he scored a penalty.
One thing I didn’t like: Nico wasn’t incredibly precise with his play, making several mistakes that thwarted potential chances. An ill-conceived dummy in the 28th contributed to his 83 percent passing.
Going forward: Getting Raúl back should improve Nico’s options.
Léo Chú – 6 | Community – 5.9 (off 65’ for Rowe)
Chú earned another start and responded with some up and down play. There were definite flashes of skill and control, but also moments where Léo struggled to find his position among the attackers around him. He had two shots and a key pass before subbing out in the second half.
One thing I liked: Léo was an active runner, enthusiastically joining with teammates and showing off direct play. He created for himself with a nice 1-v-1 dribble in the 7th minute and followed up by winning a corner in the 14th. Presented with little support on a breakaway, Chú enthusiastically attacked four defenders right before subbing in a bit of inspired play.
One thing I didn’t like: There was a lot of effort from Chú, but it was clear he wasn’t familiar with his teammates’ positioning ideas, and he often missed runners either from a lack of recognition of their movement or a desire to go it alone.
Going forward: Chú didn’t completely seize the opportunity to start on the right, but he showed some initiative and enabled others enough to perhaps get another look.
Fredy Montero – 6 | Community – 5.5 (off 65’ for Ruidíaz)
Montero returned to the starting lineup and did well to contribute, showcasing strong off-ball runs and some quality holdup play that brought more numbers into the attack, especially the defensive midfielders. He had 30 touches and was the start of Seattle’s defensive press.
One thing I liked: A 14th minute first-time pass through for Morris showed great awareness and movement of those players in combination.
One thing I didn’t like: Montero tired later in the match, putting both his 60th and 64th minute shots into ECS.
Going forward: With Raúl back (hopefully), Fredy and Will can drop back into their more appropriate substitute roles.
Raúl Ruidíaz – 5 | Community – 6.0 (on 65’ for Montero)
Raúl returned after yet another injury and was active, getting a few touches (six) and some exercise as Seattle saw out the win.
One thing I liked: Ruidíaz immediately showed a 66th minute holdup, strong play belying his small stature.
One thing I didn’t like: He put in immense effort to make himself available on the back post in the 86th minute as Nouhou broke through, but he didn’t get the alley-oop he deserved.
Going forward: This team is largely dependent on Raúl to score and open space for others, so his health will be of paramount importance down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Kelyn Rowe – 5 | Community – 5.6 (on 65’ for Chú)
Rowe entered the game for Chú on the right side and was very active, seeing 20 touches and mixing it up physically with Dallas to help hold the lead.
One thing I liked: A beautiful dribbling nutmeg in the 73rd didn’t pan out, but a nice through ball 20 minutes later found Raúl in advanced position.
One thing I didn’t like: Unfortunately, Kelyn had a few rough turnovers, and his 69 percent passing wasn’t so nice for possession. Multiple fumbled possessions on the right led to counterattacks.
Going forward: Rowe fits well into a second half sub role, one which the coaches seem to have confidence in.
Jackson Ragen – 5 | Community – 5.6 (on 89’ for Morris)
Ragen came in late to get a tiring Morris off and add another defender to the back. He had two touches.
One thing I liked: In the 89th minute Ragen took no chances with the ball, clearing it into the stands and smartly allowing the defense to reset.
One thing I didn’t like: Morris needed a sub much earlier, and Ragen has shown quality in a role longer than five minutes.
Going forward: Ragen has seen a multitude of roles with Seattle this season, but currently is effective as a late central defender in a five-man back line.
Allen Chapman – 5 | Community – 6.0
Chapman was just okay in this one, calling 22 total fouls, disproportionately more on Dallas (14-8). This was a typical Allen Chapman game, a card for each team and enough questionable calls that you never get comfortable.
One thing I liked: Yeimar’s card was the correct call, and Chapman immediately signaled the PK correctly. A 44th minute advantage call was solid.
One thing I didn’t like: Somewhere in the world, Edwin Cerrillo is still fouling Sounders and getting away with it. He deserved a 42nd minute yellow and after getting away with that, got a “final” warning in the 58th minute for another yellow-worthy foul. Multiple professional fouls stopping breaks were not carded.
Going forward: Chapman wasn’t great, but wasn’t the worst, and the ref wasn’t the story in this match.
FC Dallas MOTM
An unusually evenly segmented chart speaks to a rather blasé performance all around from FC Dallas. Jesús Ferreira was only on the bench to start with, but came in to provide a bit of a spark for the away side — not enough of a spark to produce a goal, mind you.
Next up: Seattle goes on the road to play a beatable team with a chance to gain some much needed momentum.