At this point, no one should be surprised that the Sounders earned a multiple goal lead, even on the road against a team that was higher in the standings. Seattle has many talented players and when they step up in brilliant moments of individual skill, you can see glimpses of what the team could be. Likewise, no one should be surprised that Seattle gave up multiple goals after earning that lead, eventually losing 3-2 in a demoralizing loss in Orlando. They lacked a tactical plan that was consistently executed. The starters looked tired and completely disjointed, and there was zero impact off a dull bench littered with talent but not output. This team doesn’t look able to fight for needed results and has a propensity to concede crummy goals immediately after gaining momentum. Against Orlando, a disorganized team defensive structure was unable to see out what briefly looked like a season-saving road win.
Stefan Frei – 6 (MOTM) | Community – 7.6 (MOTM)
Frei did his part, keeping the Sounders in the match until their offense could find a few goals. But ultimately, this was yet another game where Stefan was picking the ball out of his net late, another loss to fly home with to Seattle. He made six saves.
One thing I liked: A massive effort from Frei kept Seattle in a halftime lead. It started with a rare penalty save, keeping Orlando from scoring from the spot. Stef followed this up with a massive 36th minute parry over the bar on a point blank header.
One thing I didn’t like: Frei is a captain, but I don’t see any leadership from the back. Where is the intensity? Where is holding guys accountable for constantly backing into the box and sitting back trying to futilely hold on to matches? Frei didn’t help this and instead stood rooted on his line, hoping to make reaction saves. Let’s solve the problem and not just react to it.
Going forward: I was pleased to see my PK comment from last week was immediately impactful. (He probably should have saved the second one, though.)
Nouhou – 6 | Community – 5.7
Nouhou played well, racking up defensive actions and saves to lead the defense from a left side that was avoided for much of the first half as Orlando repeatedly attacked down Seattle’s right. He led Seattle with four tackles and added three clearances and an interception defensively, while connecting a safe 91 percent of his passes.
One thing I liked: With wing defense absent in front of him, Nouhou was tasked with covering an incredibly large amount of space and he did so for much of the match. His ability to get wide and shut down via 1-v-1 defending was excellent.
One thing I didn’t like: After a great anticipation steal in the midfield in the 50th minute was followed up with a nifty dribble to get away, Nouhou was lost in the attacking third, showing on this occasion that his decision-making and distribution going forward are still dismal.
Going forward: This entire defensive group is less than the sum of their parts.
Jackson Ragen – 6 | Community – 5.2
Ragen started in the middle for Xavier Arreaga, and for the most part did well. Likely included for his passing style, he showed well to control the ball in the back, eliminating risky passing and keeping an organized back line in possession. He had an excellent 97 percent passing completion rate, on a stellar 35/36 attempts. When Seattle was pushed back defensively into a shell, however, there were many gaps that Orlando victimized, with a goal coming right in front of Ragen and another from a deflection late to cost points.
One thing I liked: After Frei saved the 33rd minute PK, it was an alert Ragen who flew in to tackle away the rebound, preventing a simple finish and briefly keeping Orlando from the scoresheet.
One thing I didn’t like: For the second time in two games, Ragen had a chance at a massive, late, game-altering goal on a free header, and again he failed to convert. This one came in the 86th minute off a nifty Albert Rusnák free kick and Jackson got it all wrong, shouldering it over. Ragen would soon succumb to the pressure, trading a game-winner for a game-losing deflection moments later.
Going forward: This entire defensive group is less than the sum of their parts.
Yeimar – 6 | Community – 5.7
Yeimar was part of a scrambling Sounders defense that looked resolute at times but then was victimized by multiple midfield holes in front of it. He again filled up the stat sheet with six clearances, three interceptions, and a tackle.
One thing I liked: With Orlando pushing down his side, Yeimar had a lot of action in the first half. He made great defensive decisions and was part of clean ball distribution forward to the tune of 86 percent completion. Often under pressure, his decision making was solid.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 63rd minute, with Seattle barely holding on, Orlando probably should have had another goal, as Yeimar completely missed a back post run. It luckily wasn’t converted, but it was yet another time the back defense was vacant.
Going forward: This entire defensive group is less than the sum of their parts.
Jimmy Medranda – 4 | Community – 4.0 (off 55’ for Rowe)
Medranda was awful against Orlando, failing to make an impact offensively and repeatedly leaving his defensive side free. He was a black hole in the back, an absent presence forcing Nouhou wide and allowing gaps. Offensively, Jimmy was limited, unable to get forward to support attacks and failing to take offensive risks to offset his positioning.
One thing I liked: A 22nd minute early diagonal cross is exactly the sort of ball our wingers should be trying — and this pass not only found Raúl Ruidíaz in the box, it led to a shot. After a nifty releasing pass from Nouhou, Medranda immediately looked vertically across the field.
One thing I didn’t like: It started early, with Jimmy blowing the 11th minute backside coverage and it got worse from there, culminating in disastrous defending in the 30th minute which conceded an unnecessary PK to Orlando. Medranda’s defense was horrible.
Going forward: Seattle has no players who can currently add value on the wing in this formation.
Danny Leyva – 6 | Community – 5.2 (off 72’ for Atencio)
Leyva was asked to defend across the entire backline and against a team pushing heavy numbers forward but was unable to navigate the defensive responsibilities needed. He had only 45 touches but turned that into a sparkling 95 percent passing clip, finding safe and clean possession for a team that struggled to maintain any for long stretches.
One thing I liked: Danny was diligent in defending across the field and even charged into the attack, offering multiple great offensive plays, including earning a dangerous free kick in the 17th minute after pushing forward.
One thing I didn’t like: Leyva was asked to do all the defending in front of the center backs and again that weakened over the course of the match. Orlando scored their first goal on a run directly in behind where Danny was marking space, and the gaps between Leyva and both the front and back of the team widened prior to his removal.
Going forward: Leyva looked okay in this match but needs much more help. He clearly isn’t a one-man destroyer able to connect the very disjointed midfield shape.
Nico Lodeiro – 5 | Community – 4.9
This was another game where the Nico we are used to didn’t show up. His game has completely changed, turning constantly away from goal and recycling possession with a few direct attempts sprinkled in. Even less effective, Lodeiro was the only attacking midfielder to link up with others. Still leading the team with 72 touches, his impact was muted.
One thing I liked: After his nice combination put Alex Roldan up the wing into space in the 69th minute, Lodeiro had a rare shot in the 82nd, a great take that forced a save.
One thing I didn’t like: A single key pass. Lots of running and touching the ball, almost nothing to show for it. 2022 Lodeiro is not bringing enough value to a team that desperately needs 2016 Lodeiro.
Going forward: Having a team identity of “get it to that MVP-level guy and then react intelligently off him” only works if that player actually is MVP-level.
Albert Rusnák – 6 | Community – 6.7
Rusnák drifted in and out of this game, being almost invisible only to pop up on a big set piece play and then disappear for more long stretches. He did have 43 touches but only a single shot and single key pass, both from set pieces.
One thing I liked: Even cut off from the ball in attacking areas for most of the match, Albert made the most of his big chances. The first was a spectacular free kick goal in the 26th minute, giving Seattle a lead they would take into half. The second was another excellent free kick, this time dialing up Ragen on the back post for what should have been a game-winning assist in the 86th minute.
One thing I didn’t like: Rusnák clearly doesn’t fit with Nico right now, and without Cristian in there as another moving part with the ball, movement is stagnant. It’s impossible to know what the plan for the team is.
Going forward: Albert single-handedly making us relevant on set pieces again is a big improvement, but the other 90 percent of the game needs work.
Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.2
Alex played on the right side, where most of the early Orlando possession was, yet the opposite side of the field was where most of their success came from. With a bend but don’t break mentality, Roldan was not associated with any goals against, but he struggled to have other meaningful impact. His 48 touches did not include a great deal of attacking movement or key passes.
One thing I liked: A nice 69th minute run up the right was one of the few times we saw Alex in space, and he nearly turned it into a goal with a good overlap and cross.
One thing I didn’t like: Roldan appeared to hurt himself while stabbing in at a ball and earning a card in the 34th minute, and he never seemed the same after. This limited any attacking he might have tried (or it was a handy excuse).
Going forward: Alex showed just one game ago how active and valuable he can be. That was gone against Orlando and without it, Seattle had zero from the right.
Jordan Morris – 5 | Community – 5.4 (off 86’ for Bruin)
Morris in the front has further polarized his impact: it gets him in some advanced and dangerous areas but also severely limits his touches and prevents him from being goal-dangerous for long stretches of the clock. His 28 touches resulted in a single shot.
One thing I liked: Once again we saw a vintage RRBH moment, this time on the right wing in the 52nd minute as Jordan strode past a defender to dump a sharp cross into the mix in front of the goal, a cross that briefly gave Seattle a two-goal cushion.
One thing I didn’t like: I appreciated his effort defensively in this match, but unfortunately it was a stray Morris arm that somehow got floppily away from his body while attempting a header clearance on a corner kick. This same arm was struck by the ball and a game-tying penalty ensued.
Going forward: It’s true that he created a goal, but at what cost to our midfield?
Raúl Ruidíaz – 6 | Community – 6.1
Raúl worked hard up front, getting many touches and repeatedly dropping back to support a midfield that was somehow outnumbered all match. He led the Sounders with three shots, scored what should have been a game-clinching goal, and supported his team as best he could from the point of attack, earning 42 touches in a combination of holdup and support roles.
One thing I liked: In the 52nd minute a bit of space was exploited by Morris who beat his man and dumped a hard cross into a traffic jam at the near post. Raúl wanted it more, willing the ball into the goal after several fumbled touches by both teams. This gave Seattle a two-goal lead.
One thing I didn’t like: Whenever Raúl lost the ball, he was often trying to hold up in the midfield, creating immediate counter attacks that Orlando punished, especially after a poor touch in the 58th minute.
Going forward: With the Lodeiro to Ruidíaz connection dried up, Seattle needs to find other paths to success.
Kelyn Rowe – 4 | Community – 4.6 (on 55’ for Medranda)
Entering for a struggling Medranda, Rowe tried hard to impact the match but was sloppy and had an up and down appearance. He was active, getting 31 touches and showing some physicality to the wide defense.
One thing I liked: Rowe immediately brought more control and possession on the left, looking to link with Lodeiro. He added some missing intensity, and was willing to at least try stuff.
One thing I didn’t like: Kelyn’s defense was nearly as bad as Medranda’s, as he repeatedly failed to step to service from outside. The team paid dearly for his defensive miscues, as the game-winning deflection was a direct result of Rowe being torched.
Going forward: The left wing was directly responsible for two goals against. Maybe the narrative about offensive production from this spot being the key missed some defensive nuance.
Joshua Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.1 (on 72’ for Leyva)
Atencio was busy in the middle trying to do everything across a midfield in between a tired defense and an immobile offense. He did well to facilitate moving the ball, keeping possession, and finding forward passes.
One thing I liked: 100 percent passing, including a beautiful 89th minute tackle to win the ball and find an outlet.
One thing I didn’t like: With Seattle pushing for a winner, Atencio dribbled into space and had options. He chose to shoot, giving a fan well into the stands a moment with the game ball.
Going forward: Atencio showed again that he can play this role, but that he can’t do much with the entire team collapsing around him.
Will Bruin – 4 | Community – 4.2 (on 86’ for Morris)
Will Bruin was credited with an appearance in an MLS soccer match on August 31, 2022.
One thing I liked: In a long career, this marked his 306th such appearance.
One thing I didn’t like: Zero touches. Zero impact.
Going forward: Of all the non-impact subs for the Sounders lately, this was the least impactful.
Alex Chilowicz – 4 | Community – 4.4
In yet another match marred by game-changing referee and VAR calls, this ref was also poor at game management, struggling to remember he possessed cards and instead having several heated “conversations” with angry players that resulted in nothing. Seattle has borne the brunt of some horrific officiating lately, but this ref wanted everyone to know that it wasn’t just VAR that was going to make and ignore the bad calls.
One thing I liked: Ignoring an early PK dive attempt in the 4th minute was one of the few times this referee abandoned the chance to point at the spot.
One thing I didn’t like: I won’t argue the “official rules of the game.” I try to write this column as objectively as possible, but I can’t do it in this case. You cannot tell me that the Orlando player did not impact the play. Someone standing offside in the middle of the box is 100 percent a concern for the defense, including to Frei (who is central to goal and not near-post where he is more likely to be (and save the deflection) if there is no striker in front of him with the ball wide), and to Ragen, who slides back to cover the offside player and unfortunately has the ball carom off his body and in. Orlando gained an advantage from having a guy in an illegal place. Again, I don’t care what the rule says, as I want the opponent to be penalized, not rewarded for this offside position. It is not passive for me, and as a soccer player it’s impossible to understand how that player did not directly impact the play and positioning. I hate it.
Going forward: How many points this year dropped as a direct result of (at the least) controversial calls? The team is struggling enough without all the extra “help.”
Orlando City MOTM
Impact sub Facundo Torres was everything Seattle’s subs were not. Entering at halftime, he erased Seattle’s two-goal lead while we were still seeing replays. Additionally, he was credited with assisting the winner, though he shares that credit with Ercan Kara and Chilowicz.
Next up: Be positive.