After a brief break, the Sounders traveled to Dallas to play against a team that had struggled for months. Of course that meant Seattle came out with negative tactics, no energy, and promptly went down a goal. They managed zero shots for a thirty-minute spell and things looked grim. After limping into halftime lucky to only be down that one score, it was a resilient Sounders side that produced the best chances in the second half, with tactical changes and early subs sparking an invigorated performance. Seattle was perhaps unlucky not to get all three, but settled for a sweaty point in the 1-1 draw. The team showed some resilience and was willing to try different looks that are intriguing.
Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.0
Frei didn’t have too much to do against FC Dallas. Of Dallas’ seven shots, only two were on goal. The one he saved was a casual ball right at him, and the one he didn’t was a deflection he couldn’t do much with.
One thing I liked: Frei was active covering space behind the advanced defense, with an especially important intervention happening in the 4th minute as Jackson Ragen fumbled a chance to Dallas.
One thing I didn’t like: Stefan has never been great with his distribution, but it's a surprise he managed only 48 percent completion. Asked to be an option with his feet, he made some awful passes from the back, settling in the second half for long clearances instead of short turnovers.
Going forward: There is room for poor completion from the back as long as the decision making is valid, and for the most part Frei knows when to limit opportunities against.
Reed Baker-Whiting – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.6 (off 89’ for Arreaga)
This was Reed’s best match as a Sounder, putting it all together on both sides of the field. Having been a prospect who made good plays followed by big mistakes, consistency was the operative word for RBW this time. He was both a solid defender and an integral part of the offense who made good choices in the offensive third. He had the Sounders’ second-most touches (91) and 91 percent completion, both incredible numbers that he supplemented with two tackles, five clearances, a shot, and two key passes.
One thing I liked: Baker-Whiting did everything the game asked of him. He tirelessly ran up the left wing to support when Albert Rusnák was central, and recovered on defense multiple times behind teammates. When tactics allowed, he surged into the offensive third and made smart decisions, the best of which was owning Paul Arriola’s soul in the 57th minute, shrugging him off like a 28 year old kid before dropping a stellar assist onto the far post and a waiting Alex Roldan.
One thing I didn’t like: There weren't many mistakes, but a 24th minute pass was to the wrong team, and a missed attempt in the 70th minute robbed Seattle of continued momentum.
Going forward: The confidence talked about before is manifesting itself into truly excellent development, creating massive value and added tactical flexibility.
Jackson Ragen – 5 | Community – 6.2
Ragen struggled in the Texas heat, finding the elusive movement and speed of the Dallas strikers a tough matchup. He had 88 percent passing but was unable to look forward as the Seattle midfield was an abject disaster until tactical tweaks, and then only serviceable afterwards. Jackson wasn’t asked to do much physical play, instead clearing five times and tracking runners as best he could.
One thing I liked: In the 21st minute a desperate lunge by Ragen was his defensive highlight, and he followed it up with another immediately after as Seattle struggled.
One thing I didn’t like: After a weak 4th minute header back towards his own goal tested Frei's awareness, Ragen struggled to defend the smaller and quicker Dallas players, on multiple occasions being pulled out of position and whiffing on defensive attempts. His pace was exposed badly on the goal against. A 74th minute pass was pathetic and right to the opponents.
Going forward: Jackson struggled in the heat and might need a mental break.
Yeimar – 7 | Community – 5.9
Yeimar filled up the stat sheet against Dallas, ending with 59 touches, 83 percent passing, a shot, three tackles, and a massive eight clearances.
One thing I liked: It was Yeimar’s speed that kept things together for Seattle, as early on they were spread out and repeatedly victimized by Dallas. His pace in the 21st minute to cover Jesus Ferreira and again to shut down a break in the 56th were instrumental in keeping the home team to a single goal.
One thing I didn’t like: After Seattle finally switched the tactics to support more chemistry on the right, Yeimar was able to play high and release Alex into space to facilitate the goal, but it was a disjointed right side that was eviscerated on a counter in behind a vertical Yeimar early.
Going forward: Yeimar had a strong game, outside of apparently being blamed because he didn’t perfectly head the ball 65 yards from his own goal.
Alex Roldan – 7 | Community – 6.8 (MOTM)
Alex was a nonfactor for the first half hour as Seattle started the match with zero wing synergy on either side. After conceding and changing tactics, he was able to play himself into the match and eventually be more impactful. He had 68 touches and 84 percent completion rate, but nothing seemed too useful until the last half hour.
One thing I liked: It only takes one shot to score, and Alex was both in the perfect spot and hit the right shot in the 57th minute as RBW created an opportunity from the opposite wing. Roldan filled the back post and hit his open volley excellently, pulling Seattle even.
One thing I didn’t like: While not all his fault, the synergy between Alex and Jordan Morris is nonexistent. The team's tactical setup can’t be the only reason why Roldan was absent for the first two-thirds of the match and at times after as well.
Going forward: Alex Roldan can be a player who unlocks the Sounders’ potential, but he likely needs players more interested in combining with him than running away.
João Paulo – 6 | Community – 6.5 (off 90’ for Atencio)
Playing a full 90, JP was asked once again to do much of the work centrally and was fine but not spectacular. His pairing with Obed Vargas was okay, as João led the team with 95 touches and was the main central force who at least attempted to push forward in the middle.
One thing I liked: Always the engine, time and again JP was the man to stop a Dallas attack. He was also the guy who attempted to jump start the offense, pushing forward to the giant hole in the middle of the field and distributing wide.
One thing I didn’t like: This was a quiet match from JP. He had a lot of touches, but without options and zero connection centrally due to absent teammates, there just wasn’t much but possession.
Going forward: This pairing in the defensive midfield was fine, but was clearly exploited in big moments.
Obed Vargas – 5 | Community – 5.2
Vargas was back in the middle again and showed more possession ability. Unfortunately, the team had very little offensive verticality and Obed wasn’t the guy to find the few runs that did materialize. No idea why he was pressed to the sideline in between static positioning from Morris and Roldan on the goal against.
One thing I liked: Vargas remained tidy in possession, and he led the team with a sparkling 96 percent completion rate on 67 touches.
One thing I didn’t like: While Obed had a lot of possession, his passing map was brutal. Nearly every single pass was horizontal at best and more likely backwards. He didn’t have a single pass that you would call “attacking” and nothing even towards the box. Toothless.
Going forward: Having a central player not interested in attacking puts more pressure on teammates, and they aren’t picking up the slack.
Albert Rusnák – 5 | Community – 5.7 (off 63’ for Nouhou)
Rusnák started on the left and shaded central while looking out of place. Things improved when he was tactically switched to the right, where he once again shaded centrally. With only 39 touches, he made a lot of effort with little service and a serious lack of cohesion.
One thing I liked: Having the tactical flexibility to move to multiple positions allowed Rusnák to be more effective on the right, as his intelligent movement created space on the wing for Alex to be more active and to support a lagging central group.
One thing I didn’t like: There was not enough impact by the midfield band, and Rusnák struggled first to combine with RBW and then with Alex. Albert only had a few moments with a chance to impact the match and just like his 35th minute volley attempt, he whiffed.
Going forward: Rusnák is exposed when asked to carry, and he thrives when accentuating others. A force multiplier only works when that force exists.
Nico Lodeiro – 5 | Community – 5.6
It was very hot and humid in Texas and you might expect Nico to wilt in the heat. He didn’t, though, as that would give the impression he was impactful at all. Lodeiro wasn’t bad; he was just nonexistent. Somehow he had the fourth highest touches (72), and his 79 percent completion rate was very good. Unfortunately, though, he was slow, unable to connect, and part of a midfield band that did nothing creatively.
One thing I liked: Nico was much improved after the team returned from the halftime break and changed some things, and a 77th minute defensive play was a nice bit of late effort.
One thing I didn’t like: Seattle is a much better team when Nico creates, and in this match he didn’t make anything happen from the run of play, getting touches but nothing going forward, and having zero impact on defense, which put overwhelming pressure on teammates who weren’t much better. By the 34th minute he had only 22 touches. With opportunities to change the game from set pieces, he was abysmal.
Going forward: Good Nico is still good, but at Dallas this version was just meh.
Jordan Morris – 6 | Community – 5.6
Jordan Morris played on the right side and once again struggled to combine with Alex Roldan. After being forced into changes by a goal against, Seattle tried Jordan on the left and he looked much better with the proximity of left-leaning Nico and service from JP instead of Obed. His 46 touches included a key pass and two shots. Later in the match he pushed forward and stretched the field centrally.
One thing I liked: An early give-and-go with Nico let him find Raúl for an early shot. His four aerials won were four fewer chances for Cristian to get hurt.
One thing I didn’t like: Again, Morris on the right with Nico centrally was problematic, especially without Chú available to balance out the pace on either side. Jordan hasn’t found a way to translate his ability into impact when others don’t put him in vertical positions.
Going forward: Morris stretched the field well at forward and while he didn’t shoot at the end, the decision was likely the correct one.
Raúl Ruidíaz – 4 | Community – 5.0 (off 63’ for C. Roldan)
Raúl played 63 minutes and was a non-entity. He only had 14 touches, unable to impact the match from either side of the ball, in a completely forgettable performance.
One thing I liked: A quick turn and snap shot in the 8th minute showed an eager striker who could make an impact.
One thing I didn’t like: Not only did Raúl do nothing after that 8th minute shot, he missed a vertical Morris run in the 20th and didn’t help in other ways that the opposing strikers did. He had four duels and Dallas’ goalscorer, Jader Obrian, had 11.
Going forward: After the last match you might have thought Raúl was unlocked. Apparently not.
Nouhou – 5 | Community – 5.6 (on 63’ for Rusnák)
Nouhou arrived and found his defensive groove, opening up the field for RBW to push higher into the offense, which Seattle leveraged to control the last half hour of the match.
One thing I liked: After halftime, Seattle was stout defensively, allowing their last shot against in minute 49. Nouhou seamlessly entered as a sub and did his job.
One thing I didn’t like: Nouhou seemed caught in between holding onto the point or pushing into the offensive third to support. This meant a few nervy minutes as he was caught out of position and unable to help either part of the field.
Going forward: RBW playing well puts pressure on Nouhou to play his best.
Cristian Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.9 (on 63’ for Ruidíaz)
It was awesome to see Cristian back on the field after being out for so long with concussion symptoms. He had 13 touches, brought his usual energy, and was exactly the connective piece that illustrated the team balance he brings, even without a lot of the ball.
One thing I liked: Seeing him out there was enough, but in limited moments Cristian still managed to lead the team with two shots, one of which was a volley he nearly followed up in family style.
One thing I didn’t like: In the 72nd minute Cristian was hit in the face by noted goon Marco Farfan, and that feeling of terror was immediate and overwhelming.
Going forward: Cristian brought exactly what we have come to expect from him. Hopefully he can add some fitness and be back to normal. If he’s good to go, Seattle suddenly has options.
Xavier Arreaga – 5 | Community – 5.6 (on 89’ for Baker-Whiting)
Xavi came in and as he has done all season, he played his role and kept the ball out of the net behind him.
One thing I liked: Only one touch was needed in his short shift.
One thing I didn’t like: He only got one touch in his short shift.
Going forward: Arreaga continues to do just about everything right; he’s an excellent asset who is pushing for more time.
Joshua Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.7 (on 90’ for JP)
Atencio played the last few minutes of extra time and made an impression on both sides of the ball.
One thing I liked: Nine touches and an incredibly active shift for Atencio included finding Morris through in the 94th minute and again in the 98th, showing direct attacking impetus.
One thing I didn’t like: A terrible turnover in the 95th minute was nearly disastrous.
Going forward: He played a few minutes, so not holding my breath for him to start midweek.
Allen Chapman – 6 | Community – 5.1
This was a rather quiet match played in high humidity. A total of 19 fouls were called all evening, with Dallas earning the two yellow cards handed out. The biggest concerns from the match were safety issues and a number of physical moments that were played on in lieu of fouls.
One thing I liked: Arriola got a deserved yellow card in the 41st for a crummy foul. This and other calls were in line with most calls in this league.
One thing I didn’t like: There were a couple of questionable non-calls, but nothing as egregious as not stopping play on multiple occasions involving head injuries.
Going forward: Chapman has had some good and bad games and this one was just okay.
FC Dallas MOTM
Obrian did so well on his breakaway to score FC Dallas’ lone goal of the match. He showed off his pace to create the initial separation, then had the patience to allow Baker-Whiting across him, before finishing cleanly, albeit with a helpful deflection.
Next up: Midweek soccer against the fighting Leyvas!