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Seattle Sounders at Houston Dynamo: Player ratings

Sounders first away team to leave Houston with a goal, three points in 2023.

Your Seattle Sounders travelled to weather-y Houston to face the Dynamos on Saturday. This was a weird one from the jump. First, there was a delay eight minutes in for the aforementioned weather-related reasons. Then, there was a deserved red card for the bad guys in the 21st minute, followed by a second red (via second yellow) in the 78th. All this weirdness tilted the field and altered the approach of both sides, and you’ll see that reflected in these ratings.

[Ed. Note: Due to personal life things, this edition of Realio’s Ratings is heavily modified. And no, that doesn’t mean limericks ratings. We’re keeping that one in the back pocket for now. Instead, you get a paragraph at most per player, often co-written by Realio and Charlie Caldwell. And you’ll be thankful for it, damn it.]


Stefan Frei – 7 | Community – 6.5

Hey, it’s our first rating and it’s our first instance of game state having a massive impact! Frei got a road shutout, let’s not discount that. Frei also faced zero shots. He was clean with his distribution, as one would expect when the opponent is down a dude or two and providing nothing resembling a press.


Cody Baker – 6 | Community – 6.4

Baker did well in this one, staying home more than his fullback counterpart, he still picked good moments to get active in the attack. Naturally right-footed, he distributed cleanly with both feet and didn’t hide from the ball in buildup. A nice 25th minute dribble and a 58th minute curving through ball up the line were highlights. His lowlights were a few pointless turnovers, including two after 90 minutes, giving possession and a corner to a team down two players.

Jackson Ragen – 7 | Community – 6.6

Similar to Frei, game state meant that there were fewer opportunities for Jackson to pad his stats. This showed up on both sides of the ball, as Ragen finished with no tackles, and probably played fewer line-splitting balls than we’re used to due to the bunkered defense in front of him. Still, Ragen was clean, ending with a 96 percent completion rate, and regularly stepped up to keep the field tilted.

Yeimar – 7 | Community – 6.5

This was a solid outing from Yeimar, which is exactly what you want in a match like this. He finished with two tackles, three interceptions, cleaning up Houston’s rare forays forward. Yeimar kept his passing simpler than that of his counterpart, completing 89 percent. Late on, he had both a really nice 1-v-1 play on defense, and an unnecessary foul to give a short-handed team a set piece chance.

Alex Roldan – 7 | Community – 6.5 (Off 90’ for Atencio)

Alex consistently got forward, consistently got on the ball, and consistently played in dangerous crosses, usually of the driven variety. While he wasn’t credited with an assist on the match-winner (thanks to the deflection), he did finish with two key passes, which is tied for tops on the team (along with the next dude on this list). On the defensive side, he had four tackles and an interception.

Defensive Midfield

João Paulo – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.5 (Off 83’ for Baker-Whiting)

JP is built for matches like this (granted, JP is built for most matches). He led the team in touches (106), despite not playing the full contest. He completed 94 percent of his passes, constantly setting the tempo, and, as mentioned above, had two key passes. Defensively, he finished with four interceptions. Similar to Ragen, his positioning helped maintain that field tilt, which in turn ensured Houston didn’t forget they were down a man. The guy is just relentless.

Albert Rusnák – 6 | Community – 6.1

Albert provided a link between JP and a slightly more advanced Nico Lodeiro and a blend of what each brought to this match. He counterpressed well in transition moments, finishing with two interceptions. He also tied Lodeiro in leading the team in progressive carries (five). I was surprised to see that he also led the team in shots (five), though many were speculative in nature. His lowlight was a 29th minute bad pass that gave Houston one of their best half-chances in transition.

Attacking Midfield

Jordan Morris – 6 | Community – 5.6

Did we mention that game state impacted these ratings? As Houston removed their players from the field, they also removed their own attacking impetus, and thereby removed space for Jordan to break into. He had a big chance from a header in the 80th minute. He put in the work, defending well, even in the 93rd minute. But he lacked urgency and willingness to attack goal, be direct.

Nicolás Lodeiro – 6 | Community – 6.1

Nico fixed the central shape. His ability to press just made Seattle look better through the middle compared to last week. He had a 13th minute lost possession that turned into a Houston chance, and a lot of the Sounders’ approach play was funneled through him, making things feel forced. Still, he led the team in shot-creating actions with five, and was the player others looked to first when breaking down the press.

Dylan Teves – 6 | Community – 5.3 (Off 71’ for Dobbelaere)

Teves had a fantastic opportunity to give Seattle an early lead, but his header from three yards out via a third minute corner sailed over. To be fair, it was a difficult chance to take thanks to the pressure from the Dynamo defender. Similar to Morris, he couldn’t take advantage of Houston’s condensed shape.


Héber – 5 | Community – 5.0 (Off 71’ for Montero)

Héber played in his typical withdrawn role, but became redundant next to Jordan as space disappeared. He had a big chance in 60th and whiffed, and really must do more in those moments. He remained peripheral, finishing with the same number of touches as Frei.


Fredy Montero – 5 | Community – 5.7 (on 71’ for Héber)

While it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, Fredy’s run across face of goal helped create the Sounders’ winner. He missed Paul Rothrock to his left late on for a chance that would have sealed things.

Ethan Dobbelaere – 5 | Community – 5.2 (on 57’ for Baker-Whiting, off 83’ for Rothrock)

Double Dare had instant turn and shot, providing the exact energy the team needed. Getting hurt in the 83rd by stepping on a guy was not how he wanted his sub stint to end.

Reed Baker-Whiting – 5 | Community – 5.7 (on 83’ for João Paulo)

Reed had a nice 95th minute tackle on the sideline. He should also be commended for his solid contribution to the goal celebration, as he really closed down Rothrock well.

Paul Rothrock – 6 | Community – 6.9 (MOTM) (on 83’ for Dobbelaere)

Rothrock’s first torch was a turnover. His second was a goal. Late in a match that needed someone to take a chance, the new kid did the thing.

Josh Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.5 (on 90’ for A. Roldan)

Josh subbed on late to see things out. He seemed more aggressive and energetic than Wednesday, even if those qualities didn’t lead to any quantifiable soccer actions.


Rubiel Vazquez – 7 | Community – 5.9

Vazquez did well managing a very physical game in the heat. He was receptive to the information VAR provided, and wasn’t scared to show a red early in game. Similarly, he showed an appropriate second yellow to their big name player, not allowing himself to be swayed by the fact Houston was already down a man. Unfortunately, Vazquez should have shown a third red for Ethan Bartlow’s retaliatory elbow on Rothrock in the 98th. It looked plenty premeditated, and has the goalscorer in concussion protocol.

Houston Dynamo MOTM

As you might expect, it was tough to pick out a top Dynamo player in this one. Baird (along with his attacking partner, Carrasquilla) did his best to trouble the Sounders’ defense on Houston’s few forays forward. He finished with three successful take-ons, but only a single (off target) shot attempted.

Next up: Seattle hosts a struggling Austin side in a midweek match that could see the Sounders go top in the Supporters’ Shield race.

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