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Realio’s Ratings: Thomas continues to perform

Meanwhile, the rest of the side does quite the opposite.

Last Updated
15 min read
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle continued its dreary run of form at home last weekend, playing the Colorado Rapids. Instead of imposing their will on a beatable team, the Sounders were lucky to hold the match to a 1-1 draw. A red card shown early in the second half turned what had been a frustrating yet dominant win into a desperate grab for a single point. The highlights included some resurgent play from an aging star and continued excellence from an up and coming one. The lowlights were winnable points dropped via poor decisions, lack of creativity on the field, and ultimately a miserable tie that felt more like a loss. The Sounders have depended on their stars to provide a spark, and with so many injuries, they can’t create consistent chances. Part of the issue is a lack of central creation, plus Seattle’s difficulty in breaking down any compact defense, exacerbated by the injuries. 


Andrew Thomas – 8 (MOTM) | Community – 7.6 (MOTM)

Thomas got his 3.06th match in a row to start the season and continued his excellent run of form. He again had a masterful performance, with Seattle’s defense combining to make Andrew’s day predictable up until the red card, and afterwards Thomas took over himself. Quality positioning and decision-making meant his six saves nearly earned the full three points for Seattle. 

One thing I liked: Two massive saves on dead ball situations show incredible athleticism and anticipation that are exciting to see. The first was a well-saved penalty in the 68th minute, about 10 minutes after Seattle went down a man. This had the potential to be a huge momentum changer, as the Sounders have rarely been able to save penalties. The second (and even more impressive) big play was an incredible dive to his right to initially save a free kick in the 87th minute. Colorado scored the rebound, but this was an amazing initial save by Thomas. 

One thing I didn’t like: Without great options long, and apparently uninterested in working through the Colorado pressure, Thomas often elected to punt it deep, and without a ton of direct success. Especially late in the match when Seattle got frantic, having more control and predictable distribution that didn’t immediately concede possession back was needed. 

Going forward: Once again, a Seattle backup goalkeeper gets extended time and shows that the goalie scouting and development program within the organization is top notch. Thomas has shown as well or better than any of the previous backups going back to this team’s inception. Kudos to Andrew for doing the work and Tom Dutra and Co. for consistently creating the highest quality depth on the team. Thomas is already ahead of Stefan Frei in some key goalkeeping skills, which bodes well for his future.


Nouhou – 6 | Community – 6.1

Nouhou was part of a solid left side of the defense against Colorado. He mostly stayed home in this match, allowing the attackers ahead of him to do their job. Nouhou had the most touches on the team (88) and completed 77 percent while adding a key pass. His defense was excellent, notching five clearances, three interceptions, two tackles, and two blocked shots. 

One thing I liked: A 46th minute essential backside save after Colorado had exploited the weak right side was a big moment and kept Seattle from entering the half tied. 

One thing I didn’t like: Nouhou tried to dribble forward in the 85th minute, ultimately losing the ball and claiming a foul. While not immediately a blunder, this led to Colorado quickly re-establishing pressure and soon Seattle gave up a costly free kick. It’s perhaps unfair to blame Nouhou for the end result, but decision-making at the end of a match this close must be perfect for the team to hold on to points. 

Going forward: Nouhou was noticeably less active on offense, and the offense still wasn’t good. Guess it wasn’t all his fault. 

Xavier Arreaga – 7 | Community – 6.1 (off 81’ for Yeimar)

Xavi got another start in the back and played well, anchoring his side of the defense, releasing players around him into space, and making good passing decisions. With the right side of the defense periodically struggling in this match, Xavi’s left side was stout and consistent. 

One thing I liked: Arreaga nearly scored off a corner kick in the 32nd minute, and constantly created havoc on Sounder offensive set pieces, something that has been sorely missed. His composure and vertical passing were the best from the backline, and he led the team in progressive passes.

One thing I didn’t like: In the 34th minute, Arreaga got caught in between defensive duties and, with Nouhou high up the field, was slow to recover as Colorado got a transition opportunity. This was part of the Sounders’ struggle all afternoon; at times, the team played as slow as the turf.

Going forward: Xavier Arreaga continues to make his case to remain in the lineup, offering a different look than the other centerbacks and showing an excellent, consistently high level of play so far this year. 

Jackson Ragen – 4 | Community – 5.5

Ragen got another right-sided start and struggled to put it all together. Sometimes his defending was solid, or his passing, or his positioning, but rarely all three, and this presented problems for Seattle, even prior to the red card. His 81 percent passing was mundane, failing to add anything to an inept offensive attack, and was a liability on a number of occasions. 

One thing I liked: Jackson led the team with eight clearances. 

One thing I didn’t like: Jackson hasn’t looked good for a few games in a row on the right. He’s struggled with positioning and worse yet, made terrible passes that opponents immediately turn into big chances. An awful give away in the 30th minute led to a Thomas save. His 66th minute challenge gave Colorado their penalty kick, and numerous other passes were completed but put teammates at a disadvantage in possession. 

Going forward: With Ragen struggling so far this season, there is a bit of a logjam for the left central defender position, as Seattle likely welcomes Yeimar back on the right. Jackson showed last season he can be best in the league from the left, but the competition from Xavi should be great motivation to get back to that form ASAP. 

Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.3 (off 81’ for Leyva)

Alex had the second-most touches on the team, but again struggled to find connectivity with teammates, as the 4-4-2 formation seemed a poor fit for Roldan as part of the offense. His 68 percent passing included an atrocious 1/10 crossing success rate as he tried over and over to find teammates in the box without success. 

One thing I liked: The one cross he did connect was a key pass, nearly dialing up Arreaga on a corner kick in the 32nd minute. 

One thing I didn’t like: Alex and Jackson have proven to be a work in progress on the right of defense, with their communication failing at some important moments. When Seattle depends on Alex to get forward and attack, but pairs him with the relatively immoble Ragen, it creates a mismatch that hampers Roldan on both ends of the field. 

Going forward: Alex needs a fast, mobile center back pair to cover for his frequent vertical positioning. Neither Jackson nor Nathan looked as smooth a pairing with Roldan, and hopefully Yeimar’s return will help spur Alex back to the production that we expect, but are not currently getting. 

Defensive Midfield

Obed Vargas – 6 | Community – 5.1

Obed had another average match in the center, showing good technical skills and possession, but not impacting the game positively by moving the ball forward into dangerous areas. His 56 touches and clean 93 percent passing (team high) were part of a cautious and safe possession evening from Vargas, who did show some defensive bite in the midfield. His tackling and physicality were excellent. 

One thing I liked: Vargas has a lot of technical skill; his touch, control and passing weight are highlights. He controls the ball at times when you think he’ll fumble it away or offer a long dribble that can be stolen. Against Colorado, his ability to shield and keep possession even when pressured was excellent. 

One thing I didn’t like: Obed’s positioning and mental side of the match continue to lag behind his physical skills. In the 46th minute his defense was awful, allowing a runner unchallenged into the box to find a backside run, prompting some Nouhou heroics to block a quality shot. At other times he completely missed better options in order to resort to safe, slower, and less creative play. Obed’s inability to move the ball forward is a big problem, and he had only one completed progressive pass.

Going forward: Vargas likely gets the start next week as Josh Atencio is out, but his play has been decidedly less dynamic than his midfield partner, a big reason the team is struggling to develop anything centrally. Without central creation, teams are exploiting Seattle on both sides of the ball in the middle. 

Josh Atencio – 4 | Community – 4.9

Atencio was having a solid match until he got his second yellow and was sent off, immediately tipping the momentum to Colorado and costing the Sounders two points, and nearly all three. Prior to this he had a key pass on 85 percent passing, including doing a solid job progressing the ball through the midfield and into dangerous attacking areas. He helped overload the Colorado area when Seattle got the ball into deep forward space. 

One thing I liked: Until his sending off, Atencio was at least trying to create some things through the middle, and he helped to overload the attacking third. His progressive passing and dribbling helped Seattle enter the final third in possession. 

One thing I didn’t like: Clearly feeling the pressure of trying to run the entire midfield, Atencio forced things in the second half. This had disastrous consequences in a 10-minute stretch between the 48th and 58th minutes, as his lunging tackle led to his second yellow card and he was sent off, changing the dynamics and ultimately costing Seattle points. 

Going forward: Not to condone the red card, but it was understandable that Josh pushed hard to produce for both central defensive midfield positions as well as the central attacking spot at times during this match. With more talent returning to the roster by the time he’s back from suspension, hopefully he won’t feel the need to do everything. 

Attacking Midfield

Léo Chú – 5 | Community – 4.8 (off 60’ for Rusnák)

Léo started on the left and was less active on the ball (36 touches), but led the team with two key passes and was credited with putting his single shot on goal. 

One thing I liked: Cutting in and getting a shot showed a visible desire to do some of the inverted stuff we like to see from Chú. He was a consistent threat to get to the end line, but didn’t force crosses to empty space, instead making a slight improvement to decision-making with his head up. 

One thing I didn’t like: His “shot” was a 40th minute near-post shot with six other options in the box and illustrates the frustration at Seattle’s offense right now. None of those other options were particularly great or increased value chances from the one he took, and that is a big problem. 

Going forward: Seattle didn’t run their entire offense through Chú in this match and it’s hard to say whether that was a net positive or not. The team isn’t creating enough big chances, and it is unclear how much of the blame should fall on Chú, who is still creating, but like the entire team, not nearly enough. 

Cristian Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.7

It’s been a while since Cristian had this little impact on a match. He touched the ball an uneventful 51 times, completed 84 percent, and mostly supported others. A single tackle, a single clearance on defense illustrated a lack of being on the ball and changing the game in any meaningful way. 

One thing I liked: Cristian moved centrally a lot to support the giant gap in the middle, which balanced out the space and limited Colorado from counter attacking, prior to being a man up. His effort late on defense was excellent, and nearly helped hold onto the win.

One thing I didn’t like: The effort was there. Roldan attempted six passes into the area. The Seattle right side actually used zone 18 more than the left used zone 16 against Colorado, and the Roldan combination tried. It was just ultimately fruitless, and a complete non-factor with Cristian failing to create a key pass or shot. 

Going forward: It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is wrong on the right. Likely a combination of personnel is limiting the Sounders players and emboldening defenders to further limit their play. Hopefully the return of impact pieces unlocks this essential part of the Seattle success, because right now there’s zero creation from the right side. 


Raúl Ruidíaz – 6 | Community – 6.6 (off 72’ for Baker)

Raúl started as a forward but played more like a knock-off ten. While he had the best offensive highlights, he displayed little of the playmaking that you would generally want from this spot. His two shots, key pass, and 87 percent passing were good marks for a guy trying to turn his 51 touches into direct goal danger. He forced the penalty and scored the lone Seattle goal. 

One thing I liked: His Panenka penalty kick was a bright spot on a day where otherwise Seattle didn’t play with much swagger. A 28th minute shot hit the crossbar but showed some intention from outside the box. 

One thing I didn’t like: Ruidíaz isn’t a creator, and while he has had a few matches playing as a pseudo-attacking-midfielder, his inability to link up as a forward in this formation is a big problem. He created the penalty kick, yes, but it was an outside of the right foot cross to a space with zero Sounders around. Besides creating for himself, Raúl was not a distributor. 

Going forward: Raúl looks active and goal-dangerous, which is sorely needed on this team, however he isn’t a great fit as a connector between defense and offense, which is perhaps even more needed. When he plays this second forward he is able to create some small opportunities for himself, but the team is suffering. 

Jordan Morris – 5 | Community – 4.6 (off 81’ for Musovski)

Morris had an odd match where he did just about everything but play striker. Bereft of much agency in the match via his own runs or teammate connection, Jordan had 30 touches and was able to create a shot and key pass. His effort level was high but he spent more time defending than attacking the goal. 

One thing I liked: Had Thomas not saved the PK, I might have given Morris the defensive player of the match because he ran himself ragged defending. Early in the match he was everywhere trying to press and create issues, often dropping very deep to support the midfield. Up until his sub in the 81st minute, Jordan was huge in defending across the field, pressing the ball, and making Colorado predictable. 

One thing I didn’t like: You don’t generally want your forward to be the best defender on the field, and unfortunately, while he was doing all that defending, Morris wasn’t doing what the team needed, which is creating and finishing big chances on goal. The Sounder midfield’s inability to pass early to Morris is a serious issue. 

Going forward: Central service has been lacking for a few matches, but notable in this one was the absence of anything from wide areas. Morris still makes great vertical runs but those are ignored or unseen as well. This iteration of Sounders lineups seems incapable of using Jordan’s skills, and if teammates can’t do so, he is a nonfactor. 


Albert Rusnák – 5 | Community – 5.4 (on 60’ for Chú) 

It was great to see Rusnák return to the field after a freak ankle injury, but also a shame that he was thrust into action in the crummy gamestate he entered. Down a man, asked to play as a wing player, Albert looked fine doing everything except what the Sounders would generally want him to do. 

One thing I liked: There were silver linings in this appearance for Rusnák: In the minutes he was on the field, he completed the most passes for Seattle, attempted and completed the most progressive passes, found Jordan Morris forward (twice!), and he had the lone shot for the Sounders after the red card. 

One thing I didn’t like: Much of what Rusnák was asked to do was defensive, and from a wide position, neither of which play to his strengths. 

Going forward: Getting more skilled players on the field should make a difference, as demonstrated by Albert joining a miserable game state and yet looking good. 

Cody Baker – 5 | Community – 5.4 (on 72’ for Ruidíaz) 

Cody Baker was added to the back of the defense while pulling off Raúl in order to support the attempt to earn all three points after Thomas saved the penalty, but he was ultimately ineffective. He had five touches and took up some space. 

One thing I liked: Baker got just enough presence in the 98th minute to scare Kevin Cabral from whiffing on a wide open tap-in off a corner kick that would have given Colorado all three points. 

One thing I didn’t like: A rambunctious charge up the field in the 99th minute saw an inspired cherry pick move that lost two defenders and briefly found Baker in the box free. He mistouched, fumbled the ball, and eventually passed to a defender, bumbling this excellent chance. 

Going forward: Moments like that last second dribble show there is potential for Baker to be a dynamic option, but his inability to realize that potential yet means he’s still fighting for relevance. 

Danny Musovski – 4 | Community – 4.4 (on 81’ for Morris)

Seven touches, a won header, and a tackle won was the line for Danny, who entered in the 81st minute.

One thing I liked: Musovski worked hard defensively, helping clog the middle. 

One thing I didn’t like: I am still waiting for Musovski to do something. Anything. He had a great view in the 98th as multiple players got in behind him to nearly score on a corner. 

Going forward: Musovski has played in every match so far and he has yet to have a single defining play. He hasn’t been bad, but rather completely ineffective. 

Yeimar – 5 | Community – 5.3 (on 81’ for Arreaga)

It was great to see Yeimar return to the field, even though he was called on due to injury. He had 100 percent passing on two touches and a won tackle.

One thing I liked: Yeimar being back on the field feels right, and he immediately helped lock down his side of the field while also being a target on attacking set pieces. 

One thing I didn’t like: He wasn’t able to be part of a shutout. 

Going forward: Yeimar returning should be a big lift for the team, as the follow-on effect of his defending should release teammates from some of the issues that are creating struggles both in the middle and on his customary right side. 

Danny Leyva – 4 | Community – 4.5 (on 81’ for Alex Roldan)

Leyva came in and unfortunately wasn’t able to show the form he had during the preseason. Much of this can be attributed to the stunted game state due to the red card, but there were opportunities for Leyva to be much, much better than he was. 

One thing I liked: His passing was forward and aggressive, and he had excellent service on the corner kick he took. 

One thing I didn’t like: A clumsy tackle outside the box gave Colorado a set piece and then they managed to put the dead ball through his spot on the wall to eventually score. Bad look all around for Leyva. 

Going forward: It’s a shame that someone who played so well in the preseason and was pretty much forgotten until this point had a negative impact. The team had plenty of opportunities to pick him up but ultimately it will be his mistake that’s likely to limit his time. We have seen how this goes for players; unfortunately this might have been one of very few chances Leyva gets to show his mettle. 


Trevor Wiseman – 6 | Community – 4.2

This referee was solid, making good calls for much of the match. After the game changed due to the red card, his calls were less cohesive and seemed to feed off the momentum switch in a negative way. He made 14 foul calls against each team, with Seattle getting four yellows (and the red) while Colorado had two yellow cards. These all made at least partial sense, and the referee couldn’t be blamed for much of the slow play on the field. 

One thing I liked: The first half calls added up to a logical referee story, including a correct and authoritative penalty given in the first ten minutes. His control of the match included some quality advantage play and each team was allowed to play. 

One thing I didn’t like: The red card was likely the correct call, however stopping the ball minutes later in the middle of play was a weird way to go about it. While the cards given, and the foul that led to their equalizer, were all justified, we had also seen that sort of thing be “play on” prior, so there were definite discrepancies. In light of this, the late red was harshly given. Another “red” card given to Raúl Ruidíaz from the bench was a minor issue, but indicative of a referee that got overwhelmed by the pressure of the moment.

Going forward: Although one of the better refs this year, he was sometimes slow to actually do the right thing as the game wore on, which made him lose consistency. Some missed calls can be attributed to ARs who failed to call stuff, but this was generally a solid crew. 

Colorado Rapids MOTM

Kévin Cabral subbed on in the 78th, scored the equalizer by being first to react in the 87th, and called it good. He had one other shot, a tame header well over the bar. But hey, that’s twice as many shots as Jordan Morris, and in (what ended up being) just over 20 minutes of field time. Oh, and he could have won it for the bad guys in the 98th, but opted to make zero contact with a sublime corner delivery instead.

Next up: Must win? Is that a thing this early in the year?