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Realio’s Ratings: A new low against an old rival

Sounders see out a demoralizing performance, finishing down two men and two goals.

Last Updated
12 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

The Vancouver Whitecaps came to Lumen Field, and the game was a complete disaster, one entirely of the Sounders’ own making. Starting off solid but unspectacular, Seattle and Vancouver were prepared to go into halftime tied, with an opportunity for each team to adjust at the break and come out with a will to win. Didn’t happen; instead a silly tackle was deemed red-cardable and the Sounders went into halftime down a man. There was still an opportunity to show character and grind out a result, even with a tough game state. Unfortunately, as they have all year, Seattle succumbed to the pressure, this time in spectacular fashion, losing their heads, conceding twice, earning a second ejection, and meekly getting run off their own field. Even if you want to be gracious and mention the solid first half of play, the second half was a pathetic performance by a team that it’s hard to have faith in, and frankly, right now they don’t deserve it. 


Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.0 (MOTM)

Sounders leader Frei wasn’t great, but he was better than most others, merely because he didn’t appear to give up when presented with a rough game state. He ended with two saves on only four shots on goal for Vancouver. That’s normally enough for a close game, but not after the red card. 

One thing I liked: Are two saves, a 3rd minute punch out of traffic and an 85th minute catch enough? Probably should have been. 

One thing I didn’t like: A fumbled ball to the middle in the 11th minute was a lucky moment that should have seen Vancouver score. Coming outside the box for a 64th minute header was just silly. 

Going forward: Disgrace comes to mind after this match, and I am glad that Frei appears mad at the team from his leadership perspective. Maybe a few months too late though. 


Nouhou – 5 | Community – 5.0

Nouhou was fine in this match, with 88 percent passing on 56 touches. He did his job well supporting the early Seattle offense, and locked down his side whenever Vancouver tried to counter attack. After the half, Nouhou stayed home to support as much as he could but also attempted to bridge the gaps on the left. 

One thing I liked: Second on the team with two key passes, Nouhou did what was asked of him and made the smart pass when it was available. A nice 10th minute rundown defense was exceptional to win the ball out of bounds. 

One thing I didn’t like: Nouhou was beaten badly in the 29th minute in a rare mistake that Vancouver was unable to take advantage of. Failing to move to attempt to support Xavier Arreaga during the second goal sequence was abject, lazy, and inexcusable. 

Going forward: The defense was fine until it wasn’t, none of which should be blamed on Nouhou. 

Jackson Ragen – 4 | Community – 3.8 (off 43’ Red Card)

This was an utterly deflating result and like it or not, the offense desperately needed the defense to keep zero on the board as long as possible to give their anemic attack a chance to create a lead. The defense did that for much of the first half, but a poor decision snowballed and Ragen was sent off. He had 90 percent passing before making the walk of shame off the field right before halftime. 

One thing I liked: He didn’t pass directly to the other team or try to dribble past them and get it stolen for a goal. 

One thing I didn’t like: Ragen decided to be overly aggressive near midfield with a few minutes remaining in a half where the defense had been stout, preventing chances for Vancouver. This turned into a disastrous decision as Jackson whiffed, got the player, opened up a huge gap in the defense, then wasn’t fast enough to cover as Yeimar and JP had to slide over into the space conceded. Whether or not it's a red, it was a bad defensive play! Also, it was deemed red! And that was the end of Seattle in this match.

Going forward: Ragen wasn’t good before the red, hasn’t been very good this whole season, and yet hasn’t been overly criticized due to other narratives. Debate about the card being red aside, what is Ragen doing pressing so aggressively up field in that game state? Where is the awareness and leadership needed to keep the game defensively controlled? Similar to his game-defining red card against Portland, Jackson makes overly aggressive plays and it costs the team with little upside. This team clearly isn't good enough (or smart enough) to deal with adversity. 

Yeimar – 5 | Community – 3.9

Outside of one moment, Yeimar was the standout defender for his team. Three won headers, a shot, a key pass, two interceptions, five clearances, and a blocked shot were part of a complete game that unfortunately had one awful stat going the other way. 

One thing I liked: Yeimar neutralized Brian White all match, was everywhere defensively to support across the entire back line, and defended excellently. 

One thing I didn’t like: When handed a soft pass in a tricky position, Yeimar tried to thread a ball forward from his own box which resulted in a 58th minute turnover. Two passes later Vancouver scored, the dam broke, and everything went further downhill. 

Going forward: Yeimar isn’t a great passer. As long as the team doesn’t put him in position to be expected to carry the team with his passing, he is doing nearly everything else right. He was the clear best defender on the team outside of that one moment. 

Alex Roldan – 3 | Community – 2.5 (off 75’ Red Card)

This was a rough outing for Alex, who had zero offensive impact to go with his two tackles and one clearance defensively. He apparently was as dissatisfied with his performance as the crowd, as Roldan showed himself the door in the 75th minute, getting an early start on washing the muck of the game off. 

One thing I liked: Some 1-v-1 defense in the 58th minute made my notebook. 

One thing I didn’t like: Losing his mind and lashing out to cleat a player, resulting in a red card and likely extra suspension, was an embarrassing foul, capping off a shameful performance. 

Going forward: Somehow, Alex Roldan took a leap to being an essential player after being cut from the team a few years ago. Somehow, this year he’s leapt backwards. I don’t know what’s happening. 

Defensive Midfield

Obed Vargas – 4 | Community – 4.5

Of course Obed got the start in this match as the coaching staff inexplicably pairs him with João every chance they get for multiple years with less than stellar results. He played as expected, as a controlled, boring midfielder who took up space and passed to teammates, expecting them to do stuff. 

One thing I liked: A nice turn central in the 25th minute showed his ability to turn away from pressure and find a safe exit point for the ball, even when blanketed by multiple players. A Cruyff turn earned a yellow card for Vancouver in the 86th. 

One thing I didn’t like: When Yeimar found Obed in the 58th, with multiple defenders closing down the box, there was a clear controlled turn and wide service lane to put Arreaga into space and exit any danger (we established he could do that 33 minutes prior). Instead, he was credited with yet another “completed pass,” which was unfortunately a ball back to the center back under multiple points of pressure. Yeimar was unable to clear the ball and the game devolved immediately after the predictable score by Vancouver. 

Going forward: The bar for Obed was low, so there was some enthusiasm when he had a few positive offensive attempts. Performances like this one beg the question: what is he doing to continue to receive this much support? 

João Paulo – 6 | Community – 6.0 (off 63’ for Atencio)

It was surprising to remember that João Paulo got his first start in this match, usually something worth applauding. He looked strong in the first half before the game devolved into … that. His ability to look forward was an improvement. 

One thing I liked: JP was active and effective in the first half, switching the field in the 12th minute well, looking for Raúl Ruidíaz over the top in the 18th minute and Cristian Roldan five minutes later. A physical 32nd minute tackle was beautiful, earning him possession just outside his own box, the opponent a mouthful of rubber pellets, and Raúl a quick vertical pass near midfield. 

One thing I didn’t like: JP was completely absent in the second half as the game devolved and the team around him turned into a mess. He was mercifully subbed off early. 

Going forward: JP didn’t save the team but did show that he could be effective. Finding a partner who can help him should be a team goal if they’re interested in winning another game.

Attacking Midfield

Jordan Morris – 5 | Community – 4.1 (off 82’ for Baker)

Jordan looked active in this match and was much of the offensive push early, as well as seeing some of the best chances go by the wayside. He had two shots, won four headers, and was active but ultimately ineffective with his 25 touches. 

One thing I liked: A nice curled ball to Raúl in the 7th opened up a chance, and he almost put his 17th minute corner kick header on frame. Almost. 

One thing I didn’t like: Morris is getting into good spots, and maybe his best was the 50th minute header that could have completely changed the match but instead was tamely put wide. 

Going forward: Even down a man, Morris was still asked to play wide. Any thoughts that he might play as a field-stretching forward seem forever shackled to playing with Ruidíaz, who can’t keep up, limiting both. 

Albert Rusnák – 6 (MOTM) | Community – 5.2 (off 63’ for Musovski)

Rusnák was as effective as his teammates in the first half, getting a number of half chances and predictably unable to turn those into actual goals. He led the team with four key passes and was very strong at setting up others to not score. 

One thing I liked: Albert called his own shot in the 23rd minute but put it wide. He released Cristian into a great spot two minutes later as Rusnák was steady in the middle. 

One thing I didn’t like: Some of his decision making was somewhat slow and cost the team, specifically a 20th minute split pass that was missed and a 33rd minute opportunity to find a streaking Morris that was held too long. 

Going forward: Albert is doing his job as a force multiplier; the forces he multiplies are just puny right now. 

Cristian Roldan – 5 | Community – 4.6

Cristian had a good match as a right-sided defensive player. He had 49 touches, two clearances and a tackle as he concentrated on supporting Obed and Alex. 

One thing I liked: A 23rd minute cross asked a few questions of the defense, and a won 45th minute free kick gave the Sounders a set piece chance to squander. 

One thing I didn’t like: Cristian turned the ball over twice in the first 10 minutes and spent the rest of his time covering the right side on defense. He had zero shots or key passes, not creating or being involved in anything particularly impressive on his wing.

Going forward: Roldan looks like a different player than he was before his head injuries. There are glimpses of the dynamic wide play he used to provide, but it's increasingly forsaken due to the need to support a midfield that can’t move the ball forward into dangerous areas. 


Raúl Ruidíaz – 4 | Community – 4.7 (off 45’ for Arreaga)

The Sounders’ striker got half of a match to work and brought little to the table. His 16 touches were ineffective, although he was credited with two shots to co-lead the team. 

One thing I liked: Somehow, Raúl almost scored a header after a nice combination play down the left led to Nouhou crossing it to him in the 23rd minute. 

One thing I didn’t like: On a 7th minute breakaway, Raúl was too slow, tripped over his own feet, and squandered a big chance by falling on his face: a fitting image for the 2024 Sounders season if there ever was one. 

Going forward: Raúl hasn’t been effective this year. Without his normal magic, he’s unable to create for anyone else either, leaving a giant hole in the attack. 


Xavier Arreaga – 4 | Community – 3.1 (on 45’ for Ruidíaz) 

Arreaga was given a chance to audition for other teams and show he’s a valuable asset and he did that, until he didn’t in spectacular fashion. Other than reminding everyone of his penchant for big mistakes, his 33 touches and controlled play were decent.

One thing I liked: Coming in and directing play in the back, Xavi’s distribution was strong. A 61st minute pass found Alex over the top. 

One thing I didn’t like: Inexplicably attempting to dribble through multiple players, while down a man and a goal, is the kind of insane decision making that got him benched for a steadier presence in the first place. Yet that’s exactly what Xavi did in the 71st minute. 

Going forward: Going back and analyzing whether Arreaga played better than Ragen is now moot as Xavi was shown the door this week, removing any debate that might have been worth discussing. Arreaga’s penchant for tucked-in shirts, as well as the occasional boneheaded play, will head across the country. 

Danny Musovski – 5 | Community – 4.9 (on 63‘ for Rusnák)

Musovski came into the match and did a few things, showing skills and initiative that were a slight upgrade within the game state. He had only 11 touches. 

One thing I liked: Some solid 69th minute pressure seemed to surprise the Sounders, who didn’t realize they could do anything other than roll over at that point. Danny won an 87th minute free kick that had Seattle briefly on the front foot.

One thing I didn’t like: Tossed into the match without much plan on the top, instead of moving Morris there to stretch the field, was a puzzling decision. 

Going forward: Musovski may be a game changer, but this game needed an exorcism-level change. 

Josh Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.3 (on 63’ for JP)

Subbing in 62 minutes late, Atencio again showed the ability to run the middle of the field and support both offense and defense. 

One thing I liked: One thing Josh brought was hustle, which was enough of a difference to be noticeable. A 94th minute effort saw him charge through, win a corner, then nearly score off that corner with a side volley. 

One thing I didn’t like: A 69th minute drop pass ended as a turnover.

Going forward: Please see last season for months of me questioning why he didn’t start with JP and imagine I wrote that here. Thanks. 

Cody Baker – 5 | Community – 5.1 (on 82’ for Morris)

Cody Baker subbed on for Morris to help hold onto that precious 2-0 loss. He touched the ball once and added nothing. 

One thing I liked: He didn’t cleat anyone to get red carded off the field.

One thing I didn’t like: Baker was beaten badly in the 85th minute. 

Going forward: I would assume that Baker would be the logical starter for the red-carded Roldan, but what do I know. 


Ramy Touchan – 4 | Community – 2.9

How you look at the first red card likely determines how you rated the match, but Touchan had a number of startlingly poor calls even before that one, which likely contributed to the confusion when Ragen was ultimately sent off. Part of why there was overly physical play was the referee allowed it to happen, not calling fouls. Seattle having four cards (two reds) but only eight total fouls is a wild stat. 

One thing I liked: A 35th minute advantage play was spot on, and the second red was decisively given without a need to take seven minutes and get on the microphone for facetime. 

One thing I didn’t like: In slow motion, the tackle from Ragen was a poor one that did get the player, but there was zero ill intent, attempt to injure, or use undue force; it was a big guy with big feet accidentally stepping on a guy. There was an opportunity to see the play for what it was, an unfortunate tangle of players, and use the yellow card to caution the player from such aggressive tactics. Instead, the ref got his moment on the camera and made the game about him. 

Going forward: Players must be protected, and I can see the argument for this being a red, but there was a clear opportunity to take the less drastic course, one that both sides seemed prepared to deal with. Instead the game was shattered and became about the refereeing decision and the fallout from that and not about the play on the field. 

Vancouver Whitecaps MOTM

As usual, Ryan Gauld was the guy for Vancouver. While he didn’t really truly impact the match until he drew Ragen’s red, it should be noted that he was nearly in position to tuck home a shaky parry from Frei in the 11th. He went on to put his side into the lead with a clean finish following a late run (following some atrocious Sounders buildup).

Next up: Maybe multiple red cards forces necessary lineup changes.