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Realio’s Ratings: Sounders sink in Sandy

Frei flails, Seattle fails.

Last Updated
11 min read
Christopher Creveling - USA TODAY Sports

Welp, momentum lost. Seattle went on short rest to Sandy, Utah, ran into a Real Salt Lake-sized wall and meekly surrendered. The 2-0 final score was perhaps to be expected with a highly rotated lineup amid fixture congestion. The first half was competitive and semi-promising, but the second was a slog of inadequacy, and the final score could have been even more lopsided. The Sounders might have had more than one shot in the second half, but looking up that stat requires more effort than the team’s whole offense demonstrated. As dreadful as that sounds, between our history at RSL, the injury situation pre- and during the match, and the general lack of quality play by Seattle in 2024, this match was neither surprising nor one to get too worked up about. 

One word: Throwaway.


Stefan Frei – 6 (MOTM) | Community – 6.3

Frei was active against RSL, making a number of big saves that kept the score from getting out of hand. With 21 shots against and nine on goal, Stefan was busy. 

One thing I liked: Time and again, Non-Fake Salt Lake got into spots to shoot, and 22nd and 75th minute work kept Seattle within striking distance. Frei’s ability to make quick reaction saves was the difference between 2-0 and something much worse. 

One thing I didn’t like: On the first RSL goal, Frei likely expected Cody Baker to push the opponent wide, lowering the shooting angle. When the attacker spun Cody and had the entire goal to shoot at, it was a tall ask for a keeper. Frei still managed to look immobile on the play, as his feet never moved; instead he meekly fell over trying to make a save, lacking an explosive push that might have pawed the shot away. 

One word: Footsteps.


Cody Baker – 4 | Community – 4.8 (off 65’ for Baker-Whiting)

Baker struggled in this game. Not closing down crosses, losing possession, and getting completely turned around by RSL plagued him for much of the match. He wasn’t credited with a single tackle, and went 0/3 on duels as his defensive workrate remains high, but ineffective. He had 77 percent passing which included a key pass during a tumultuous 64 minutes that included a yellow card. 

One thing I liked: In possession, Cody makes quick passes, often forward, and remains a clean connector in a positive game state. 

One thing I didn’t like: With Seattle holding its own and creating chances, an RSL counter attack in the 27th minute ripped apart the defense and changed the match. The last line of confrontation, Baker correctly attempted to force Andrés Gómez wide. Instead, he was completely flummoxed as the RSL attacker juked him, cutting to the open center for a free hit that opened the scoring. Gómez ended with seven shots, often matched up with Baker. 

One word: Struggling. 

Jonathan Bell – 6 | Community – 5.5

Bell continues to get minutes as the injuries have piled up in the back, and he continues to acquit himself well. Against RSL he had 49 touches, blocked three shots, and contributed two interceptions and three clearances in a busy effort where Seattle defended furiously for long stretches of the match. 

One thing I liked: Bell’s defending was consistent as he showed up to support and connect with teammates. His positioning and instincts are generally good, choosing smart times to be aggressive and knowing when to drop off and let the defensive midfielders in front of him do their jobs. 

One thing I didn’t like: Bell still struggles to keep a tight line with teammates, and a number of important plays show him not in sync with the other center backs. He remains susceptible to runs in behind him. 

One word: Solid. 

Jackson Ragen – 5 | Community – 5.2 (off 83’ for Yeimar)

Ragen started another match as the right of the two center backs and was fair, but very disconnected from the play. With only 26 touches, he didn’t have the ball much and wasn’t able to show off his usual quality vision and distribution. He had four clearances and an interception. 

One thing I liked: Jackson carried a lot of the right side defense, supporting new starter Sota Kitahara and forcing most of the effective RSL attacks down the opposite side of the field. 

One thing I didn’t like: Ragen continues to charge up the field and commit fouls. In this one, it was a bad tackle in the 64th minute that was simply unnecessary. It was somehow uncarded, likely because he got the slightest touch of the ball. 

One word: Bewildering.

Sota Kitahara – 5 | Community – 4.5

Sota returned to the Sounders’ starting lineup in an unusual position, as right back. He got 43 touches and converted 73 percent of his attempts, but didn’t do much defensively. He failed to provide an overlapping element to the Sounders’ attack. He had two tackles and two clearances.

One thing I liked: A clean touch in buildup in the 53rd minute showed some technical class. 

One thing I didn’t like: We’re used to seeing Seattle’s offense revolve around the right back movement to create width, while the right winger inverts to overload central midfield, allowing Seattle to build possession on that side. So, it was jarring to see Sota hanging out behind everyone and not getting involved at all in an offensive capacity. When he did so, he was 0/3 crossing. 

One word: Forgettable. 

Defensive Midfield

Danny Leyva – 6 | Community – 5.0

Leyva got a rare start and did well to connect in the middle. He had by far the most of the ball, leading Seattle with 68 touches, almost 20 more than the next most. He added a key pass, a shot, 84 percent passing, and a lot of positional defense that was hit or miss, but which led to three interceptions. For some odd reason, Danny didn’t take set pieces, which seemed bizarre. 

One thing I liked: Danny’s ability to turn in traffic and pick out attacking passes is excellent. It was on display in the 15th minute, and again in the 56th he turned out of pressure from multiple defenders and split the RSL defense. 

One thing I didn’t like: In the 27th minute, Leyva was in charge of the middle and as RSL sliced through a pressing right side of the Sounders, he made a fatal mistake. Jumping forward to try to intercept a potential central pass, Leyva took himself out of the play as RSL instead drove through the hole he had vacated, and Danny’s recovery speed was woefully inadequate to do anything other than watch the opponent score. 

One word: Flawed. 

João Paulo – 5 | Community – 5.4 (off halftime for C. Roldan)

JP worked hard but didn’t have as much impact as hoped. With 33 touches and 85 percent passing, he did have a shot and a key pass, but defensively was part of a porous midfield that wasn’t able to cover as we’re used to. JP was especially susceptible to diagonal runs through the middle. 

One thing I liked: Strong defensive work on a 25th minute counter attack was great to see. JP effectively combined to get the ball to Albert Rusnák when Seattle was active going forward. 

One thing I didn’t like: JP is still good at connecting the team, a hugely important need from midfield. However, he isn’t having DP-level impact on games, especially with consistent defensive actions, and he hasn’t shown the team-MVP form of the past few seasons. 

One word: Worrying. 

Attacking Midfield

Léo Chú – 5 | Community – 4.6 (off 21’ for Rothrock)

Chú started on the left wing and looked active before an unfortunate injury had him leaving the field inside of 25 minutes. Until then he was lively, offsetting the pace on the opposite wing. He translated his eight touches into attacks, resulting in a key pass before his quick exit. 

One thing I liked: Vertical running and vision was strong from Chú, who varied his runs both to the end line and centrally, with the latter ending in a beautiful pass to Rusnák, setting up a great chance right before his injury. 

One thing I didn’t like: This was a massive opportunity for Chú to show that vertical wingers and field-stretching balance could help this team look more offensively dynamic, and his injury right as he was showing that potential is sad. There aren’t many chances for Léo to show value, and it was heartbreaking to see his emotion when he understood the injury. 

One word: Unfortunate.

Albert Rusnák – 5 | Community – 4.9 (off 65’ for Morris)

Rusnák was again tasked with being the central attacking midfielder. He connected well with teammates and got in good spots himself. The team (Rusnák included) was unfortunately unable to finish any of those opportunities. His 31 touches led to a key pass and a shot, both of which were strong goal-scoring opportunities wasted. 

One thing I liked: Albert’s passing found big chances for teammates, including a beautiful ball in the 7th minute and another in the 19th to Danny Musovski in an attacking position. 

One thing I didn’t like: Chú created a golden opportunity for Rusnák at the top of the box in the 15th minute. Instead of controlling and shooting or driving into the box, Albert tried a one-time shot and put it into orbit. 

One word: Underwhelming. 

Georgi Minoungou – 5 | Community – 6.3 (MOTM)

Recently called up, Minoungu had a topsy-turvy match at the attacking wide positions, tasked with much of the creation duties after Chú went off. Georgi had 47 touches, led the team with three shots (zero on goal) and had a key pass in an active and exciting outing. 

One thing I liked: Willingness to go at the defense is a big deficit for the Sounders, but Georgi has that in spades. What’s most impressive is at times he seems unstoppable in 1-v-1 situations, able to create separation and consistently beat defenders. His 48th minute split of multiple Lakers was a great display of game-breaking effort and frankly an ability this team lacks. 

One thing I didn’t like: Despite the fancy dribbling and footwork, which stood out because no one else was doing much, nothing Georgi did amounted to anything. His decision making after “beat the dudes in front of me” is flawed. He relies on raw physical talent to create flashy plays, but needs to take that next step to create for himself or others. 

One word: Incomplete.


Danny Musovski – 5 | Community – 5.3

Danny got a start as a point forward and connected with teammates to create opportunities via smart runs and movement. His 28 touches included two shots, each of which forced saves, and he remains an underrated target in the air. 

One thing I liked: In the 29th minute, Musovski almost scored, winning a contested ball at the edge of the box after a Paul Rothrock flick, and having a quality look at goal after a smart push into the penalty area set up a clean shot. 

One thing I didn’t like: Rusnák got the ball to Danny in a prime goal-scoring area in the 19th minute and he was unable to control, fumbling it and eventually falling without a shot, yet another example of a quality chance from Seattle that didn’t get on frame because of a lack of execution. 

One word: Backup.


Paul Rothrock – 5 | Community – 4.6 (on 21’ for Chú) 

Rothrock came in earlier than expected, replacing the injured Chú. Twenty-five touches later he had a single key pass to his name, and a horrible 56 percent pass completion percentage, unable to connect with teammates or be a productive part of the match outside of his positioning. 

One thing I liked: One of the few Sounders who moved to good spaces, his movement made tactical sense the few times he touched the ball. An especially nice play came in the 29th minute when he headed the ball smartly on to the vertical run of Musovski, creating one of the biggest Sounder chances. 

One thing I didn’t like: No one played great soccer in this match, but it reinforced Paul’s inability to create big moments for others, instead relying on creation from elsewhere. Outside of hustling and being in good tactical areas, he had very little impact. 

One word: Vanilla. 

Cristian Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.3 (on halftime for JP)

Cristian came in and brought a different look: for a few brief minutes he played the ball quicker through transition and attempted to jumpstart some life into the Sounders. This soon cooled off, and Roldan ended with 37 largely ineffective touches, creating little offensively and spending much of his time accruing defensive statistics, like his three tackles. 

One thing I liked: Cristian added some intensity, allowing Seattle to transition quicker for the 15 minutes they were interested in soccering in the second half. This was directly due to his connection from inside out, finding vertical balls and moving into space for Leyva to connect to. 

One thing I didn’t like: Unable to make an impact, this performance wasted one of the currently highest performing players on the roster in a useless, physical 45 minutes at altitude with another game in three days. 

One word: Pointless. 

Jordan Morris – 4 | Community – 4.1 (on 65’ for Rusnák)

Jordan entered for Rusnák but was completely ineffective, finding neither space nor the ball on offense. He had a miniscule five touches in a useless outing. 

One thing I liked: Morris had an important clearance at one point, added a successful dribble, and won both his duels. 

One thing I didn’t like: It was hard to tell what the plan was. Should he have been stretching the field vertically with no service? Playing wide as a winger and looking to pass? Building a teepee out of his shin guards at midfield? Who knows! All these are irrelevant because nothing happened, and Morris had zero impact on the match.

One word: Toothless. 

Reed Baker-Whiting – 5 | Community – 5.1 (on 65’ for Baker)

Reed Baker-Whiting showed up for the third match in a row and, similar to the other two, saw out a result that didn’t change with him on the field. He had 19 touches and 79 percent passing. He had one more tackle than the guy he replaced. 

One thing I liked: Clearly given license to go forward, Reed took very aggressive offensive positioning. 

One thing I didn’t like: Replacing Baker with Baker-Whiting didn’t upgrade the defense or the offense. RBW had a notable 70th minute moment when his defense was particularly rough, getting spun badly by RSL. 

One word: Hope. 

Yeimar – 5 | Community – 5.4 (on 83’ for Ragen)

The recently injured Yeimar was a surprise late inclusion to the match. He touched the ball five times, completed all his passes, had two interceptions and a clearance in a busy few minutes to close out the match and secure the 2-0 loss. 

One thing I liked: His defense in the 88th minute showed why he is currently the best defender on the team by far, coming all the way across the field to save the other back five. 

One thing I didn’t like: Was it necessary to run Yeimar out late in a match that seemed to have little prospect of rescuing a point? Hard to know how 10 minutes of play was essential to his return schedule, and luckily he didn’t reaggravate an injury. 

One word: Rescuer.


Ismir Pekmic – 7 | Community – 4.7

This wasn’t a very interesting match, and there was little for the referee to do. The second half, especially, was a slow slog of a period highlighted by little excitement and plenty of trudging play. Nineteen total fouls were called, with a pair of yellow cards each and relatively non-controversial, boring gameplay. 

One thing I liked: This game barely needed a referee, but this ref was consistent in the calls made (and notably, not made). That let the game mercifully play more quickly on the clock, if not on the field. 

One thing I didn’t like: A number of seemingly blatant fouls went uncalled, with a 46th minute un-whistled infraction leaving Minoungou flummoxed. Seattle was especially prone to hoping for calls, then being slow to recover when they weren’t whistled.

One word: Boring. 

Real Salt Lake MOTM

Y tu Mamá También was all over this one. He played in a dangerous corner that resulted in RSL’s first big chance of the match (albeit, in the second phase). He turned out of trouble and played a slick one-two to jumpstart the counter that led to the opener. He created yet another opportunity in the 40th, and capped it all with a goal in the 58th, crossing up Ragen, and giving RSL an insurmountable lead (at least, insurmountable when up against an attack as anemic as Seattle’s).

Next up: A struggling home team desperately needs a home result.