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Realio’s Ratings: Do what you must

Sounders rise highest on the road, find their way to a 2-1 win.

Last Updated
11 min read
Joe Puetz / USA TODAY Sports

Seattle’s 2024 season has been defined by big mistakes and a fundamental inability to harness the star power they can usually rely on. Against St. Louis City SC, they put forth a strong team effort to take all three points on the road. Are the Sounders starting to build momentum? The 2-1 win was not easy, but was the kind of match where they’ve managed to drop points all year to this point. The difference was they added a second goal when they had the killer chance, and they were finally a bit lucky on the other end, holding on for the win instead of conceding late. This game wasn’t pretty, especially in the first half when Seattle controlled possession but had little forward impetus, but they took their chances well, made their own luck, and were able to overcome the big mistakes that have plagued them this year. 

Must: Build on this momentum. 


Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.3

Frei didn't have a lot to do, as even though the home team had 24 shots, only five were on frame. He made four saves and was more likely to kick long than be particularly involved in buildup, even though Seattle passed around the back frequently in the first half. 

One thing I liked: For all their shots, St. Louis didn’t trouble Frei much, with a 60th minute catch in traffic and an important 88th minute free kick punch out being most notable actions for the netminder.

One thing I didn’t like: Frei looks so awkward with his feet sometimes, but it usually looks worse than it turns out. A 43rd minute fumble was rough. 

Must: Continue to outrun Thomas’ footsteps.


Cody Baker – 5 | Community – 5.8 (off 61’ for Baker-Whiting)

Starting for the suspended Nouhou, Baker's defense didn’t support his case for more time, although he showed the ability to eat minutes and limit volatile moments. His positioning remains a work in progress. Cody looks best when able to be part of a free-flowing forward attack, which didn’t happen often while he was on the field. He had three tackles, three clearances, and 80 percent passing while being unsuccessful on crosses or long balls. 

One thing I liked: A few times, Cody attempted to get the ball forward to Jordan Morris, and even if the connection wasn’t there, it was nice to see someone other than Cristian Roldan make an effort to find him. Baker had an intriguing run forward and diagonally through the box in the 45th minute that was a neat attacking tactic. 

One thing I didn’t like: Supposedly the “offensive option,” his .01 expected assists said otherwise. Crediting Cody with a key pass for dinking it to Raúl, who then kicked a field goal from 30 yards out, was generous. He had some rough defense (someone please teach him to force play wide!) and it was an uneven outing for a young player who isn’t playing as well as we’ve seen previously. 

Must: Defend better.

Jackson Ragen – 6 | Community – 5.7

Ragen combined well across the back to limit big chances for the home team, and although Seattle was peppered with shots late, they resolutely saw out the win. It was not pretty, but credit to the central defense to remain strong and turn consistent pressure away. Jackson’s 88 percent passing was mostly conservative, as the Sounders held long, unthreatening possession for most of the match. He had five clearances. 

One thing I liked: Ragen matched up with João Klauss (who was hiding from Yeimar) and not only held his own, he physically pushed the St. Louis DP around. Whether it was a 49th minute body blow or holding his composure as Klauss flopped around without contact, Jackson did well to combine this toughness with the finesse to find a beautiful switch wide to Morris in the 52nd. 

One thing I didn’t like: In the 76th minute it was Ragen’s turn to be the Sounder who tried to dribble in the back, get picked, and give up an unnecessary chance. Maddening.

Must: Remove those big mistakes that happen every match. 

Yeimar – 8 (MOTM) | Community – 6.8

Yeimar was massive in this match, continually saving the Seattle defense by supporting a weaker left side. His stats were insane: a tackle, three interceptions, 18 defensive actions and a whopping 11 clearances. He added a blocked shot to a team-high 94 touches, returning 86 percent passing. Yeimar was excellent. 

One thing I liked: A complete wall to almost every St. Louis attack, especially critical were the times Yeimar adeptly came across behind Ragen and Baker, with a 56th minute intervention saving the day again. His 78th minute defense was spectacular, and time and again it was a clearance from the big right center back that alleviated the consistent pressure Seattle was enduring late. 

One thing I didn’t like: A 27th minute turnover was a side effect of being the guy with the most touches in the match; occasionally you’ll miss a link up. 

Must: Stay healthy for Seattle to continue their defensive form.

Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.6 (off 87’ for Rothrock)

Alex had 74 touches but was barely memorable in this match, playing conservatively as part of a slow Seattle build up. Time and again he linked centrally or backwards, not seeing coherent runs in front of him and missing cross-field switches that were available. He had two clearances, two blocked shots, and a tackle.

One thing I liked: A 45th minute crossfield pass was good; a 54th minute 1-v-1 defense was a nice combination of two-way play during the middle of the match, as Alex had an energetic stretch. 

One thing I didn’t like: Completely absent was the Alex Roldan attack on the right, as well as his connection with Obed Vargas on the wing. If these two are going to be out there, they have to figure out something offensive together.

Must: Show more attack from the right or lose your spot. 

Defensive Midfield

Cristian Roldan – 7 | Community – 6.6

Cristian started central, went to the right, and had a lot of positional flexibility in this match. He had a key pass and created a goal from the width, but much of his work was central defense, highlighted by five tackles, three clearances, and an interception among 11 defensive actions.

One thing I liked: When pushed to the wing, Cristian attacked directly, and when Albert Rusnák slid a pass wide to him in the 67th minute, he put a hard cross into a dangerous area. Someone in Discord mentioned that “deflections happen” and that became prophetic as Cristian’s cross bounced off a defender into the net. Prior to this, Roldan was a defensive strength and a presence as a central distributor. 

One thing I didn’t like: The deflection went in, but more repeatable actions like an open 56th minute volley that went wide or a 59th minute pass that missed Raúl were some of the errors that could have sealed this match with somewhat more precision. 

Must: Be on the field at right fullback, wing, or central — he’s currently the best at three spots. 

João Paulo – 6 | Community – 5.9 (off 78’ for Kossa-Rienzi)

JP was on the ball a lot, co-leading the team with 94 touches in a central role. He was exceedingly clean with the ball, completing 90 percent but also deferring to the safer pass for much of the match in lieu of more direct or speculative attacking balls. This limited his effect on anything more than possession statistics. A single shot that was not on frame was added to multiple tackles and six defensive actions. 

One thing I liked: Earning a corner early showed a willingness to get forward that Seattle needed. JP was one of the few Sounders trying to push the tempo, leading the team with 16 passes into the final third and at least attempting to push the ball forward. 

One thing I didn’t like: João’s defense was exposed in the 13th minute as he was badly caught out centrally, opening up the entire center of the field that St. Louis gratefully ran through, forcing Cristian to sprint back and support the gaping central hole. 

Must: Find more dynamic attacking form. 

Attacking Midfield

Jordan Morris – 8 | Community – 6.9 (MOTM)

Morris was massive in this match. He was almost the team’s entire offense from both end results and creation, stretching the field and offering a direct danger that resulted in numerous chances. He ended with a goal, a key pass that should have been another goal, and the kind of line breaking movement that stretched St. Louis apart. 

One thing I liked: Direct, vertical, linkup, and finishing play were all great for Morris. His darting central run was found by Albert Rusnák in the 69th for his 69th goal (nice twice) on a calm finish and he later set up Danny Musovski for another breakaway that should have put the game to bed.

One thing I didn’t like: Although he made huge chances happen, Jordan also immensely struggled in the first half and much of the second to combine with teammates, ending with a dreary 44 percent passing completion rate on only 26 touches. 

Must: Receive similar service when he makes these runs.

Albert Rusnák – 6 | Community – 6.3

Rusnák had a slow start to the match, struggling to find the ball in the first half. Then, some tactical changes and more direct play that better fit his skillset led to Albert being key to both of Seattle’s goals. Able to connect in the tightest of places, Rusnák had a sparkling 97 percent passing rate, setting up the biggest chances for Seattle. 

One thing I liked: The 69th minute pass that Rusnák made was phenomenal, a first-time perfectly weighted ball behind a defender and gently through to the onrushing run of Morris — a delicate execution that created the kind of chance Seattle needs more of. 

One thing I didn’t like: Rusnák was absent in the first half. A terrible 9th minute corner kick highlighted the lack of set piece execution by the entire team, and Albert shouldered plenty of blame for pathetic service. 

Must: Look vertical first, instead of as a last resort. 

Obed Vargas – 5 | Community – 6.2

Obed started up front on the right wing, and was part of a possession-first approach that didn’t earn style points but did get Seattle to halftime without conceding. His defensive work rate was evident through consistently switching with Cristian Roldan, and he ended the match in the center. He blocked four shots, but only had one key pass in a worrying lack of offensive impact.

One thing I liked: As a right winger, Obed does a lot of defensive work, dropping centrally and switching with Cristian to offer a differing look on the fly. This led to five tackles and a ton of possession on the road. A 56th minute run into the box was one of the few times he was successful going forward, dribbling directly before unfortunately delivering a poor final ball. 

One thing I didn’t like: As a right winger, Obed isn’t doing much offensively. He didn’t beat a man and deliver wide service, or link with an overlapping fullback to put Seattle into advantageous situations on the width. He didn’t attempt a cross in this match, and the right side was ineffective on offense. 

Must: Show offensive production from wide areas to remain a starter. 


Raúl Ruidíaz – 5 | Community – 5.0 (off 78’ for Musovski)

Ruidíaz started another match at forward and again struggled to be a fulcrum for offensive production. While leading a weak Seattle offense with three shots, none were on frame nor particularly dangerous, and his 31 touches were not overly constructive for much of the match.

One thing I liked: In the 67th minute, Seattle forced a goal off a deflection. Raúl was exactly where you want him to be, and hasn’t been often enough this year, diving through the box, on the six looking for finishes in the area. Two minutes later he had a nice hold-up drop to Rusnák, pulling the defense away from their goal and creating space for Morris to dash into and score. 

One thing I didn’t like: Raúl wasn’t absent in buildup, instead he was actively bad for much of the match, missing Rusnák in the 27th, forcing a 40th minute shot, and misplaying multiple other times, so that the first half Seattle midfield essentially played without a forward option. 

Must: Be in the box in transition, find more impact in buildup, and create scoring opportunities. 


Reed Baker-Whiting – 4 | Community – 5.7 (on 61’ for Baker) 

With Baker treading water, Seattle added Reed Baker-Whiting to the left to see if he could help unlock the offense. Correlation isn’t causation and all that, but it should be noted that Seattle scored twice directly after this change was made. Reed’s body of work wasn’t particularly impressive, as he had a dreary 60 percent completion rate and four clearances. 

One thing I liked: A hard tackle on Klauss in the 66th minute was an impressive bit of physical play, showing that Reed isn’t scared to mix it up after his recent injury history. Thirteen minutes later his wide defense earned a goal kick. 

One thing I didn’t like: Reed was beaten badly on a number of occasions, including on the STL goal in the 82nd minute as it was scored on a run directly inside of Baker-Whiting. 

Must: Play more like the end of last season than the start of this one. 

Danny Musovski – 4 | Community – 4.2 (on 78’ for Ruidíaz)

Subbing out Ruidíaz earlier than usual for Musovski didn’t bring any improvement to play, as Danny was unimpactful in his 12-plus minutes. He ended with 50 percent passing, five touches, and a regrettable shot. 

One thing I liked: In the long line of backup forwards for Seattle, Musovski makes quality runs and is a consistent forward option for chance creation. 

One thing I didn’t like: In the 87th minute, Morris threaded a beautiful ball onto the feet of Musovski who had the goal calling and only the keeper to beat. Danny put his shot woefully wide, instead of effectively ending the match. 

Must: Start finishing those big chances. 

Kalani Kossa-Rienzi – 5 | Community – 5.0 (on 78’ for João Paulo)

Kalani earned a first-team call-up after a great Open Cup goal midweek, and saw the field in a confident coaching decision late. He supported this decision by offering two tackles and three defensive actions in his 10 minute shift.

One thing I liked: KKR brought hustle and effort to the right, injecting some energy and not looking remotely intimidated by the moment or his first MLS appearance. 

One thing I didn’t like: An 80th minute yellow card for a handball may have been harsh, but this mistake gave St. Louis a free kick as they brought waves of pressure forward. Fifty percent passing could be much improved.

Must: Show cleaner play to earn the contract.

Paul Rothrock – 4 | Community – 4.5 (on 87’ for A. Roldan)

Rothrock was subbed in late to help hold onto the win, and wasn’t great. He had five touches and 50 percent completion passing out of the back. 

One thing I liked: With Seattle hanging on late, Rothrock got up to win a vital 93rd minute header. 

One thing I didn’t like: A boneheaded foul right outside the box in extra time likely had every Sounders fan remembering the events of a week prior. 

Must: Do pretty much everything better to get playing time.


Lukasz Spzala – 6 | Community – 5.8

This was a strong refereeing performance, in an often one-sided fouling affair. Although the final foul numbers were 14 for St. Louis and nine for Seattle, at one time it was 12-2 and the home team was playing physical and utilizing tactical impediments that limited an already slow Sounder build up. Two late cards evened things out in what was a plethora of calls to the Seattle opponents. 

One thing I liked: Ignoring Klauss’ consistent diving started in the 3rd minute and continued throughout, as the St. Louis forward continually attacked the ground with his face after getting a whiff of Ragen’s cologne. The referee did a good job to not be suckered in on these moments. 

One thing I didn’t like: The lack of earlier cards for persistent fouling was frustrating, as this tactic worked great for the home team when they weren’t penalized for it. Especially egregious was Klauss leaving a dirty foot in to gouge Frei in the 81st minute, something the referee must adjudicate to prevent injury. 

Must: Stop allowing players to bait you into calls, and assign cards for blatantly flopping.

St. Louis City SC MOTM

Perhaps the sentimental pick, Eduard Löwen subbed on in the 70th and was also just plain good. It was his angled shross twelve minutes later that got St. Louis on the board and made the final minutes of the match plenty nervy. Oh, and then in added time, he played basically the same ball (this time from a set piece) to almost nearly earn his side the draw.

Next up must: Start winning at home.