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Realio’s Ratings: Pain in various forms

You’re gonna have a hard time if you thought the St. Louis win was a turning point.

Last Updated
11 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Being a fan of the 2024 Sounders is as painful as having your wisdom teeth pulled. Last week Seattle played Real Salt Lake, supposedly the best team in the West, and had every opportunity to earn all three points at Lumen Field. But no, instead the Sounders were successful in their quest for a single point. As soon as they took the lead, the Scared Sounders bunkered, trying to hold on for a third of the match to protect their lead via conceding the ball and desperate defense. The ending was all too familiar: heartbreak in the waning moments of extra time. This time it was even worse as Seattle appeared to have put the game away moments before. The 1-1 tie was a new low, spectacularly lowlighting this season and especially their disappointing play at home. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you try to bunker for 40 minutes. 


Stefan Frei – 6 | Community – 6.2

Frei was very good against RSL, needing to make a few key saves and doing his best to control the match as Seattle ceded all possession late. He ended with three saves on 19 shots against. 

One thing I liked: Stefan helped manage the match for Seattle, and for much of the first 60 or so minutes, the Sounders and Frei were rarely troubled. Good saves in the 81st and 92rd highlighted an almost clean sheet. 

One thing I didn’t like: An airmail kick out of bounds in the 52nd minute with little pressure was part of some sloppy play in the back. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you don’t save a shot with 10 seconds left on the clock.


Nouhou – 6 | Community – 6.4

Nouhou had a strong game against RSL, shutting down their wide attacks and adding some nice pushes forward to support the offense. 

One thing I liked: Defending against Andrés Gómez, Nouhou frustrated the RSL star, limiting him to zero shots on goal and miserable passing numbers. The unexpected highlight of his match was a spirited run in the 29th that correctly attacked space and created the best Sounders chance in the first half hour. 

One thing I didn’t like: A number of turnovers mostly came in offense, where Nouhou showed desire without the right amount of skill. He was beaten at the end by a 6’4” midfielder who simply out-jumped him to win a crucial late header.

You’re gonna have a hard time: if Nouhou is your offensive dynamic. 

Jackson Ragen – 5 | Community – 4.5

Ragen struggled in the back, his trusty control and distribution letting him down as he made some inexplicable errors. This led to a low 81 percent passing rate, but he grew into the match and was part of a resolute defense that nearly held on, ending with three interceptions, two tackles, and four clearances. He was unlucky his late clearance didn’t make it far.

One thing I liked: A beautiful recovery run in the 38th minute showed great awareness, and the play ending with a goal kick was due to Ragen’s excellent defense.

One thing I didn’t like: The absurd mistakes in the back were just that: absurd. In the 4th minute Ragen passed directly to RSL, giving a big chance. He did this two other times, either passing or dribbling unnecessarily into trouble and giving the stifled opponents some free agency into the match.

You’re gonna have a hard time: if Ragen keeps giving the ball to the other team.

Yeimar – 6 | Community – 6.0

Yeimar had another steady match on the right of defense, combining with his line to bend, but (almost) not break, resolutely defending for long stretches of time. His team-high five clearances were part of a defense structured to consistently play it long. 

One thing I liked: As has been the norm lately, Yeimar was given room to roam and be aggressive and he did this well, pushing forward to disrupt attempts to reach the holding forwards. His ability to win these challenges kept RSL constantly moving backwards. 

One thing I didn’t like: A stretch foul in the 6th minute was rough, but luckily just outside the box. Seattle’s defense taking these kinds of aggressive chances in the first ten minutes was frustrating to watch. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if Yeimar is the better passer of the centerbacks.

Alex Roldan – 6 | Community – 5.2

Alex improved in the match against RSL, showing some increased urgency in the attack which led to a team-high three key passes. He was second on the team with 81 touches, and a clean 88 percent completion rate showed better connections than the last few outings.

One thing I liked: An excellent driving run in the 54th was a direct dribble and connection play that has been missing, and Alex earned a foul for this great transition. 

One thing I didn’t like: A questionable back pass in the first two minutes showed how slowly Seattle started. Alex was especially bewildered by Chicho Arango, who nearly scored in the 86th after beating Roldan for a wide open header. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if Alex is the least effective creator on the team.

Defensive Midfield

Obed Vargas – 6 | Community – 6.4

Obed moved back into the central defensive midfield and did a little bit of everything. A strong connector in the center, Obed had 62 touches in mostly conservative passing attempts. His defensive presence was strong, as he cut passing lanes and was physically solid in the middle, mixing it up and controlling play. 

One thing I liked: In the first half Obed was much more offensive, and it showed in his passing attempts. A 14th minute pass in front of a surging Nouhou was more aggressive and forced the play forward. Vargas had an excellent shot on goal in the 35th. 

One thing I didn’t like: Obed was part of the poor defending that nearly gave RSL a penalty in the first 10 minutes. He got a weird yellow card in the 87th. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if the best days are already behind us.

João Paulo – 6 | Community – 6.1 (off 93’ for Rothrock)

JP was the center of the Seattle attack, having the most touches (88) and being the playmaker for much of the match. This wasn’t too successful, and although João had two key passes, the stagnant offense, especially late, coincided with JP’s clear fatigue. 

One thing I liked: In the 34th JP showed why he is currently the most important player for the Sounders to get chances. With the ball seemingly moving from right to left through the center, his ability to cut back against all the momentum and thread a direct play up the (now open) right wing was crucial. 

One thing I didn’t like: A 60th minute switch directly to RSL showed either poor judgment, fatigue, or both. This was a warning sign, and his impact decreased as Seattle attempted to bunker their way to full points.

You’re gonna have a hard time: if JP has to get through more than 75 minutes with energy. 

Attacking Midfield

Jordan Morris – 6 | Community – 5.7 (off 83’ for Atencio)

Morris wasn’t able to recreate the dynamic attacking from the previous match, but he was active early and his ability to stretch the field made some space for others to work. 

One thing I liked: In the early moments when Raúl Ruidíaz was more active, Seattle went vertical through 3rd and 27th minute Morris runs, and the Sounders looked most dangerous from the run of play during these moments.

One thing I didn’t like: A number of annoying turnovers killed some promising attacks, but the most frustrating result was a 47th minute run when Morris got into a great spot with the ball and inexplicably didn’t shoot.

You’re gonna have a hard time: if Jordan makes unsupported and unnoticed runs against packed defenses.

Albert Rusnák – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.7 (MOTM)

Albert had an excellent match, doing his usual control job in the middle of the park, leading to strong possession and a quality chance-limiting defensive effort. Rusnák led the team with four shots and had a key pass and two interceptions, but his 55 touches were limited.

One thing I liked: Rusnák’s set pieces were improved. He created Seattle’s best chances on the night even prior to stepping over an innocuous 68th minute free kick. The look-away fake and then shot around the near side to score (a rare set piece goal!) was sublime. 

One thing I didn’t like: There were times when Seattle needed that killer pass (13th minute) or didn’t need a pointless stolen backheel (17th minute), but the worst was Albert watching late, instead of being actively involved. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you expect Rusnák to repeat that goal. 

Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 6.3 (off 74’ for Baker-Whiting)

Roldan started back on the right wing this match, and was mixing it up in the middle third. His attacking moves and distribution were stellar. Surprisingly, Cristian was the first sub of the evening for Brian Schmetzer, who was perhaps balancing the workload. 

One thing I liked: Cristian’s counterpressing in the 26th minute created a good chance, and his breakout from a corner in the 40th combined with a great shot a minute later helped Seattle get into the break with momentum. He followed this up with a beautiful cross in the 62nd minute and forced a card five minutes later as Seattle had the best of it coming out of the locker room.

One thing I didn’t like: After the goal, Seattle completely lost control of the match, bunkering and unable to match RSL’s energy, who subbed in quality while Roldan subbed out. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you need Cristian to carry the team from three positions.


Raúl Ruidíaz – 4 | Community – 4.5 (off 83’ for Musovski)

At this point, the highlights from Raúl are few and far between, and although he put in some good effort, the expectation from him is higher than the production. Against RSL he had 24 touches and turned every fifth touch into a shot. Leading the team with five shots might have looked good on paper, but only a single one was on frame. He added a key pass. 

One thing I liked: In the 11th minute Raúl almost did it again, dialing up an audacious spinning shot from midfield that nearly caught the keeper off his line and forced a punch out for a corner. 

One thing I didn’t like: Ruidíaz is only threatening the goal from (literally) 50 yards away, a very frustrating look for a proud striker. Whether it's poor holdup, kicking free kicks into ECS, or forcing hard shots, Raúl is a net negative at this point and his inability or unwillingness to make runs was hard to watch. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you expect more improbable finishes from the mid stripe. 


Reed Baker-Whiting – 6 | Community – 6.1 (on 74’ for C. Roldan) 

Surprisingly, it was Reed who earned the first sub of the night, for Cristian. With this change, Seattle moved their lineup around and fell into a defensive shell as Reed took up space on the wing. He had only 10 touches, but turned those into a key pass and almost an assist. 

One thing I liked: Although it was erased from history, Reed should be remembered for his physical drive forward in the 97th minute, shrugging off multiple challenges before serving up a layup to Musovski, whose goal was unfortunately overturned due to a foul. 

One thing I didn’t like: It was brutal seeing such a quality play from RBW get removed, but it was indicative of a team that didn’t want to push forward or be aggressive outside of this one effort. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you’re not playing RBW as he continues returning to form.

Danny Musovski – 5 | Community – 5.1 (on 83’ for Ruidíaz)

Raúl got about 20 more minutes than deserved, and eventually Musovski was brought into the match late. He was part of a team trying desperately to hold onto a lead against a strong team that had all the momentum, and his five touches didn’t do much to sway the match either way. 

One thing I liked: Musovski pressured a ball, helped earn possession, then busted his ass to get on the end of the final ball and finished what should have been a game-clinching goal. This kind of effort was sorely missed earlier. 

One thing I didn’t like: Danny was rightfully called for a foul on the goal-disallowed play. His 33 percent passing was awful for a guy who showed a lot of effort that ultimately came to nothing.

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you have to bench a legend for Musovski.

Joshua Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.1 (on 83’ for Morris)

Finally healed from his injury, forgotten midfielder Atencio returned to Lumen Field and ran around with little to show for it. With only 10 touches, he was active but not a pure outlet, mostly forced to chase play and attempt to use his size centrally as RSL pushed waves forward.

One thing I liked: Active defensively, Josh used his long frame to cut down passing lanes and congest the center of the pitch, to the tune of an interception, two clearances, and a tackle in limited minutes.

One thing I didn’t like: A 90th minute mis-tackle was indicative of an off night. Atencio didn’t connect well with teammates and attempted to make up for his rustiness with effort that didn’t always fit. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you’re picking which of the four defensive midfielders deserve to start together.

Paul Rothrock – 5 | Community – 4.7 (on 93’ for João Paulo)

Rothrock was subbed in late to help hold out the win, which unfortunately didn’t happen. He managed a tackle, six touches, and a perfect 100 percent passing rate, while helping Seattle bunker.

One thing I liked: Had Musovski missed his late tap-in that was brutally removed, Paul was there to similarly finish the ball, as usual being in the right spot offensively.

One thing I didn’t like: A 102nd minute header from the center of the box had “hero” written on it in neon and while Paul made contact, the ball went harmlessly wide.

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you’re waiting for Paul Rothrock to be more than this.


Sergii Boiko – 7 | Community – 4.3

There was a lot of refereeing needed in this match, with plenty of big calls. This ref crew did a solid job dealing with 24 fouls, evenly dispersed between the two teams as were the four yellow cards issued in total. There were plenty of moments that needed a whistle, and multiple VAR moments as well, most of which were handled well.

One thing I liked: VAR’ing the foul on Yeimar to ensure no PK early was correct, and bookended a similar 99th minute VAR that found the Musovski foul in the buildup. Between this was smart refereeing that made sense and protected players from getting too physical. 

One thing I didn’t like: There were a few questionable non-calls in the first half, the obligatory “Cristian can’t be fouled” beat down, and it was surprising not to see Seattle earn a card in the 50th after a push. At least one weird offside call made things confusing as to what was being called at times. 

You’re gonna have a hard time: if you expect much more out of MLS officials.

Real Salt Lake MOTM

Gavin Beavers did well to keep RSL in this one, especially as Seattle piled on pressure early. He pawed away a well-placed snap shot from Rusnák in the 35th, then a similar driven attempt from Cristian less than six minutes later. His parry of Nouhou’s attempt off a corner in the 66th was possibly his best save of the night. Unfortunately for him, he was beaten by Rusnák’s devilish free kick just moments later.

Next up: You’re gonna have a hard time unless you plan for an ugly match with the fighting Vermeses (Vermice?) in Kansas City this weekend. At least there aren’t any more wisdom teeth to pull.