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Realio’s Ratings: To Hay Fe or not to Hay Fe?

Sounders continue to search for rock bottom in 2-1 loss to SKC.

Last Updated
11 min read
Peter Aiken - USA TODAY Sports

Another game that summed up the Sounders’ season was played last weekend against the still awful Sporting Kansas City. The 2-1 loss chronicled this 2024 Seattle team: good for 12 minutes, okay for maybe 25 more, but generally a passive, scared, talent-invisible and rudderless team that has underperformed every reasonable metric and expectation to the point that it's time to change expectations. Being bullish on a team that can’t get out of their own way, won’t stop defeating itself, implodes mentally on the field, says all the right things but does all the wrong ones is the definition of insanity. Until they either totally collapse or turn it around, preserve your mental health and feel free to return the meh that they are giving you. Right now, it's hard to say which way the season will go. Some talent is there, but having faith in execution is a big ask, especially after that dreadful performance last weekend. This team could turn the season around and be successful. But there is an equal chance that the wheels will completely fall off. In 2015 Román Torres asked fans to “Hay Fe” that he’d come here, so we believed. Do we have faith in these 2024 Sounders? 

Fe level: 5. 


Stefan Frei – 3 | Community – 3.3

This may be the lowest grade I have ever given Frei, but there's no way he deserves a higher one after whatever he was doing out there last weekend. This was a frightful performance that was the lowlight of both Frei’s and Seattle’s season. 

One thing I liked: A long direct kick in the 46th minute nearly set up Jordan Morris, who got a brief moment to breathe in the fresh air of that sweet sweet forward position. 

One thing I didn’t like: The fundamental key to goalkeeping is to “keep” the “goal” (clear). Frei had two big chances to do that and flubbed both, and he should have saved both. Was the team around him great? No. Did they give SKC a few good looks? Sure. Did Frei also fumble a near-post shot with every other option around him covered? Yup. Did that cost them the game? Probably not. Am I still mad? Yes. 

Fe level: 5. Is that Andrew Thomas’ music I hear?


Reed Baker-Whiting – 4 | Community – 4.1 (off 73’ Red Card)

With Nouhou out, it was Reed’s turn to get a chance to replace him, starting a match for the first time in months (precursor to DOOM music starts) and he did a lot well. His underlying stats looked good, highlighted by 4/4 dribbling and a key pass.

One thing I liked: All the offensive smoothness is there, and RBW has silky control and excellent service from wide areas. His 47th minute run forced a yellow card, and a 58th minute dribble and move show how mature his offensive game is, with the end result a nifty cross. 

One thing I didn’t like: The red card was a byproduct of poor defense. Defenders need to defend, and Reed got into the card mess due to tired legs, not being in the right position, and trying to compensate with physicality. The first card was a lunging and unnecessary defensive play and the second was similar. Better positioning, stronger mental conditioning, and a team not expecting all the offensive creativity to come from a 19 year old guy on his first start in months will be helpful. 

Fe level: 7. Everybody loves a good wingback until they screw up on defense. 

Jackson Ragen – 6 | Community – 4.9

Ragen was fine in this one, although neither team did a lot of dynamic attacking. He had a team-high 67 touches, won four headers, completed 89 percent of his passes, and added six clearances as Seattle played a very defensive final 4/5ths of the match. 

One thing I liked: A nice 46th minute pass briefly reminded us of Ragen’s passing quality, a thing we used to take for granted. His ability to look forward pairs nicely with vertical offensive options. 

One thing I didn’t like: On the first KC goal, Ragen charged back to near the 6 (with the rest of his team holding a clear offside line at the 18) and then was forced to race back to the edge of the box to mark Alan Pulido, before being swallowed by the five-man group of passive Seattle defenders who allowed Johnny Russell to shoot and score. This lack of trust in Cristian Roldan to defend the far post with the ball on the far sideline was shocking and it unnecessarily pulled the defensive shape apart.

Fe level: 7. Looking stronger lately.

Yeimar – 7 | Community – 5.6

Yeimar was again awesome, having another strong performance. One of the top players against SKC, he lit up the stat sheet, highlighted by an insane eight tackles. A strong outing defensively snuffed out many of the SKC half chances, and he was consistently across to support a left side that struggled at times.

One thing I liked: Eight tackles, two interceptions, three clearances, clean passing, Yeimar did his job well and frankly needed others to do a lot more. His 34th minute and 63rd minute defensive moments were standout coverages that kept SKC from sniffing out bigger chances.

One thing I didn’t like: Seattle’s defense tends to drop into the box passively when confronted by the opponent's counter attacks, and Yeimar is as guilty as the others for running to space in the box and then getting lost while the other team creates chances just outside the penalty area.

Fe level: 9. Quietly doing it all right. 

Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 4.6

Alex had many touches (second most at 66) and was fine passing (77 percent) but was another mundane player who did little to push the match forward and was ineffective at creating for others. The days of this Sounders team having quality attacking fullbacks may be gone, although Roldan’s defense was solid. 

One thing I liked: In the 16th minute, Alex showed some good 1-v-1 defending, shutting down SKC and reminding us he can be an excellent positional defender.

One thing I didn’t like: One of the biggest upgrades to the offense would be to rediscover the attacking ability of Alex Roldan, who has created little this year. Against SKC, he started out with a bad cross in the 2nd minute and ended with a free kick into the stands in the 95th with zero notable plays in between.

Fe level: 3. It's not enough.

Defensive Midfield

Obed Vargas – 6 | Community – 5.3

Obed continued to raise expectations with more quality progressive play, although it's not creating tangible value yet. His 49 touches led to a team-high two key passes, but also plenty of loose touches and boring midfield play that didn’t lead to productive attacks. 

One thing I liked: In the 2nd minute, Obed turned in traffic and showed why he’s the future for Seattle. This casual control and smooth transition through the crowded midfield was repeated multiple times throughout the match; it just lacked the end result. 

One thing I didn’t like: Obed had turnovers that you don’t want happening in the center of the field against SKC, with the worst being a terrible central ball in the 27th. Seeing Obed force a shot in the 62nd minute was an indication of the pressure he’s now feeling to be “offensive.” 

Fe level: 8. The improvements are showing.

João Paulo – 6 | Community – 5.7 (off 81’ for Atencio)

JP got 81 minutes and 54 touches in a contentious match in the center against a physical team in hot weather. His clean 90 percent passing included the lone Seattle assist. He actively banged around in the middle with SKC, but without a ton of defensive success.

One thing I liked: In the 12th minute, JP took a short central free kick, shrugged off a few challenges and lifted his head to find a direct, over-the-top ball to Morris for Seattle’s goal. This perfectly weighted assist came from doing something this Seattle side rarely does: forgoing simple possession in favor of being direct, and executing the needed pass. 

One thing I didn’t like: Whether it was bad defense (6’, 7’, 66’) or turning the ball over while dribbling (47’, 69’), JP was at times a liability in the center, making too many mistakes on the defensive end and in possession. 

Fe level: 5. Good. Not good enough. 

Attacking Midfield

Jordan Morris – 7 (MOTM) | Community – 6.2 (MOTM) (off 85’ for Musovski)

Morris was good in this match when allowed to play. Once again, he was the only one to get on the scoreboard (three in four games now) and the only player looking to stretch the defense and create the space this Sounders team desperately needs. Jordan only had 28 total touches as Seattle capitulated most of the possession after his early score. 

One thing I liked: His 13th minute goal came from (of course) a central run, where Morris was the highest player on the field, beat a poor trap, and finished clean after getting a beautiful through ball. I’d be disinclined to constantly run for balls that never come out of the midfield, so it was great to see this very effective tactic work again. 

One thing I didn’t like: Morris probably should have passed to Raúl Ruidíaz in the 48th minute, as there was a breakout and Ruidíaz was in a good spot for a chance. Jordan was an observer for most of the match as Seattle failed to repeat any vertical connection with his runs. 

Fe level: 8 at forward, 7 at winger due to lack of service and connection. 

Albert Rusnák – 5 | Community – 4.9 (off 85’ for Lopez)

Rusnák apparently played in this match and was even credited with 38 touches. While completing 90 percent of his passes, he had a completely ineffective match where he led the team in shots but did little to be the facilitator the team desperately hoped he could be. He did have a key pass.

One thing I liked: A give-and-go chance in the 11th minute was part of the “good” Sounders of the first 12 minutes.

One thing I didn’t like: Indicative of his poor play, Rusnák had both Morris and Ruidíaz open as options in the 38th minute, and instead he missed both. Speaking of misses, Albert missed the frame on three of his shot attempts.

Fe level: 5. Personification of boring. 

Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 4.9

One player who was active and doing much of the dirty work was Cristian Roldan. Although starting wide, a lot of his play was central to combine, and he was an active defender. He also added a key pass, although he wasn’t effective at attacking the goal directly in his 63 touches.

One thing I liked: Defensively Cristian was massive, with six tackles as part of a defensive work rate that continually earned Seattle possession back and denied SKC access to more valuable parts of the field. 

One thing I didn’t like: When your winger is asked to do that much defending, the team isn’t doing much right. He missed a chance in the 19th minute to put Morris through that may have flipped the game.

Fe level: 7. Right back may still be his best spot. 


Raúl Ruidíaz – 4 | Community – 3.8 (off 74’ for Baker)

Raúl got some exercise jogging around the midfield stripe against SKC, hanging out and even touching the ball a few times. He didn’t have a lot of opportunity in 29 touches, and did earn two shots and was somehow credited with a key pass, but he was otherwise dreadful, especially in the second half where he played as a cone. 

One thing I liked: A nice 17th minute outlet header on set piece defense had a breakout moment queued up. He had a penalty shout in the 58th minute that was his best offensive moment (falling down). 

One thing I didn’t like: The dribble backwards in the 10th minute and forced shot in the 26th were predictable but at least something. The complete lack of any impact in the remaining 50 or so minutes Raúl “played” was miserable. He isn’t attacking the goal, isn’t connecting with teammates, and is barely taking up space. 

Fe level: 3. The odds of him turning it around are about as good as me making a shot from the 18 against Andrew Thomas. 


Cody Baker – 4 | Community – 4.2 (on 74’ for Ruidíaz) 

Cody joined the game after the red card, subbing in for the cone and having another haphazard match defined by some poor defense and interesting forward play. He had 14 touches, but a dismal 63 percent passing. 

One thing I liked: A fantastic run forward and near connection in the 93rd minute almost rescued an undeserved point for Seattle, and it reminded us of the quality Cody has going forward.

One thing I didn’t like: Defenders need to defend, and while Frei was awful in conceding the game-winner for SKC, it was Baker who was completely fleeced down the wing that allowed the shot to happen in the first place, and that wasn't the only time he struggled on the defensive side of the ball.

Fe level: 4. Who is he better than at this point?

Josh Atencio – 5 | Community – 4.8 (on 81’ for JP)

Atencio returned for a brief outing, coming into a terrible gamestate and being asked to do a bit of everything — which he did. Nine touches, 100 percent passing, a shot, and a tackle showed that he might deserve some of the playing time he apparently lost via card/injury. 

One thing I liked: It was Atencio and the other subs who led the offensive charge after the red card, youthfully pressing forward and creating some of the best chances of the night even down a man.

One thing I didn’t like: Josh just barely missed an excellent Baker pass into the area in the 93rd minute that could have rescued a road point.

Fe level: 6. He’s good, but does anyone else remember that?

Danny Musovski – 5 | Community – 4.3 (on 85’ for Morris)

Musovski came in late and, while working hard as a point man, was mostly a defensive presence, closing down passing lanes and trying to be an outlet. His five touches were meh. 

One thing I liked: Danny supported the vertical runs late in the 93rd minute as Seattle nearly scratched back a goal.

One thing I didn’t like: Musovski didn’t complete many passes, and at least once had a poor offensive decision that removed a possible Sounders breakout.

Fe level: 5. He has consistently been the same player all year, with wildly varying expectations.

Antino Lopez – 5 | Community – 4.2 (on 85’ for Rusnák)

Young Antino Lopez earned a call-up and his first Sounders minutes against SKC, acquitted himself well on both ends of the field, and got six touches. He didn’t look intimidated by the atmosphere and was comfortable on the field. 

One thing I liked: In the 94th minute, Lopez earned a prime free kick, a perfect chance for Alex Roldan to try to kill the sun with a shot from 19 yards out. 

One thing I didn’t like: A 90th kick out of bounds may have been jitters or maybe just the same illness every other Sounder had. 

Fe level: 1. Who?


Guido Gonzales Jr. – 6 | Community – 5.4

A boring game between two boring teams had a boring ref who didn’t have many un-boring calls to make. He called 29 evenly dispersed fouls, five similarly even yellow cards, and a justified red card in a job that wasn’t made particularly hard by either team’s play. 

One thing I liked: For an SKC game, there was relative calm between the teams, and it started with a stern discussion after a 13th second foul nearly pushed the match into an alternate timeline. Giving yellow cards in the 71st to Yeimar and Russell was the right call.

One thing I didn’t like: A number of small calls were questionable, like failing to give early cards for physical play (including a yellow-worthy foul in the first 30 seconds), a 27th minute Daniel Salloi shove going uncarded, and Morris being given “advantage” in the 46th minute 1-v-4. The 58th minute PK shout deserved another look from VAR.

Fe level: 6. Average ref is average.

Sporting Kansas City MOTM

Sounder killer Johnny Russell was at it again. His first notable action came in the 19th minute as he brought the Sports level after a scrambly play in the box saw the ball pop out to him. In the second half, he turned provider, repeatedly generating half chances for his side.

Next up Fe level: 9. Playing a good team. And we’re at home where we suck. But nothing makes sense right now, so naturally, it’ll be a multiple-goal win. Hay Fe.