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Realio’s Ratings: Positive outlook

Albert Rusnák’s goal and assist guide Seattle to comprehensive win over New England.

Last Updated
13 min read
Steven Bisig / USA TODAY Sports

Seattle again entertained a lower table team and again won, suddenly turning Lumen Field into a fortress as they secured their fourth home win in a row. Unlike the previous matches, the Sounders led from start to finish in this one, dispatching the New England Revolution with a tidy 2-0 scoreline. While there were a few nervy moments late in the first half, the defense bent-but-didn’t-break and the offense did enough in a dominant second half to finish the match. The Sounders looked defensively secure and offensively dangerous, a combination that has seen them climb up the table and back into relevance in the Western Conference. 


Stefan Frei – 8 | Community – 7.8

Frei had an excellent match, securing another shutout that required some moments of brilliance. He had four saves, with the majority of his work coming in a vital first half effort. As Seattle gained momentum later in the match Stefan had less to do, but still remained invested in the possession game and kept organization tight in the back to see out the result.

What I liked: I appreciated how fast Frei moved the ball, quickly getting it around the back and into circulation. He made an incredible double save in the 35th minute, sprawling to deny the Revolution twice within seconds, preventing what would have been a momentum-changing equalizer. Keeping Seattle ahead gave them time to take over the match.

What I didn’t like: An airmailed clearance out of bounds gave the Revs possession right before they nearly scored late in the first half. Another nervy moment was Frei’s miss on a corner moments later, with him whiffing badly. 

Outlook: Frei continues to be solid. His leadership and organization in the back has kept the team close in nearly every game he’s played this season. 


Nouhou – 7 | Community – 7.0

Nouhou returned to his customary left back spot and the defense down his wing was much improved. His 85 percent passing, a team-high four interceptions, and generally solid defensive work meant the left side held firm against New England. In a more effective second half, Nouhou combined well with Reed Baker-Whiting to display a complete effort. 

What I liked: Nouhou picked the right moments to go forward, winning an early free kick with strong dribbling in the 7th minute. This offensive push was combined with defensive work, a huge improvement, including incredible hustle in the 31st minute to get back and prevent a New England chance. 

What I didn’t like: Nouhou’s combination with Léo Chú leaves much to be desired, as at times they work against each other in possession. A 53rd minute hopeful shot from long distance was a frustrating moment for the fans, as was his miss of a golden opportunity in the 87th from excellent positioning on a set piece. 

Outlook: Until someone else plays better defense at the left back position, it’s hard to justify anyone but Nouhou playing there. 

Jackson Ragen – 6 | Community – 6.2

Ragen was a calm defensive force whose consistent passing (95 percent completion) led possession from the back and ensured that the ball did the running for long periods of this hot match. His six clearances highlighted a no-nonsense defensive effort that didn’t need to be fancy to stymie an ineffective opponent. 

What I liked: This was a more measured, mature match for Ragen. For example, instead of trying to do too much under pressure, in the 46th minute he calmly kicked the ball out of bounds and let the defense reset, instead of taking on a player as the last man back. 

What I didn’t like: Even up a goal or two, sometimes Jackson is overly confident in his own skills. Usually this pays off, and creates small edges, but taking a massive dribbling risk in the 84th was completely unnecessary, and it’s that decision-making that has fans scratching their heads sometimes.

Outlook: Seattle needs Jackson to be a distributive force, and he’s playing almost like a sweeper at times. 

Yeimar – 7 | Community – 6.9

Yeimar seems to have been elite for years, and he continues to produce on the defensive end for Seattle. His size and speed combine to frustrate opponents, and he racks up defensive actions with his anticipation and positioning. Against New England, he was a monster at clearing the ball, making up nine clearances as he covered across the back, supporting central and left, denying the Revolution multiple times. 

What I liked: As he adjusts to having Cristian Roldan next to him, Yeimar quickly understands how to work off Roldan’s penchant for pushing inside. This requires more range, including coming all the way to the left as the need arises. A near-goal on a 61st minute corner was well taken. 

What I didn’t like: A number of costly turnovers, specifically in the 2nd and 40th minutes, gave New England moments they didn’t earn. With Cristian tending to be more involved in possession play, these errors often come with Roldan unable to support. 

Outlook: The Sounders defense remains excellent and Yeimar remains an essential piece of it. 

Cristian Roldan – 6 | Community – 6.8

Cristian got another start in the right back position, and while he linked up well, he was not as effective as the previous match. His defensive control and support was only okay, at times missing from key areas. He did have a stellar 96 percent passing rate, and added a key pass in a much more influential second half that moved him forward and central. 

What I liked: Cristian did a lot of small but important things in the back. His control and ability to work possession from deep areas was excellent, calming down a few nervy moments. On one of the rare occasions he got forward, Roldan found a tremendous cross to the back post in the 64th minute. 

What I didn’t like: Unlike the last time, Cristian and Paul Rothrock’s partnership on the right didn’t work well. With a lack of cohesion on the wing, and an inability to get deep into the corner, Seattle was besieged down this flank consistently in the first half. A number of unforced distribution errors and a confusing lack of defensive positioning may have been fatigue-based. 

Outlook: Cristian in the right back position remains an interesting look, and it allows for tactical flexibility in combination play. 

Defensive Midfield 

Obed Vargas – 6 | Community – 6.9 (off 86’ for Atencio)

Obed had a somewhat quiet night, doing constructive things but not standing out until late. His maturity to produce measurable results while being relatively unnoticed is excellent. His body of work included three interceptions, two shots, an assist, two key passes, and a 91 percent completion rate. 

What I liked: This kind of outing flies under the radar a bit, but shows how much Obed has improved. His consistent impact through controlling the play was terrific, and when he had a chance for a big moment, his 82nd minute header was correctly played to the optimal player in Albert Rusnák. 

What I didn’t like: In the first half, Obed was inexplicably playing as a 6 behind João Paulo, and consistently looked lost on defense. The biggest New England chance came directly through Vargas, who had his worst defense on that play, requiring Frei heroics. It’s hard to watch Vargas defensively chasing the play. 

Outlook: Obed has found an effective role and consistent impact when pushed forward next to Rusnák as a co-8. 

João Paulo – 7 | Community – 7.0 (off 79’ for Alex Roldan)

JP started out the first half in an advanced role and Seattle gained a lead but struggled to improve upon it. A second half adjustment allowed more control of the match through a central João, who did nearly everything right before subbing off. His two shots and 89 percent passing showed clean second half connections with nearly everyone. 

What I liked: A 55th minute shot through traffic almost scored, and it illustrated how much impact JP can have. His output on both ends of the field improves the further back he plays. 

What I didn’t like: In the first half, JP was more forward with Obed behind him, and that didn’t work at all, requiring a halftime change to allow João more central control. He was part of the terrible 35th minute defense that allowed NER to walk down the middle of the field and nearly score (twice). 

Outlook: JP, Albert, and Obed all seem to be more effective when it’s JP behind the other two. 

Attacking Midfield

Léo Chú – 4 | Community – 5.1 (off 46’ for Baker-Whiting )

Chú started on the left wing and was unable to impact the match as much as hoped. In his 45 minutes of play he only managed 15 touches, and his 78 percent passing was tame and uninspired. Although he worked hard in spurts, the consistent energy needed was not there, which likely contributed to his removal at halftime. 

What I liked: Chú’s 13th minute pressure on Xavier Arreaga nearly forced the big mistake we know he is capable of, and a perfect header in the lead up to the Jordan Morris goal was an essential touch. 

What I didn’t like: Chú wasn’t active, wasn’t effective, and was subbed at half for not giving the necessary effort. He has to be better, especially at connecting with those around him. 

Outlook: Seeing a barely jogging Chú easily keep up with Morris at a full speed sprint to score his goal reminds you that Léo’s talent and physical ability are there, but he’s running out of moments to display his potential. 

Albert Rusnák – 8 (MOTM) | Community – 7.9 (MOTM) (off 86’ for de la Vega)

Again Rusnák was the on-field leader, creating, scoring and controlling the play from the central midfield. His stat line was massive: two shots, a goal, a fantastic five key passes, and 93 percent passing on 57 efficient touches. Albert did some of everything, turbo-charging the Sounders attack. 

What I liked: In the 15th minute, after Morris had some excellent holdup play, Rusnák didn’t overthink the moment. His return pass to a curling Morris was perfect, leading him to the goal and an early Sounders lead. In the 81st minute, after getting the ball in an attacking position, he quickly and definitively drove at goal, looked off the keeper, and laced a perfect shot to double the lead. 

What I didn’t like: In the 59th minute, Albert had a chance to shoot and instead tried to flick the ball in the box, a moment where he needed to play quick and definitive rather than fancy. 

Outlook: Rusnák has produced the kind of stats that DPs should be expected to produce, and his creation numbers are part of his and the team’s resurgence.

Paul Rothrock – 5 | Community – 6.1 (off 60’ for Ruidíaz)

Paul’s hustle and intensity earned him a start on the right side, as Seattle tested whether his recent form would translate to long term success. This outing was mixed, as Rothrock struggled to find his place in a first half wherein the Sounders found a goal, but little consistent success. His sixty minute outing featured a shot and 77 percent passing, going 0/2 on his limited cross attempts. 

What I liked: A nice shot in the 21st minute showed some willingness to be direct. Most impressive was in the 33rd minute: the Sounders moved the ball through the central midfield and Paul moved perfectly through the middle in support and ended on the left wing. Smart players do this naturally by understanding the tactical needs of the match, althought it’s rarely noticed. 

What I didn’t like: Without consistent team attacking movement creating opportunities for Paul, he was ineffective against the Revs. Rothrock relies on his effort and understanding to link up with others, but was a black hole when it came to creating for anyone else, with poor touches and dismal crosses evidence of a player without impact. 

Outlook: One underwhelming start puts a bit of a damper on the hype train, but the smart, aggressive movement Paul brings is liable to keep him involved in matches at least as a mood-changing substitute.


Jordan Morris – 8 | Community – 7.7

Jordan has been on a tear lately and continued his excellent play, leading from the front with his back to goal and via smart, vertical runs. His all-important first shot also gave Seattle the lead early, and the constant threat of his pace created necessary space for teammates to operate. Jordan added a key pass during his 36 touch appearance. 

What I liked: Morris took a 15th minute ball as part of his underrated (yet fantastic) holdup play and worked a give-spin-and-go with Rusnák before charging into the attack, shrugging off a challenge, and finishing top shelf past the onrushing keeper. This showed it all: control and support play, smart off-ball movement, power/strength/speed utilization, calmness under pressure, finishing skill, etc. What a brilliant piece of soccer. 

What I didn’t like: A 23rd minute holdup play was one of his few mistakes, losing out on possession and putting New England in a dangerous spot. Although he scored, Jordan had only one shot and one key pass. 

Outlook: Jordan has finally gotten a chance to consistently play up front, and he’s rewarding the team with big plays every match. 


Reed Baker-Whiting – 6 | Community – 5.9 (on 46’ for Chú) 

Reed entered at halftime for the sputtering Chú and was part of a much improved left sided attack after the break. He had two shots, a key pass, 86 percent passing and a direct impetus that helped push more balanced attacks up his wing. He stayed wide often, which opened up the vertical corner space but also limited Nouhou overlaps, which worked out well for all involved.

What I liked: Baker-Whiting was an improvement on the wing, and his positioning invited stronger connection down the left with Nouhou. This meant he had moments to cross in the 53rd and 80th, found a back-post header in the 64th, and put a solid shot on goal in the 83rd. 

What I didn’t like: A breakaway with numbers on offense in the 49th led to a rough RBW pass, which was a disappointing end to a strong opportunity. He had his face broken in the 64th, attempting to get on the end of a far post ball. 

Outlook: All of Reed’s moments were offensive, and if he earned more playing time from this outing, it is likely at left wing, not fullback. 

Raúl Ruidíaz – 5 | Community – 5.8 (on 60’ for Rothrock)

Raúl came in early in the second half, removing Rothrock and pushing Morris wide. He played similarly to how he has all season, lingering deep and coming back into the midfield, but there were a number of times where he got into the box and was constructive. Ruidíaz was credited with two shots, and completed all his passes. 

What I liked: A first time attempt in the 71st minute was taken quickly and put pressure on New England.

What I didn’t like: Again, Raúl forced long shots in the 62nd and 64th minutes, and his holdup play in the 74th was a mess, resulting in a turnover. 

Outlook: Ruidíaz as a super sub has some potential, especially as Seattle pushes numbers forward in second halves. 

Alex Roldan – 5 | Community – 5.4 (on 79’ for JP)

Alex came in late to add some fresher legs at the right. Returning to his right back position and sliding his brother inside, the younger Roldan looked good. He was clean on the ball and confident in connecting with teammates. 

What I liked: His 100 percent passing, combined with an 83rd minute calm dribble out of pressure made this one of his better appearances all season. 

What I didn’t like: Roldan wasn’t put under pressure often and didn’t venture forward enough to judge whether he was actually improved or just hidden. 

Outlook: Eleven minutes shouldn’t be enough to re-earn him the starting role over his brother, but it did offer some tactical flexibility should it portend a return to quality play. 

Pedro De La Vega – 5 | Community – 5.8 (on 86’ for Rusnák)

Pedro came in late and was his usual incredibly active self, finding seven touches all over the field, connecting and attempting to connect with multiple teammates and pushing forward. 

What I liked: The small moments of exquisite class are mesmerizing. In the 89th minute he casually controlled a long clearance with his thigh, calmly trapping the ball directly into his stride and fluidly transitioning forward. It was such a beautiful moment of soccer skill that he was immediately yellow-card fouled by a defender. 

What I didn’t like: Entering at the 86th minute seemed late, and it barely gave Pedro any time to have an impact, positive or not. 

Outlook: Any 2024 outlook that includes PDLV playing consistently is a positive one. 

Joshua Atencio – 5 | Community – 5.5 (on 86’ for Vargas)

A somewhat forgotten player, Atencio arrived late and wasn’t a factor. He had four touches. 

What I liked: In the 89th minute, Josh was released forward and flying upfield with the ball at his feet, and only the referee’s refusal to play advantage prevented him from creating a big chance. 

What I didn’t like: Only getting a few minutes and pushing Cristian inside instead of bringing on Josh earlier seems an indictment of his role. 

Outlook: Atencio has been a forgotten part of this team. 


Fotis Bazakos – 7 | Community – 5.7

Bazakos did a strong job refereeing this match, and perhaps due to the heat there was very little to call. He found the right number of whistles to keep the play running, which was only 12 total calls. That is a low number for a match, but the three yellows handed out kept control well, and as the teams were not being too physical there wasn’t a need to over-adjudicate things. 

What I liked: Most of this match was free-flowing and cleanly refereed. I appreciated that when there was a head injury in the 64th, play was immediately stopped for safety. Five minutes later, when there was a blatant dive in the box, it was quickly ignored. 

What I didn’t like: For as many good calls as he made, Bazakos missed two blatant advantage plays, first in the 23rd minute and the second in the 89th. Both of these moments completely stopped progress, and, contrary to the spirit of the advantage rule, denied Seattle play. A potential red card by Arreaga was not reviewed.

Outlook: This was one of the best refereeing jobs in 2024 and another in a line of performances that is raising the ref average. 

New England Revolution MOTM

It feels like we’ve featured a ‘keeper in this space just about every other week lately. And while Ivacic did well to keep this one close, this is probably more of an indictment of his teammates, than praise for his play. His save of Yeimar’s header off a corner in the 61st was exceptional. Other than that, he made the saves expected of him, and the shots that beat him were good ones. (And yes, Morris’ was at the near post, but come on, few are stopping that blast.)

Upcoming: An Open Cup quarterfinal against Sacramento Republic is a chance to keep this rolling.