Interviews following Saturday’s stalemate dealt mainly with the nine offsides call, many of which came early in the first half. However I felt the lacking offensive performance couldn’t be excused by some potentially bad calls by a linesman.
From what I saw, Vancouver was just as good on the night. The run of play, possession and scoring chances were about even — which shouldn’t be acceptable for a higher-level MLS team. Coach Sigi Schmid said the wingers (Nyassi and Zakuani) played too high, which sounds right. Having four guys up top made it had to combine and hold onto the ball. The offense thus resorted to long balls and through balls, many of which resulted in offside calls.
Yes, it is the preseason and there’s time to improve. But simply, I was expecting more from the offense. Conversely, the defense looked quite strong. Despite struggling on offense, Kasey Keller didn’t have much to do in the back. Even the reserves looked solid in their limited time. Certainly a positive on a dull night, but the defensive third wasn’t a big concern anyways, was it?
Lastly, in my postgame coverage I wanted to implement some player ratings. These are my evaluations of the individual players and it’s something you see in soccer coverage around the world.
Player ratings (0- bloody awful, 5- average, 10- god-like)
GK Kasey Keller. Didn’t have to do much to earn the shutout. Unbothered for the most part. 5.5
D James Riley. Got forward at times, solid in man-marking. Missed a big clearance once. 6
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Very strong in the back, as always. Great command, always in control. 7
D Tyrone Marshall. The only field player to play a full 90. Is he Seattle’s most underrated player? 6.5
D Leo Gonzalez. Not a standout performance, but solid. Gave the ball up easily at times. 5.5
M Sanna Nyassi. Could’ve had an assist. Looked dangerous at times. But disappeared too. 5
M Osvaldo Alonso. An understated solid game. Broke up the Vancouver attack several times. 6.5
M Nathan Sturgis. Had a couple moments, but otherwise an unspectacular performance. 4.5
M Steve Zakuani. Fairly active on the left flank, should’ve had something to show for it. 5.5
F Freddie Ljungberg. Most of the best moments on offense came via the Swede. Did his part. 6
F Fredy Montero. Tough night. He was roughed up by some physical centerbacks. Not the best game. 4.5
M/F Michael Fucito. Was very involved late but could’ve been more aggressive in the final third. 5
M David Estrada. Really wasn’t really involved at all. I was a bit disappointed. 4
Sigi Schmid. Hard to judge in preseason. The focus on short, quick passes were there but the shape by his own admission wasn’t how it should’ve been. 5
No one else played more than 20 minutes, so their grades are incomplete. For the most part an average/mediocre night. High marks to the defense.
Please offer your thoughts and ratings, perhaps you saw something I didn’t. If you disagree with something I won’t be offended. This is a good way to start some discussion, I feel.
Here are some raw video highlights from the Vancouver team website: