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April 18, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Sounders FC 1, Kansas City Wizards 0 — postgame thoughts and player ratings

As you can imagine, I had a game recap almost finished before Michael Fucito‘s last-gasp goal. It was a story of missed chances and opportunities in another shutout at home and disappointing result.
Then an alert linking of passes from a ball girl to Brad Evans to Fucito set up the winner and got Sounders FC all three points.
Some overall game impressions, the offense looked out of sync and uncomfortable on the ball. The passing again was off. The work in the offensive third was shaky. On the other hand, I thought the defending was quite strong (besides conceding a few corner kicks).
The potent Wizards attack had nine shots, but only a couple of them were dangerous. And Kasey Keller was up to the task when he needed to be.
STARTERS
GK Kasey Keller — Made two saves to earn his second shutout of the year. Handled corners and crosses well. Had a couple game-saving, world-class stops — including the 93rd minute stop against Chance Myers. 7
D James Riley — His best game of the year I thought. Took the danger out of speedy K.C. star Ryan Smith. Should’ve had an assist on the Noonan miss in the 10th minute. Couple struggles with other passes. 7
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — An absolute beast I thought. Very strong. His most energetic and impressive game. In complete control and also had his best game of the season in my opinion. Made a saving sliding tackle on Smith. 7.5
D Tyrone Marshall — Had a disjointed night having to go on and off the field to receive treatment for head knocks. Shook it off for another strong night in the back. Maybe could have had another goal, but was pulled down in the box. 6.5
D Leo Gonzalez — I thought he had a stellar game also. Did very well against Kei Kamara early on and helped on Smith too, when the Englishman switched sides to avoid Riley. Used size and strength well. 7
M Osvaldo Alonso — Not sure I have ever seen him more disruptive as a holding midfielder. Single-handedly broke up all the early K.C. attacks. Made key stops. Work rate was very high. Passing needs to be better though. 7.5
M Peter Vagenas — Made his season debut in the starting lineup. Very active on both sides of the ball. Good work rate. Fought and scrapped. Also had a couple poor back passes that nearly led to K.C. goals. 5.5
M Steve Zakuani (off 85) — Didn’t get involved enough, especially in the second half. Had a shot, but none of his one-versus-one moments created much danger. Though some offensive flaws were made up by his best game defensively. Also pushed the ref? 4.5
M/F Pat Noonan (off 70) — Missed a chance in the 10th minute that would have changed the game. Nearly had an assist on a Montero miss. Continues to track back well and put in the work, but where’s the production? 4.5
F Freddie Ljungberg (off 90+) — Not as involved as he usually is. Maybe that’s due to service, as he made a lot of runs but didn’t get a pass for the effort. Had a free kick hit the side netting. Crosses were in the right places, but couldn’t find any heads. 5
F Fredy Montero — Few remember he had a clever pass to spring Riley on what should have been the go-ahead goal in the 10th minute. Also had a quick shot saved expertly by Nielsen. Earned a dangerous free kick. Could’ve done more but struggled to get service. 5
SUBSTITUTES
M Brad Evans (on 70) — Looked pretty sharp on the right flank, could that be a new place for him? Playing higher up brings some size into the attack. Great work rate was exemplified by the winning assist. 6.5
M Michael Fucito (on 85) — The hero of the night is certainly earning himself more time on the field. A bit of an unknown to the fans, but players and media members have seen this in training and reserve games for a while. INC
D Patrick Ianni (on 90+) — Made his season debut in a late sub. Schmid wanted to get him on before the kickoff, maybe that would’ve have settled the defense after the Fucito goal. INC
COACH SIGI SCHMID
The offense wasn’t getting it done, but both substitutes obviously had a vital role in the winning goal. Started Vagenas to settle things in the middle. Got the three points at home. The team got the result it needed, sometimes even the world’s best teams need a break or two. 6
REFEREE JAIR MARRUFO
This is a new feature, and I think I’m going to have to rate these guys on an MLS curve. Seattle certainly didn’t like his performance. Schmid called the officiating “interesting.” I thought K.C. got the raw end of things a couple times too. Didn’t have control. Not a good match. 4

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