This might have been the most polarizing game of the season. Lots of fans think the Sounders FC performance was awful. After a 2-0 loss to Toronto, it’s a scoreline that is hard to argue. But I’m of another opinion, if it’s an unpopular one, so be it.
I think with the make-shift lineup Sunday (e.g. Nathan Sturgis on the left wing, never thought I’d see that), Seattle showed very well for itself. Maybe it’s just me, but I was impressed with a 11-5 shot advantage. This on a rainy day on the road, 48 hours after another road game 100s of miles away.
Was it a dominating performance? No. Were you expecting dominance? Fact is, Sounders FC created more than twice the chances of the home team. While the finishing was sub-par, the run of play was controlled by the guys in green until the unfortunate mistakes.
GK Kasey Keller — Being able to return to the lineup three days after taking a knee to the head was huge. Had one of the better saves of the season on O’Brian White early on. Couldn’t be asked to save either goal, though he got a hand on DeRo’s. 6
D James Riley (off 79) — Added some stability to the backline, which had a couple new faces. Set up Evans on the right early on. Also combined with Ljungberg in the attack later as well to earn a corner. Solid in the back. Subbed off for tactical reason. 5.5
D Patrick Ianni — Saw his first significant action of the season and I thought he was a revelation. Rarely put a foot wrong. Made some saving tackles and headers. Even won some headers on the offensive end. Would’ve had one of the best showings of the year if those were on target. 7.5
D Tyrone Marshall — Personally, I’ve felt he’s had a solid, solid season. Sunday, however, was the first time he’s had to take a big part of the blame. His giveaway all but sealed the loss. Sure he got the ball in a tough spot, but it wasn’t handled well. 4.5
D Tyson Wahl — Here is another player that appears to take a lot of grief that I don’t feel he deserves. Still getting used to the left-back position, and I thought he showed well on the left flank to support the offense. Played simple and limited his mistakes. 5.5
M Sanna Nyassi (off 60) — Was a spark on the right flank for sure. Earned some fouls and definitely got involved. Unfairly booked. Solid night for a guy that wasn’t even on the original travel roster. A performance to build off of. 5.5
M Osvaldo Alonso — This is a harder game to grade. I thought he showed very well for 89 of the 90 minutes he played. Tenacious defensively. Worked hard to get involved in the attack. But had an unbelievably poor giveaway that changed the game. The team sunk after that first goal. 4.5
M Peter Vagenas — It’s hard to judge a performance like Pete’s by watching on TV. There were times I saw him run out of the picture, intentionally, to keep a good shape in the formation so the team could keep the ball. It’s the behind-the-scenes type work that he does that is under-appreciated. 5
M Nathan Sturgis (off 71) — Not even sure I’ve seen him on the flank in a scrimmage, so I was very surprised to see him on the left. Drew some fouls well. Was available on the far post for a lot of the services, some of which didn’t make it too him. Put in the work and will have the bruises tomorrow. 5
F Freddie Ljungberg — I think this might have been his best performance of the season. Could’ve had 2-3 assists if the finishing had been better by Sturgis and Evans. Also got roughed up, including a savage tackle early on. Tracked back well. A professional performance. 7.5
F Brad Evans — Perhaps the surprise of the day was seeing Evans up front. Hard to expect him to be a true finisher, so I’m not going to judge him on that standard. Should have put one in, yes. But unless this is where he’s playing the rest of the year, I’m not going to be super critical. He can’t have trained up front much, if at all. 5
M Steve Zakuani (on 60) — Brought some life into the attack. Everything you’d hope for in a substitute. Set up Evans with a world-class service and also contributed on defense. 6
F Fredy Montero (on 71) — Had a great close-range shot that I’m still not sure how Frei saved. Fans will hope the rest did him well. 5
M/F David Estrada (on 79) — Worked hard in his 15 minutes of time. Putting in the work well when we sees the field. INC
COACH SIGI SCHMID
Provided one of the more unique lineups you’ll ever see in a league game. I thought it worked out well for the most part. The run of play was definitely in Seattle’s favor for the majority of the game. The passing was about as good as it’s been in a month. But zero points is zero points. 5
REFEREE JORGE GONZALEZ
Let things get wild out there. Needed to set the tone early, but didn’t. Instead Toronto kept going into tackles hard and then they were rarely punished. Wasn’t to blame for the result though, which is more than you can say some nights. 4