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May 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Sounders FC 1, New York Red Bulls 0 — postgame thoughts and player ratings

I wanted to go back and watch the film of Seattle’s massive road win against New York before offering some player ratings. My impressions after the replay, Sounders FC dominated the play and clearly deserved the three points.

While the offensive efficiency wasn’t great (there weren’t a lot of clear-cut chances), I thought the defensive effort was superb. The trio of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez and Peter Vagenas had remarkable games — a season best, I felt, for each.

Fredy Montero comes off the bench and scores a phenomenal goal. Sanna Nyassi showed well in his start. And Brad Evans ran until he physically couldn’t anymore.

Let’s get to the ratings:


GK Kasey Keller — Only had to make one save in the shutout, but it was a good stop on a low shot. Particularly preventing a rebound for the lurking Angel. Certainly played a part in defensive organization. Was caught out in no man’s land on an early New York corner however, but went unpunished. 5.5

D James Riley — Got ahead well I thought on the right, but many times didn’t get the best service. Solid in defense and possession, but had a number of giveaways. Workmanlike night from the right back. 5

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Juan Pablo Angel is going to have nightmares of this man. Hurtado was in his pocket all night. Very physical with the forward all over the field. Won essentially every defensively header. Tracked Angel out to midfield sometimes to push him around. The most aggressive performance I’ve seen from him this season — and something I’ve been waiting for. Definitely played up to his high standard. 8

D Tyrone Marshall — Had some great passes from the back, perhaps his best night of service. Did have a few more errors than he’s usually had this season. Still very strong in the end to kill it off. Stopped some very dangerous moments, and also got in Lindpere’s face for a blatant dive. 6

D Leo Gonzalez — Another performance that wowed me the second time around. Incredible defensive work all night on the left. Even got involved in offense with quality passing and even a rare shot attempt. It’s not easy for a fullback to stand out, but I thought he was incredibly strong. Made crucial stops late in the game. Owned Dane Richards. 8

M Patrick Ianni — A surprise start in the middle of the field, but brought some strength to Seattle’s defensive work. Knocked guys around and was physical in the holding midfield. Played surprisingly well in possession and set up a number of chances, including Nyassi early in the second half. Drew the foul that set up the Montero goal. Held the shape well in his position. 6

M Peter Vagenas (off 65) — Rarely put a foot wrong, until he did something to tweak what looked to be his right quad. He was the maestro. The point guard. Nearly all of Seattle’s dangerous moments on the day were step up by Pete (who only had a handful of passes backward). Incredible in possession work and his best night passing forward. Also involved defensively in a standout performance. 8

M Freddie Ljungberg — Wasn’t nearly as involved as he had been in games the last few weeks. His service on set pieces was still pretty good, but didn’t provide much danger in the offensive third. At least not as much as he normally does in the run of play. Things opened up for him late in the game, but that’s to be expected with N.Y. pushing forward. Showed well defensively at times. 5.5

F Sanna Nyassi (off 77) — Got the start for Montero and was probably Seattle’s most dangerous player for the first half and some. Took guys on well. Set up his own shots and others as well. Had a blistering shot go wide and later a shot on an open net that might or might not have gone in if not for a sliding save near the goal line. Very strong, I felt. 6.5

F Steve Zakuani — Took him a while to get involved in the attack again. Didn’t create as much danger as Sounders FC fans have come to expect when he gets the ball. Caught offside a couple times. Stood out in his defensive work and played little bit farther back on the field to help the backline. Performance lacked in the offensive third. 5.5

F Brad Evans (off 89) — Ran whenever the ball was rolling his direction. Challenged well in the air whenever a ball was in the air around him. Pestered the N.Y. backline into several mistakes. You really miss what he does when watching a game live, but the effort plays he makes sets up his teammates to succeed and often clears space in the attacking third. Still struggling to get any of his shots on goal, which is an issue. But set up Montero extremely well for the goal. 6.5


M Nathan Sturgis (on 65) — Came in for Vagenas, big shoes to fill on the night. Definitely made an impact though. Made some strong tackles in defense. Shot a free kick wide then crossed in a great ball that nearly found Montero in front of the goal. Did have a bad giveaway too. 5.5

F Fredy Montero (on 77) — Looked very focused when he came on. And he definitely put the work in, though surely that was expected. Helped the possession game early and nearly connected with a Sturgis cross. Troubled Ream in the back into a giveaway. Then produced a magical winner with incredible touch, control and calm. Could be a moment that turns his season around and his team’s season around. 7.5

F Pat Noonan (on 89) — Came on for the hobbled Evans to kill off the game. Not sure if he even had a touch. INC


The big move was benching Montero, but I thought Nyassi showed well in replacement. Also Ianni looked solid in the middle, so those moves worked out. Got the production from Montero off the bench. Changed the shape a little and I agree with our game story that said the formation was more 4-5-1 than 4-3-3. His side was clearly better on the night and got three points on the road. 8


He didn’t influence the final score, but I thought his effort was below average. Missed an obvious second booking on Jeremy Hall, no excuse for that one. Lost control in the second half, accentuated by Lindpere’s dive and the scuffle that ensued. Wasn’t the worst performance I’ve seen, but didn’t represent MLS officiating well. 4


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