Finally got some time to go back and watch the tape on Sunday night’s game. It definitely feels like we’re watching Sounders FC v2.0 out there as the team fought for its second-straight win. This week in training Sigi Schmid said his players are finally giving 100% — not sure why they weren’t earlier in the year, but there’s a clear difference now.
That said, Colorado definitely controlled the game at times and a draw wouldn’t have been undeserved. After a second viewing, however, I think a lot of Seattle players put in very solid efforts.
This team is starting to heat up, but there’s still lots of work to do to get back in the playoff mix.
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GK Kasey Keller — Couldn’t stop Omar Cummings blast in the 9th minute, but very nearly did. Not long after, he had an unbelievable save on a looping Conor Casey header. Came off his line very well multiple times. Smothered a Ballouchy shot and also had a tremendous stop on Jamie Smith’s backheel. Always get credit for defensive organization. Only called upon to make three saves though, which keeps the rating from being higher. 7
D James Riley — Not much of the Rapids attack came down his side, and he kept Jamie Smith very quiet. Also took advantage of the space given to him and pressed ahead well. Had some saving tackles and some good moments in the attack. Very solid night. 6
D Jeff Parke — Set the tone early with Casey by being very physical. Extremely strong in the air and also had a handful of standout challenges, stops and tackles. Would’ve had the third assist on Zakuani’s second goal. Getting better with every game it seems. 7.5
D Patrick Ianni — Had a very good start. Was connecting on his long balls and played safe, but strong, defense. In the second half, had a handful of poor clearances, missed tackles and giveaways. Was fortunate that one of them didn’t lead to a Colorado goal. High marks for a brave challenge on Casey at the death. 5.5
D Zach Scott — Definitely put in a tough spot in the rare start, but his difficulties with Cummings aside, he had a number of bad touches and needless giveaways early on. Got beat on the goal and was booked not soon after. Didn’t make much of his chances going forward. To his credit, he played physically and strong in the air, and definitely settled in as the game went on. Didn’t hurt the team by forcing a substitution on the backline or by getting another booking. The shaky start looms large though. 4
M Osvaldo Alonso — In his first start back from injury, the team needed his full 90 of defensive tenacity to seal the win. Had several strong challenges and also combined well with Sturgis in the middle and his other teammates. Great pass to Zakuani in the second minute nearly set up a goal. Always has a bad giveaway or two in the defensive third and needs to clean that up. 6.5
M Nathan Sturgis (off 74) — Steady in the middle, and combined and distributed well to his teammates. Has a knack for drawing fouls in the middle of the field to protect the ball and maintain possession. Had a moment or two of strong defense too. Corner-kick service was decent. Wasn’t as involved as the last couple games, but an above-average performance to be sure. 5.5
M Sanna Nyassi (off 81) — On second look, he was much more active than I remember watching live. Made a number of dangerous runs, and couldn’t get the service on a lot of them in the offensive third. Earned a nice assist by finding Zakuani for the tap-in. Very active and physical. Nearly had a steal and goal in the 47th minute. Not bad filling in for the late scratch of Pat Noonan. 6
M Steve Zakuani — Extremely active, maybe the most involved he’s been in a match for 90 minutes. Got the two goals — it arguably could’ve been just one with a Pickens own goal — but created his own luck with the effort. Also nearly had an assist to Montero in the second minute. Showed his incredible pace on several occasions, including an impressive track-back on Marvell Wynne to stop a dangerous moment. Was all over the place and deserving of MLS Player of the Week. 8
F Fredy Montero — After establishing himself as a lethal goalscorer, now he’s developing a playmaking reputation. His picture-perfect lob to Nyassi set up the Sounders’ second goal. That’s seven-straight games with a goal or assist and direct involvement in 11 of the last 14 goals. Was physical and held the ball up well. Nearly caught Pickens off his line for a highlight-reel strike. 6.5
F Blaise Nkufo (off 70) — Was positive in his MLS debut, but you can see how he can dominate a game when he gets settled in. Had some bad touches and passes, and failed to combine at times. On the other hand, was very physical, showed well to the ball and could’ve had that second goal if Zakuani doesn’t run in front of him. Didn’t let any frustrations spill over onto the field. He’ll get better with every week. 5.5
F Nate Jaqua (on 70) — Came on as a like-for-like change for Nkufo and definitely added a spark. Showed well as a targetman but also tracked back to win some crucial defensive headers. 5.5
M Michael Seamon (on 74) — Had a great touch-pass to Nyassi down the right side soon after his inclusion. Was very active and disruptive in the middle. 5
M Roger Levesque (on 81) — Another energy guy, ran about as much as you can in 15 minutes to preserve the win. Got up and down the field well and did what his team needed. 5
COACH SIGI SCHMID
The Zach Scott pick was a curious one, but all parties made necessary adjustments to make it work. Got the subs in at the right time and the game changed around the 70′ mark from the Colorado domination to start the second half. His team got the much-needed three points, so there can’t be any complaints. 7
REFEREE YADER REYES
Definitely let things go, which isn’t always a bad thing. I never thought it got out of control, but I was shaking my head a couple times at some calls. Played advantage well at times and issued bookings fairly. I don’t think either side benefited one way or the other and that’s the most important thing. 6