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April 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, player ratings

rosales0402.jpgPhoto credit: screen grab from ROOT Sports broadcast

Got around to the tape of this one the other night. There was some good (offense with a season-best two goals scored) and some bad (defense with a season-worst two goals allowed). Based on the performances, a draw was probably a fair result.

I thought some of the attacking stuff was really strong. The set-up of both goals was superb and this time a little finishing followed suit. Steve Zakuani and Mauro Rosales were the best on the night in rave green in my opinion. We’ll see if that combination has to lead again on Saturday if Fredy Montero isn’t able to go.

In the back, including also Osvaldo Alonso, I felt it was the worst we’ve seen from the defense this season. I don’t think Ozzie or either of the center backs had good games at all. There was a handful of blame to go around on the goals.

But let’s get to it.

* * *

STARTERS

GK Kasey Keller — Definitely called upon more than he had been all season. Was up to the task in the up-and-down game. Has off his line well and handled crosses aggressively and strongly. Great saves on Wondolowski and Gjertsen at crucial times. Couldn’t be asked to do much on the Dawkins goal. Got his fingertips to the Stephenson goal — an inch more and it would’ve bounced out off the crossbar — but it isn’t a condemnable concession in my view. Some will wonder if he should be beat from there, but I think it’s a goal that deserves more credit than blame. 6.5

D James Riley — Put in a solid 90 against his former team. Definitely helped when Keller slipped on a botched clearance after an offside. Had to deal with a new RM in Friberg and they tried to work things out on the right wing. Defense was mostly good and he won a large share of headers in the back. Had a couple OK crosses too. 5.5

D Jeff Parke — Was a pretty quiet night and not so much in a good way. Distribution wasn’t as good as he’s been in the past. Committed a couple uncharacteristic fouls. Was beat to the ball by Wondo on that early chance in the 9th minute. Tangled feet with Johnson in the box to give a PK scare, but it rightly wasn’t good. His biggest error was inexplicably running away from Stephenson on the goal, instead of closing him down. Not sure it would’ve helped but it was an odd sight. Had a handful of good moments too, but not as many as we’re used to. 4.5

D Patrick Ianni — A rollercoaster night that was more dips than climbs. Probably won more tackles and headers than his CB partner but was beaten more too. His slip on Wondo’s early shot would’ve been on all the highlight reels were it not for the Keller save. Had a number of poor clearances and giveaways. Was the closest defender to Dawkins on the first ‘Quakes goal, but that was more a matter of Ozzie not running with him. Had some clumsy fouls, including one at the death that made things interesting at the end. 3.5

D Leo Gonzalez — Seattle’s best defender on the night for my money. Had a number of good tackles and headers won. Played physically. Gjertsen got the better of him a couple times, though. Still made some good runs forward, especially in the second half. Pushed the limits of physical play with Wondo a couple times, but did just enough to avoid the calls. Shockingly booked for boot troubles, but definitely left it all on the field. 6

M Erik Friberg (off 45) — His most ineffective game was forgivable. He had the flu. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t entirely uninvolved. Provided the second assist on the first goal. Nearly got behind the defense a couple times, but was whistled back on two occasions. Had troubles keeping track of Bobby Convey in defensive duties at times. Taken off at halftime. 5

M Osvaldo Alonso — It’s hard not to appreciate the work this guy puts in every week. His influence on the game for Seattle, especially when things are going good, is often overlooked. But he played a fatal error in each of the San Jose goals Saturday, which ruins a lot of the good work he put in. Dawkins was his mark on the first goal and he just let him make the run almost uncontested. Then he had the giveaway to Stephenson that led directly to the second goal. So as much as he disrupted the Quakes and got involved in the attack (particularly with Zakuani) those critical errors defined his night. 4.5

M Brad Evans — Opened his account with a good goal in the 17th minute. Some will argue it wasn’t a tough goal to score, but putting himself in that position is a unique skill. It’s a goal-scoring threat that none of the other Seattle CMs bring. Also could’ve easily had an assist on a flick header that put Rosales in on goal. Aggressive in the air, but had a bunch of giveaways — several of them uncontested. One of them led quickly to the Dawkins goal. Was less involved in the second half. The good outweighs the bad, but I would’ve liked to see the possession sharper. 5.5

M Steve Zakuani — When he got the ball, he was dangerous nearly every time. Burned Leitch something fierce early in the game, but his cross didn’t quite get to Evans. Had a shot of an Ozzie cross saved very well by Busch. Made runs that created danger and showed great skill and touch on the assist to O’Brian White’s goal. Tracked back well in the second half I thought to help out defensively. Also tried to force his involvement by tucking into the middle as the game worn on. Put in a full night’s work and was consistently dangerous. 7

F Mauro Rosales (off 83) — What a debut! I thought his energy and activity, especially in the first half, was superb. Was good in possession. Was good in set-piece service (could’ve added more than just one assist). The run he had to set up Evans goal was a great individual effort. Drew some fouls and mixed it up with the San Jose defenders, in a good way. Could’ve made it on the scoresheet but one shot was saved and another clear chance was off target. Effectiveness wore off in the second half, but it was his cross that helped set up Jaqua’s late chance. Montero-less offense still effective mostly because of him. 7

F O’Brian White (off 66) — A surprisingly good night after watching the film. I thought the hold-up play was mostly good. Should’ve buried an open header off an early Rosales corner kick, but he got his later in burying Zakuani’s cross. Also played a part in setting up the first goal by pressuring the San Jose defender to concede a throw-in deep in his zone. Then took the throw-in quickly in the buildup to Rosales run. Continues to show top-tier effort in chasing down defenders and over-hit long passes. Pace wins him one every now and then. The goal gives him his highest rating of the season. 6.5

SUBSTITUTES

M Alvaro Fernandez (off 45) — Came in at halftime and put in good individual work and effort. The midfield didn’t quite gel when he was in, which could be concerning. Got up and down the field. Had a couple good crosses and a dangerous flick header on a late corner kick. One of his better efforts defensively, but he also had a handful of giveaways. 5.5

F Nate Jaqua (on 66) — Nearly stole the game in the 81st minute after he put himself in a great position to wins the second ball off Rosales cross. Unfortunately for him the shot was deflected wide. On defensive duties, Opara beat him to a narrowly missed header. Also had an obvious booking. 5

F David Estrada (on 83) — Definitely was involved in his minutes with friends and family in the crowd. Took a quick throw-in to set up a Jaqua chance. Got up and down the field with his fresh legs. Maybe something to build on. INC

COACH SIGI SCHMID

The big move was finding the right player to replace Fredy Montero and he nailed it in Rosales. The like-for-like switch kept the offense in rhythm and gave the team its best chance to win, I felt. Some will wonder if Friberg should’ve started, knowing he was sick, but the Swede still put in a decently productive 45. The subs were attack minded on the road, which the fans should appreciate. Lack of possession in the second half is a concern, but things could be worse than getting a point on the road without one of your most important players. 6

EDVIN JURISEVIC

Didn’t influence the result, which is the biggest thing you ask. Was mostly fair and consistent. We’ll always have a couple calls and disagreements with officials — yes, I thought the yellow card to Leo was a bit much — but it was mostly handled well. Little argument on the other cards. Also waved up Wondo a couple times on calls other refs might’ve bought. I didn’t have many notes on his night, which is a good thing. 7

COMMENTS

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