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May 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Sounders FC vs. Toronto FC, player ratings

toronto wall.jpgPhoto credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

Domination. And a result long overdue in my mind. Despite missing a few key players, Sounders FC trounced Toronto FC 3-0 in what I viewed as the most complete performance of the season. I asked coached Sigi Schmid if he thought it was the best his team has played, but he deferred to the Houston game. Maybe it’s 1A and 1B in that sense.

There were a lot of standout performances Saturday night and the ratings start at above average and peak at exceptional. Brad Evans was the star of the night, but he had plenty of support. I thought Alvaro Fernandez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Tyson Wahl were all very good as well.

Not a bad April (3-0-2), eh? A six-game unbeaten streak will definitely be tested this week, but let’s get to it.

* * *

STARTERS

GK Kasey Keller — Not a lot of notes for him. Had a couple routine plays before halftime but that’s about it. Action didn’t really come his way until the 80′ mark, but he was up to a save on Yourassowsky. He was later judged to have got a piece of Martina’s header, but I couldn’t tell for sure. Handled crosses well and gets points for organization in the back to earn his second-straight clean sheet. 6

D James Riley — The night got off to a good start, earning a secondary assist on the team’s first goal. Also was the primary provider a couple times and nearly connected with Evans on a couple crosses. I thought he was much better with his possession and nearly had a goal-scoring chance with a volleyed shot off the crossbar in the second half. Defensively it looked like a few of Toronto’s better moments came on his side: an early run by Stevanovic, a shot by Yourassowsky, a Martina header. But the good definitely outweighed the bad. 6.5

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Alan Gordon surely had nightmares of the big Colombian on Saturday night. El Presidente dominated the TFC forward in nearly every duel. Put one foot wrong from what I could tell, when Peterson turned him, but it didn’t lead to any danger. Won an incredible amount of headers and tackles, and even pushed ahead a couple times. Earned a secondary assist on Evans’ first goal and nearly got a primary assist with a cross from the left flank to Jaqua. Also nearly connected on a corner kick, but Frei was strong. A phenomenal showing. 8

D Patrick Ianni — Didn’t have as much to do as his center back counterpart, but I’m not sure he made a mistake all night. My notes on his night were very short, but very positive. Very strong in the air and had a couple big clearances, especially one before the half. He and Riley did get caught looking on Martina’s late header, but the result was already decided at that point. 7

D Tyson Wahl — I was asked by a couple people at halftime why he’s starting. I answered that at that point I thought he was one of the better performers on the night. Was very active in getting up the left flank and was unlucky not to get an assist. Abused Martina (a former Ajax player) a couple times with moments of great skill. His best moment came in defense when he deflected a shot by Martina on a dangerous breakaway chance. Combined with Friberg and Fernandez well a couple times. Had a quieter second half, but still shut down Martina and continued to contribute both offensively and defensively. I think he deserves to stay with the first team. 7.5

M Osvaldo Alonso — His role is to disrupt the opponent’s possession, so he didn’t have as much to do since Toronto couldn’t hold onto the ball. Still won a high percentage of second balls and 50-50 challenges. Was better in possession than he had been in recent weeks as well. Was booked in the second half for persistent infringement, but that’s only his second yellow of the season. Also, it was his defensive pressure that led to the turnover that led to Evans’ first goal. 6.5

M Brad Evans — A night to remember, and not just for the two goals he scored (both of which were well-taken). Was quite active even before the 9th minute assist, but that cross to Fernandez was a thing of beauty. Nearly set up a chance for Jaqua on a dangerous throw-in. Played mostly on the right, but tucked in a bit and still displayed his defensive skills and vision. Probably could’ve had more than two goals with the chances he had, but his work rate earned him those opportunities. Powered a nice shot past Frei to essentially seal the win. Put the cherry on top by converting the PK. Did have a couple bad giveaways, which prevent him from earning a higher rating. One sloppy play led to a breakaway chance for Martina which nearly leveled the game. Clearly the man of the match. 8.5

M Erik Friberg (off 80) — A performance that looked better to me in the replay. Showed some good toughness and defensive skills in the middle. Also was a calm distributor. Would’ve had the third assist on the Fernandez goal. Provided good service on set pieces. Took a couple spills and knocks — also had a couple giveaways — but I think it was his best performance in a while and he looked comfortable back in the middle. 6.5

M Alvaro Fernandez — You can feel his confidence growing. Had the nice goal, but even beyond that this was easily his best game of the season. Remarkably active on the left, mainly offensively but also in his efforts to track back. Calmly finished the header for the go-ahead goal, but had a number of great combinations with teammates in the attacking third. Nearly had another goal, but he headed a Montero cross right at Frei. Had some good 1-2s with Fredy and Wahl. Took some chances and showed some creativity. A night to build on for sure. 7.5

F Fredy Montero (off 66) — Was happy to sit in the hole and distribute with Jaqua doing the dirty work up front. Combined and showed well for his teammates in the attack, but a few of his touches were just a bit off. Was a little indecisive in some chances at the top of the box as well. Set up Evans first goal with a perfectly weighted and positioned pass, so much so Evans didn’t even need to take a touch before shooting. Good facilitator in the offensive third, but this was a game he could’ve dominated. Wasn’t nearly bad, but wasn’t entirely sharp. 6

F Nate Jaqua (on 72) — A very positive showing in his first start and he was unlucky not to get a goal. If he keeps getting the chances he got Saturday, he’ll certainly put some in. Was active and energetic up front, won a handball of 50-50 balls and his hold-up play was mostly good. Combined well with his teammates and nearly set up an Evans goal, but Frei made a big save. Couldn’t quite get to crosses by Hurtado and Fucito in chances I alluded to earlier. Will need to keep it up in the absence of O’Brian White. 6.5

SUBSTITUTES

M Mike Fucito (on 66) — Made his long-awaited season debut and nearly paid immediate dividends by setting up a Jaqua chance with a good run. Extremely active and brought the energy off the bench this team will need. Had an open chance set up by Jaqua but launched it over the bar. Speed was there. A terror to defend. 6

F Roger Levesque (on 72) — Always covers the most ground possible in his minutes. Mishandled a Fucito cross and was knocked off the ball a couple times. Had a good win to set up a shot but it was right at Frei. Also took out the TFC goalkeeper attacking a cross (with his hand?). Tracked back and helped defensively. 5.5

M Servando Carrasco (on 80) — The rookie was good on the ball in his limited time. Was disruptive in the middle and had a good switch to the left. INC

COACH SIGI SCHMID

Both the personnel choices and tactics were spot on. Having the outside midfielders (Evans and Fernandez) tuck in with the outside back (Riley and Wahl) push up was a winning combination. It was a trying week for the team but he got the impressive performance. By his own admission, however, it was a result the team expected from itself. Managing this week will be the big test. 7.5

REFEREE RICARDO SALAZAR

Another moment where the pregame moaning about referee selection was much louder than the postgame moaning. I thought he handled the game very well. Booking to Alonso and Martina were fair. Didn’t have any gripes with any of the decisions. Not sure it was an entirely difficult game to officiate, but he stayed out of the way and was fair. That’s all you ask for. 7

* * *

What do you think? Anyone too high? Too low?

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