Photo credit: Abelimages, Getty Images
What a thrilling finish, and there have been quite a few this season (Philadelphia away, Kansas City at home). This one was particularly special. Despite a 49th-minute red card to Jhon Kennedy Hurtado the Sounders battled, fought, ran themselves into the ground and earned the win.
It wasn’t all pretty, especially in the last 30 minutes of the first half. Luck played a part as well, with Javier Martina’s open shot slamming off the post. But in the end, it’s three points. Don’t look now but Seattle has lost just once in eight games and is on a 6-2-7 streak.
Let’s get to it.
* * *
GK Kasey Keller — Didn’t have so much to do save-wise. Handled all the shots and crosses that came his way. Played a big part in organization and you could hear him barking instructions throughout the game. Shook off a hard hit from Ty Harden and did a little subtle clock management as well. 6.5
D James Riley — Had a very active night. Plata gave him some trouble a couple times on the wing, but he beyond those dangerous moments he was strong defensively. Had a couple bad turnovers (including one that eventually led to Hurtado’s first booking), but pushed forward well at times, too. Was strong late in the game, but it was a mixed performance. 5
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Red card, 49th minute. Fortunately for him the team earned the win and less attention now falls on the ejection. Was put in a tough spot on both card-earning tackles, but he gets the lion’s share of the blame. Also nearly caught committing a foul in the box earlier on Yourassowsky. Besides those moments he was extremely efficient, but it’s obviously too much to overlook. 3.5
D Jeff Parke — Had to step up in the second half, when a lot of the action came his way. Didn’t have as much to do in the first half (and he was also beat by Plata and Santos before the break), but was solid in the end to preserve the shutout. 6.5
D Tyson Wahl — Most of his better grades this season have come off set-piece service and crosses, but this was one of his better games defensively. Limited a lot of the danger that came on his side. Crosses and service were OK for the most part, but didn’t have a huge impact. Got forward well. 6
M Osvaldo Alonso — Very influential on both sides of the ball. Surely increased his amazing margin in tackles won over his nearest competitor and was also involved in the attack. Had his normal shots but was also better in possession. Limited his turnovers and distributed well. 7
M Brad Evans (off 71) — Best moments were on defense, including a big stop on Henry and a crucial header won in his own box. Took a couple knocks on some late shot attempts and had to leave early. Strong in combining with teammates, but had a few turnovers. Showed his versatility by filling in for Hurtado before Scott could be subbed on. 5.5
M Mauro Rosales — Schmid called him his man of the match, and that second half he put in was one inspired performance. Ran up and down the field nonstop. Helped out on defense and consistently made dangerous runs behind the TFC defense. Drew some fouls and played a big part in late time-wasting. Also drew what turned out to be the winning free kick. Crosses weren’t all that effective, and effectiveness was limited in the first half, but ultimately played a huge part in the win. 7.5
M Lamar Neagle (off 52) — Nearly had an assist 90 seconds into the game, finding Fucito on a throw-in for a shot attempt off the post. Not a lot of other danger came from his involvement. Had a few too many turnovers as well before making an early exit. 4.5
F Fredy Montero — Had the wonder goal to steal the win, and what a special strike it was to end a scoring drought. Second half was very strong after a somewhat underwhelming first 45′. Played a big part in time wasting in the end and managed the game well. Was allowed to roam a bit more than usual and that might take some adjusting for everyone. In the end, provided some magic that not many players in the league can. 7
F Mike Fucito (off 69) — Another agonizing near miss, this time with a left-footed shot off the post in the second minute. Eventually one of these is going to have to go in. Right? Until then we wait. Won some balls in the attacking third and also had to track back a few times, including as a left-sided midfielder, but you’d still like to see him get more touches. 5
D Zach Scott (on 52) — Didn’t have a ton to do in the final 40 minutes with Seattle doing surprisingly well in possession down a man. Was strong in tackles and in the air. Didn’t have any mistakes worth noting from what I saw. 6
M Alvaro Fernandez (on 69) — Another helpful sub and was very involved in his 20-some minutes. Drew some fouls, won some headers, wasted some time late. Had a couple dangerous moments that he could’ve dealt with better, but was ultimately a positive influence. 6
M Erik Friberg (on 71) — Came on last, but might’ve been one of the better players on the field in his short time. Good in possession and winning the ball back. Had a couple great passes, including one to set up Flaco. 6.5
COACH SIGI SCHMID
Getting a win on the road with 10 men can’t be easy. The subs all had a great impact. The run of play, even a man down, was impressive as well. That doesn’t mean it was a flawless performance. Toronto carried a lot of the play at times and looked strong enough to deserve at least a goal. Though complaints take a back seat when you win away. 7
REFEREE YADER REYES
The red card to Hurtado was the big call and I won’t complain about it here. Hurtado took a bad touch and almost wrestled Stevanovic down, making a point to grab the TFC player’s leg on the way down. So I have no issue with it. Fair, and controlled/managed the game well. Might’ve given Yourassowky a booking for diving, but it’s not a criminal offense. Very strong compared to the MLS standard. 8
* * *
What do you think? Where did I get it right/wrong?