Photo credit: Ned Dishman, Getty Images
A mixed performance has resulted in mixed feelings around Sounders FC’s scoreless tie at RFK Stadium.
Defensively, Seattle has been solid this season and displayed again Saturday, limiting a talented D.C. team to about three good chances. Offensively, the Sounders were somewhat disjointed again, which will happen when you’re still without Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson.
While Roger Levesque and Zach Scott are reliable replacements on the defensive end, I think those injury losses are very significant on the offensive end. Ultimately, it’s hard to be too bothered by a point on the road, three time zones away. Here’s how I saw things (10 — world class, 5.5. — average, 1 — dreadful):
* * *
GK Michael Gspurning — Has really settled in nicely and did well to earn his second shutout. Wasn’t called upon for a lot of shot-stopping, but had a couple good saves on rookie Nick DeLeon. His defense of crosses was superb. Has allowed just two goals this season (an MLS Goal of the Week winner to Ryan Johnson and a Chris Wondolowski PK). 8.5
D Zach Scott — Solid defensively and dominant in the air. Limited DeLeon pretty well in the first half but was beat soundly by Chris Pontius with a dangerous run in the second half. His long throw-ins have become a bit of a weapon on offense. Took a few hard tackles, but was pretty reliable in the back, yet again. 6
D Patrick Ianni — Like many of his teammates in the back, was mostly solid but beaten in once instance. His was the run by DeLeon that set up Salihi’s shot off the crossbar/post in the first half. Won 10 headers and had a lot of other good moments of individual defending. Didn’t quite connect with some of those long balls, but still another strong showing. 7.5
D Jeff Parke — Was steady in his first MLS start this season. Had the defensive duties on Salihi on that dangerous first-half chance, which was his potential lowlight. Was strong with the ball. De Rosario gave him trouble at times, but ultimately a positive night. 7
D Leo Gonzalez — Not a lot of the action came his way and Danny Cruz was pretty quiet before coming off early. DeLeon saw a little more action over there after the switch, but he held his own. Had a couple decent crosses. D.C. found space behind him a time or two, but nothing much came of it. 6.5
M Roger Levesque — Was good defensively and very good in the air with 10 headers won. You really have to watch the tape again to see how much danger came off his flicks off long balls. That said, there were several very poor and indecisive moments in the attack. Too many giveaways and that 86th-minute chance set up by Montero stands out, when he elected for a difficult cross instead of taking a shot from a somewhat tight angle. 4
M Osvaldo Alonso — He took the reigning MLS MVP out of the game, as Dwayne De Rosario didn’t have much of an impact at all. Beyond winning that matchup, and overcoming a painful stomp to the groin, Alonso was very good at filling gaps in the defense if Gonzalez or Scott had pushed forward. Made seven tackles, 10 interceptions, 12 recoveries, and also had the driven shot in stoppage time that nearly led to a late winner. 9
M Brad Evans — Provided the requisite toughness to get a result on the road. Won a team-high 11 headers and was active in the middle of the field on 50-50 balls. Solid in possession. Had a header in the 31st minute that was one of Seattle’s best chances on goal. A very strong return from the hamstring injury. 7.5
M Alvaro Fernandez (off 90) — A somewhat quiet performance. Wasn’t as involved as you would’ve liked, particularly with Rosales out, and will be most remembered for scuffing a cross in the 52nd minute with a wide-open Estrada in front of goal. Crosses weren’t very sharp and he lost possession too easily. 4.5
F Fredy Montero — It’s still easy to look at the no goals and no assists, but he was the most active player in the attack. Would’ve had an assist if Flaco gets the cross to Estrada and he converts. Would’ve had an assist in Levesque converts in the 86th minute. Just nearly missed a goal again with a header off Estrada’s driven shot in the 34th minute. Tracked back well a couple times on defense. The lack of production would be concerning if he wasn’t active, but that wasn’t the case in my opinion. Not to mention, he didn’t get a lot of calls. 6
F David Estrada (off 66) — Was in a perfect position to get his fifth goal, if only the cross came from Flaco. His involvement in the second half was otherwise limited. Did well holding up the ball and linking in the first half. Harassed the defense, as always, and nearly set up another goal with a long-range shot off a corner kick (Montero’s redirect). 5.5
F Eddie Johnson (on 66) — Got through his time without a setback, which is positive. Won a header in his opening moments, but had a lot of turnovers otherwise. Helped set up a Montero shot in the 82nd-minute and settled into the game toward the end. 4.5
M Marc Burch (on 90) — Made the most of his few minutes with a header that nearly won the game at the death, against his former team, no less. INC
COACH SIGI SCHMID
I think the move to start Gonzalez worked out, even if it was a little unexpected after Burch’s midweek comments. And even though Johnson wasn’t very effective, it was important to get him time. Like I mentioned in the beginning, it was a mixed performance (good defensively, a bit off on offense). 5.5
REFEREE EDVIN JURISEVIC
Some of the calls were a little inconsistent, but I think he managed the game OK. The bookings were fair, though Pontius got away with a dangerous tackle on Scott. I don’t think either team got much of an advantage, which is important. 5.5
* * *
What do you think?