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May 25, 2012 at 2:14 AM

Sounders FC 2, Vancouver 2, player ratings

flaco vancouver.jpgPhoto credit: Rich Lam, Getty Images

Apologies for getting to this one so late. The rapid-fire schedule makes it harder to go back and break down tape in a timely manner.

Like we all remember, Seattle’s first half was quite poor — perhaps the worst of the season so far. There were turnovers abound from all areas of the field and the breakdown on Alain Rochat’s goal was especially bad. Simply put, the game could’ve been over by halftime.

The second half was marketed different, however, and the Sounders being able to eke out a tie through Fredy Montero’s 90th-minute equalizer. A lot of the performances were split, but let’s get to it (10 — world class, 5.5 — average, 1 — dreadful):

* * *

STARTERS

GK Bryan Meredith — Had a pretty strong first half, even as the team didn’t. There was nothing he could do on Rochat’s goal (12′), and had a nice play on Omar Salgado’s breakaway (8′) and Lee Young-Pyo’s cross (20′). Trouble came in the 82nd-minute with a nightmare scenario for any goalkeeper — an in-swinging cross on a free kick with a crowd of bodies in front of the goal. Was looking for a deflection and the go-ahead goal bounced past him. It’s a tough task for even the most experienced goalkeeper, but some blame still falls on him. Wasn’t credited with a save and the case could be made that he allowed two goals on just one Vancouver shot on goal. 5

D Adam Johansson — Had a shaky first few minutes and was caught up very high during Rochat’s goal, which came in the space he vacated. Did well to close out the first half, but conceded a foul in the 45th minute. This is relevant because he went on commit three more fouls in the second half, and one led to Camilo’s goal in the 82nd minute. If you give away that many free kicks — and a few were definitely avoidable — eventually something bad is going to happen. He also lost track of Darren Mattocks for the rookie forward’s 62nd-minute chance. Did have a couple successful crosses and good moments with Rosales on the right. 4

D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Less of the action came his way, but he had a few struggles also. He had a poor clearance concede a corner kick (14′), a completely whiffed clearance (36′), kept Mattocks onside for a breakaway (41′) and was beaten for a dangerous header by Eric Hassli (66′). Also showed bits of good 1v1 defending on several occasions and gave ex-teammate Sebastien Le Toux a talking to for going down easily in the penalty box in the second half. 5.

D Jeff Parke — Had some glaring errors. Clearly should’ve stepped out on Rochat to try to prevent the 12th-minute goal. Lost out to Mattocks (18′) and then Omar Salgado (33′), the latter of which led to an open shot pushed wide. Was beat by Mattocks for a 41st-minute breakaway, but that one falls on Hurtado, who kept the Whitecaps forward onside. Last on the rap sheet, he was beaten badly by Mattocks in the 46th minute for a scoring chance. Only one of those moments went punished, but it’s far too many to allow. There was quite a few positives from the day, as well. Had some solid moments of individual defending and was quite involved with the offense. Nearly found assists on two occasions, setting up an Eddie Johnson volley (45+1′) and Fredy Montero header (51′). 4

D Marc Burch (off 85) — Less of the danger came down his side and there were few complaints on his defending. His defensive win in the 47th minute actually started the buildup to Eddie Johnson’s goal. Negative notes were on a few crosses and passes that went off target. Coach Sigi Schmid indicated he got a bit tired at the end, which explained the late sub. 5.5

M Osvaldo Alonso — Had a slow start as he lost a duel that set up a Salgado chance (8′) and then had a giveaway that led to a Mattocks chance (14′). Settled in as the game went on and eventually completed passes at a 60-to-11 ratio. Defensive ball-winning is always masterful and was again with 12 recoveries, five tackles won and four interceptions. Was involved in the buildup to EJ’s goal and nearly had an assist setting up a Montero chance (57′). 6

M Mauro Rosales — I’m not sure I’ve seen this on a chalkboard with him before, but he had more unsuccessful passes (35) than successful passes (34). Watching the action, that’s not a huge surprise as he had quite a few struggles in the possession game — normally a strength. Appeared to forget about defensive duties on Rochat’s goal as he was caught too far ahead and was late chasing back. Set-piece service was quite good and his 47th-minute assist to Eddie Johnson couldn’t have been better. On an otherwise difficult night for him, that one special moment of skill boosts the rating. 5

M Alvaro Fernandez (off 72) — Was perhaps the most active midfielder in the first half. Had his share of giveaways, like all his teammates, but also had a few good moments with the ball, including a very nice bit of skill in the 16th minute. We saw bits of his defensive capabilities in the second half, which Schmid pointed out earlier this week. Won a header every eight minutes (nine total), which was the highest rate on the team. Ultimately, a decent return to the starting lineup after missing a handful of games, but the rust showed at times. 5.5

M Alex Caskey (off 46) — I really didn’t have too many notes for him as the team struggled to keep possession in the first half. Had a decent first 20 minutes or so, but wasn’t too involved. Struggled a bit later in the half, losing the ball in the 20th, 26th and 41st minutes. His limited impact was partly a consequence of the team’s play around him. 5

F Eddie Johnson — Lots of notes for him and I felt he was the more dangerous forward in the first half. Had some early struggles with Jay DeMerit but showed great burst on a 39th-minute run that set up a corner kick and then drove a shot wide in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. Drew some fouls but didn’t get the PK call (16′) he’s been waiting for. Did very well to finish a 47th-minute cross by Mauro Rosales for his third goal of the season. Won a team-high 10 headers and that can’t be ignored, because his 90th-minute flick set up Montero’s late equalizer. Held his own as a lone forward in the second half and finished his first Cascadia game with a goal and an assist. Not bad. 7

F Fredy Montero — Very little influence in the first half and the notes were slim: a few turnovers, a few fouls drawn. Like the team, his activity came to life in the second half. He found Rosales on the right wing for a secondary assist on the Johnson goal (and might’ve been in position to finish it himself). Had a swinging cross cleared for a corner kick in the 49th minute and then a trio of brilliants chances saved by Joe Cannon (50′, 51′, 56′). His 90th-minute equalizer was a thing of beauty and only grew his legend in the Cascadia rivalries. Also just missed an assist in the final minute of stoppage time, swinging in a great cross to Zach Scott’s head for a shot just wide. 7.5

SUBSTITUTES

M Andy Rose (on 46) — Got involved quickly with a nice pass to Johnson (46′) and some involvement in the goal buildup (47′). Hustled to keep a ball in play in the 50th minute, which led to danger through Montero. Definitely a positive addition. 6

M David Estrada (on 72) — Made a reserve appearance for the first time this season and his first legs were needed. Was involved with a shot attempt in the 77th minute and a cross that wasn’t about to find a teammates a minute later. 5.5

D Zach Scott (on 85) — Big moment was an open header in the final minute of stoppage time that nearly stole a win. INC

COACH SIGI SCHMID

Growing pains were always going to be an issue starting the Big Four in the attack for the first time. But while the first half was a struggle, things looked very good in the second half after a shift to more of a 4-2-3-1. I also felt the Rose addition at halftime was positive, but I was curious why he wasn’t starting in the first place. A game-changing tactical shift is definitely what stands out. 6

REFEREE KEVIN STOTT

Let a lot of things go, as Johnson (16th-minute PK appeal) and Davide Chiumiento (went to ground quite a bit) can attest. I was glad to see him eat his whistle a few times and things never really got out of control. Pulled the yellow card out later when it was needed. Handled an emotional game about as well as could be expected. 7

* * *

What do you think? How’s rated too high or too low?

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