RSL Player Ratings
RSL keeper Nick Rimando received a 9.5 grade for his performance in the first leg of the play-off series with Sounders FC.
In doing so, he has set a new record mark, with no player ever attaining 9.5 before.
Nick Rimando 9.5: Rimando made one confident early punch and a superb block to deny Evans. That was just his appetiser. Then came an astonishing save from Ochoa and an even better one from Hurtado in that series of two world class saves, which will be screened for years to come at half time on Direct Kick.
He then made a dominating punched clearance from the subsequent corner in goalkeeping reminiscent of Kasey Keller’s last regular season game in 2011.
Another amazing grounded save followed in 51 minutes.
Then he came for a catch in the second half and didn’t gather cleanly in his sole less than perfect moment. (That’s why he didn’t get a 10)
He was cut in a nasty challenger with Christian Tiffert that prompted a worrying delay but continued to perform heroics after his injury despite the ill natured booing of a few.
His heroics will be remembered by real soccer fans long after those booing forget where they were this night.
After the match, he was even classy about them. A star act.
Tony Beltran 8: Beltran developed a good partnership with Will Johnson. Lack of a Seattle threat on his wing allowed him to get forward before the interval.
In the second half, he defended well. When a header dipped, he ducked low and he had to adjust to clear. Continue to win key headers in the second half.
Kwame Watson-Siriboe 7: Great block in nine minutes to shut down a clear effort and generally had a worthy first half replacing Olave. Left in 76 not for bad play but he was carrying a knock and Jason Kreis wanted to give Olave minutes. KWS let nobody down in a sterling performance in the big time.
Nat Borchers 8.5: He tidied up aerial balls immensely early and along with Rimando, dominated his six yard box. Headed over in last chance of first half but generally looked a top quality player at this level in the first half. His second half was even better and, while his performance may be overshadowed by Rimando’s, Borcher’s superb and classy outing is well worth a high mark. And high praise.
Chris Wingert 7: Wingert gave the ball away too readily in the first half. Some good defensive work at left back, the wing down which Sounders possessed but did not threaten much in open play. That was due to Wingert’s diligence, mostly in unheralded moments. Solid but occasionally sloppy.
Ned Grabavoy 6.5: Started well firming up the left rear in front of Wingert. Muffed up the best chance of the first half when he headed at Gspurning with time to bring the ball down and put some leather on it. A nice touch to set Espindola free before the latter was felled was classy. Grabavoy lost Ochoa at the start of the second half and was fortunate the Sounders forward planted it over the bar. Also did do his fair share of helping out at the back. Grabavoy is a useful player to have around when you want to defend a bit and do some attacking too.
Kyle Beckerman 6.5 : Pulled strings early as RSL’s short passes dominated the opening stages. Then he was surprisingly quiet for the rest of the first half. He was pointlessly booked for retaliation on Montero. Far more involved in the second half with good short passes as well as key defensive headers. Superb performances elsewhere on the roster meant his normal excellence was compensated for.
Javier Morales 6.5 : Morales had some good early touches as his side settled better. He tried to get involved but passes lacked incision. Picked up a yellow in the 56th as the game lost its way for a clumsy trip on Evans. A great cross in 83 deserved a better header from Saborio. (left in 85)
Will Johnson 6.5 : The Canadian was denied by a great Gspurning save in the move where RSL players were queueing up early on. He strove consistently to be in the game but became more defensive in his output as the game went on, just as his side required. He worked hard today.
Alvaro Saborio 5.5: He made a telling run in 15 but the cross was too near Gspurning. He is still too slow getting back when an attack breaks down, risking offside if his side regains possession. The Costa Rican also gives up way too easily when dispossessed. He was swept up in the mediocrity of his side’s lesser second half. He made Gspurning work with a late header but it needed more power. For us, he is still a little too lazy when his colleagues deserve a little more.
Fabian Espindola 7: He elected to shoot early when Grabavoy was in a good slot to receive. Worked harder than anyone in the opening ten minutes. Was fouled a great deal but does go down a little too easily and stays down too long. He was RSL’s best player in the first half and it was his decision to pull himself off at half time. He should be ready for next Thursday and if he plays as well for 90, as he did for 45, then Sounders are in for a long night, probably not including an extra half hour though. (He left at half time with a pulled left hamstring).
Paulo Jr (on in 45) 6: He delivered a very fine tackle on 82 to break up a threatening move. However he struggled as a forward in a second half where the Sounders dominated.
Jamison Olave (on in 76 for Watson) 5: His first action was to miskick a clearance badly. Then Estrada beat him embarrassingly on the left and delivered a dangerous cross requiring a hurried clearance. On the upside, these minutes will put him in good shape for Thursday but he didn’t look quite ready.
Yordany Alvarez (on in 85′) – No time for an impact.