By Steven Agen
It was a true team effort that led to Seattle’s 3-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday night. Both forwards tallied goals and the defense kept a clean sheet. The midfield looked improved from an offensive perspective, providing the link-up play between the back four and forwards that has sorely been missing at times this year. While no individual registered a truly memorable performance, all members of the starting 11 earned above-average grades.
Marcus Hahnemann, GK — 5.5
Making his first MLS appearance for Seattle, the veteran shot-stopper wasn’t forced into any real action. He looked more comfortable than Andrew Weber when dealing with crosses, but misplayed one ball over his head that Seattle was a tad lucky not to be punished for. Not a bad debut, particularly considering his nagging hamstring issues.
DeAndre Yedlin, D – 5.5
Solid defensive play by the rookie was tempered by a series of disappointing crosses. In particular, his low cross following a one-two with Rosales in the second half left a lot to be desired. Several even led to Dallas counters. However, as a part of the back line that played to zero, his defensive play earned his mark.
Djimi Traoré, D — 6.0
Routinely played well out of the back off of goal kicks. Traoré earned his yellow card after a hard foul in the second half. In all honesty, it was a below-average game for the Frenchman, whose clearances and positioning have been better on other days. Most importantly, though, he and Patrick Ianni played well enough to pitch a shutout for the Sounders.
Patrick Ianni, D — 6.0
Despite being called for several fouls, Ianni frequently looked good in the air. Along with Traoré, the centerback did well to shut down Blas Pérez and the Dallas attack. Considering how Seattle’s central defenders played (well, but not extraordinary), the anemic nature of the Texans’ attack on Saturday night was thrust into the spotlight. Ianni’s game exemplified this. Has looked good since his recent return from injury.
Leonardo González, D — 6.5
Looked good coming forward, and was solid in his passing game. It was a quiet but effective performance from González. Frequently joined the attack, although not to the extent Yedlin did (as per usual). Notably didn’t get caught out on Dallas counters, which can’t be said about Yedlin.
Mauro Rosales, M — 6.5
Rosales served in an excellent ball on Seattle’s eighth-minute goal. The veteran was active and involved in many of the Sounders’ attacking moves, but his age repeatedly showed in his inability to get on the end of through balls.
Make no mistake, the captain looked much more like himself than he has of late. However, Rosales was consistently a step slow and his crosses from open play were disappointing. Solid interplay on the ground merits the rating.
Brad Evans, M — 7.5
Calm and collected on his penalty kick, Evans capped off an excellent outing with his goal in second-half stoppage time. In the 22nd. minute, his long ball to Eddie Johnson was perfectly weighted. It was one of the more memorable assists for the midfielder, and his two-way presence was impressive.
Osvaldo Alonso, M — 6.5
Reliable as ever in the midfield, Alonso did well to dispossess Dallas attackers frequently. Disappointingly worked his way into the referee’s book. Alonso appeared to be less involved in the attack than normal, but Evans’ offensive abilities in the center of the park made up for it. All in all, another solid performance from the Cuban. His return to fitness and Seattle’s run of good form did not occur at similar times out of coincidence.
Lamar Neagle, M: 6.5
Won the penalty that led to Evans’ goal in stoppage time. Neagle provided a blue-collar effort in the attack, creating chances out of pure hustle. His play merited a goal in its own right. At the very least, he should have earned an assist on Eddie Johnson’s goal, as the Federal Way native set him up with the ball on a silver platter in front of an empty net. His hard working approach really complements the styles of both Johnson and Obafemi Martins nicely.
Obafemi Martins, F — 7.0
Consistently involved in the Sounders’ build-up play. Martins showed touches of pure class in his dribbling skills, outwitting a variety of Dallas defenders. No longer Seattle’s newest DP, the forward somehow found himself in acres of space when he finished Rosales’ cross to begin the scoring. His finish was world-class. With his back to goal, Martins still managed to leave Dallas goalkeeper Raúl Fernández without a chance. He appears to be settling in brilliantly with his new club.
Eddie Johnson, F — 7.0
Johnson’s hold-up play was excellent Saturday night, and his finish in the 22nd. minute was calm and collected. Looked sharp in every facet of his game, barring a glaring lack of anticipation after Neagle’s fine 77th.-minute work in maneuvering past Fernandez. The forward’s body language was significantly better than normal, and his time with the U.S. National Team really does seem to have changed his perspective.
Marc Burch (sub for Rosales, 77′) – 5.0
Didn’t make much of an impact. He was on for just enough of a shift to earn a grade, but was unremarkable to the point where a baseline mark (pun only slightly intended) is deserved.
Servando Carrasco (sub for Martins, 86′) – N/A
Not enough time. Filled in at a wide midfield position.
Zach Scott (sub for Johnson, 90+2′) – N/A
Came on very late to shore up the defense. Not enough time.
Edvin Jurisevic, Referee: 4.5.
Allowed Martins to be hacked down several times without a card. In particular, a cynical first-half tackle from Andrew Jacobson should have resulted in a booking. Many will be disappointed with the physicality he let slide. Made a good decision in awarding a penalty in stoppage time. Provided consistency, but frequently at too great of a cost physicality-wise.
Men of the Match:
On-field: Brad Evans
The midfielder had a creative flair that made him look indispensable in the starting 11. Finishing with a goal and an assist was no more than Evans deserved. More performances like this one will inevitably result in the eventually demise of would-be naysayers.
Off-field: Adrian Hanauer
Is there any other G.M. in the league who could’ve convinced Dempsey to return to the U.S.A. at age 30? The National Team captain is a massive signing for both the league and Seattle. It’s difficult not to be impressed by what is certainly the most high-profile move in the history of Seattle soccer. When many in the Brougham End bowed as Hanauer passed by pre-game, it was unquestionably deserved.