By Michael Ligot, Seattle Editor
Ratings from the Seattle Sounders FC’s dramatic 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire Saturday night. Castrol Index scores (updated weekly) are listed for players who did not participate in Wednesday’s Chivas USA game.
Michael Gspurning, GK — 5. Not much he could’ve done on Chicago’s goal, as a defensive breakdown and exquisite Mike Magee shot were too much to overcome. Claimed everything else before they could trouble the Seattle goal, crucial as the Fire had nothing on net in the second half.
Leonardo González, D — 5. Chicago didn’t try to test him, as most of their attacks were away from the Seattle left side. Played a key role when the Sounders instigated second-half pressure, finishing with 38 of 53 passing. Whether he should’ve been carded or not, still docked for carelessly raising his arm to Alex’s face, which is just asking for a foul. He’s now one card away from another suspension. Castrol Index season score: 430, from 1,865 minutes.
Djimi Traoré, D — 5.5. Slow reactions in trying to spring the offside trap led to Chicago’s against-the-run-of-play goal. Redeemed himself in the second stanza, where his octopus-like reach prevented the Fire from testing Gspuring (overall, eight clearances, seven recoveries, two tackles and four interceptions). Almost scored off a direct-kick header.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, D — 6.5 In the second half, he and Traoré looked like pinball flippers, kicking out myriad Chicago balls from the Sounders’ penalty area (seven clearances and five recoveries). Lost the ball just three times in 64 actions, and of his 37 passes, only one — a benign hack up the right touchline — missed the mark. Very effective performance.
DeAndre Yedlin, D — 6.5. The busiest man on the field with 116 actions, he pressed hard on both sides of the ball. Yedlin hit 39 of 56 passes, tested Chicago’s tall defenders with two deep crosses, and pressing upfield, and worked hard to win the ball when the Fire set up camp in Seattle’s end.
Marc Burch, M — 7. Lamar Neagle’s goal never happens if Burch doesn’t hustle to corral Sean Johnson’s save and find Neagle all by his lonesome near the penalty spot.
Very good at keeping possession, especially in Chicago’s half. A left back by training, he seems to have found a new home at left midfield.
Andy Rose, M — 5. Involved everywhere on the field (98 actions), but didn’t have much of an impact on the game. Had two early, open headers in as many minutes, but wide on both. Nice vacuuming up of Fire opportunities in the second half, particularly between the center circle and the Sounders’ penalty arc.
Osvaldo Alonso, M — 5.5. Will be seeing Johnson in his sleep. The big goalkeeper hit a fine penalty save, though Alonso needed more attitude on the effort. Johnson also robbed him in the second half, tipping a rocket over the crossbar. Despite strong defensive numbers (nine recoveries, four tackles), was susceptible on a turnover starting Magee’s goal.
Mauro Rosales, M — 5.5. Unlike Chivas, which gave him room to maneuver, the Fire got physical with Seatle’s captain (five fouls suffered). Effort was certainly unquestionable, but the Mauro mauling vastly limited his effectiveness. When a central attacking midfielder attempts only 30 passes and needs to make five recoveries in his own half, he likely has little impact on the game.
Obafemi Martins, F — 6. The rust is showing, but the skill and drive never left. Four shots, not including two in the first three minutes that OPTA somehow didn’t count.
Frustrated by a strong Johnson effort (two saves) and an aggressive Chicago defense, which goaded him into two fouls. Took a few knocks, but should be healthy enough for the huge Salt Lake showdown Friday. Castrol Index season score: 614, from 1,026 minutes.
Lamar Neagle, F — 6.5. Just like the Chivas defenders inexplicably left him all by his lonesome, the Fire’s did likewise, and he got a similarly great goal. His important pass to Zach Scott bullying his way up the left flank led to the deciding own-goal. Would have been involved in a third goal, as his great hustle won the corner kick that led to Alonso’s ill-fated penalty.
David Estrada (substitution for Rosales, 80′) – n/a. Not much impact on the game in his 10 minutes, though he did absolutely nothing to hurt the team.
Zach Scott (substitution for Burch, 82′) – 7 If an eight-minute sub who doesn’t figure on the scoresheet could be Man of the Match, Scott would take it. Not only was his touchline break and low slingshot into the Chicago penalty area create Gonzalo Segares’ own goal, he also stuffed three Chicago attempts in injury time. What a week for the Hawaiian.
Servando Carrasco (on for Martins, 90′+1) – n/a. Time-management substitution.
Sigi Schmid, Coach — 6. The 3-5-2 hasn’t appeared much since D.C. United’s heyday, but Schmid turned to it when Seattle pressed for the late winner, and glory be, it paid off big-time. Letting Yedlin push forward on the right, keeping the other three defenders in the back, and having Scott assume Burch’s left-midfield role late made the difference in the game. Say what you will about the opposition’s quality, but Schmid got two consecutive wins without three of his best players.
Hilario Grajeda, referee — 5. Half-and-half. Bakare Soumaré’s handball penalty was a no-brainer, and replays showed Magee was onside for his goal. Yet as the game got physical, he made several puzzling calls, of the let-muggings-go-but-call-ticky-tack-stuff variety. The game didn’t threaten to get out of hand like Wednesday’s Chivas match almost did, but a referee who’s got 93 prior MLS games under his belt should have a better sense of what should be called or not.