Sounders v LA Galaxy (Player Ratings)
by Shayna Gosney
Michael Gspurning (7.0): Gspurning’s return to the Sounders starting lineup was a solid one, and he showed confidence in his play and organization.
His first call to action came in the 25th minute to stop Landon Donovan’s low shot aiming for the far post, and the Austrian used all of his giant frame to reach the ball. Gspurning made another save five minutes after, a relatively easy effort as the low shot was hit nearly straight to him.
The Sounders’ keeper was most impressive either side of the break, with a quality save on 40 minutes to keep Robbie Rodgers from levelling the score and an impressive punch through traffic just inside the second half.
There was not much Gspurning could have done to keep out Keane’s goal in the 78th, a disappointing end to an otherwise solid game.
DeAndre Yedlin (7.5): Yedlin displayed a great deal of maturity throughout the game, calm in possession and positive with his distribution. In the first half, he matched Zardes for pace and movement well and closed down space effectively to smother most of LA’s action down the left side.
Jhon-Kennedy Hurtado (7.0): Hurtado was strong in the air throughout the match and stepped up into midfield well to intercept passes and potential through-balls. Though he was slow to recover on a couple occasions in the first 20 minutes, he adjusted his positioning effectively as the game wore on to avoid getting beat.
Djimi Traore (7.0): Traore showed a bit of rustiness with his passing in his return to the starting lineup, but defensively was solid throughout the match. While unspectacular, his positional play was on par with his normal high standards and he was dominant in the air.
Marc Burch (7.0): Burch didn’t have a lot of defensive work to do in the first half, as LA’s Robbie Rodgers was fairly quiet until his shot in the 40th minute. Burch marked tightly and displayed good positional awareness when defending, and was glued to the touchline to provide much-needed wide support when going forward.
The Galaxy swapped wingers in the second half, looking to use Zardes’ pace to overcome the Sounders left back. Burch matched the 22-year-old for work rate and quality, however, and continued to play solid defence as well as put in dangerous crosses and set pieces.
Brad Evans (7.0): Evans stepped into his role as captain well on the night, showing strong leadership and a high work rate on the right side of the Sounders’ fluid midfield four. On a couple occasions in the first half he got caught pinching too far inside when wide help would have been helpful, but he improved on his lateral movement in the second half to help facilitate continued possession.
Osvaldo Alonso (7.5): The Cuban swept up with key tackles all over the Sounders’ midfield and disrupted the Galaxy’s central play throughout the night. He gave the ball away a couple times and slipped to allow Robbie Rodgers to get off a snap shot in the 40th minute, but generally Alonso was sound and aggressive in his play. It should also be added his judgment was spot on and he kept himself out of trouble.
Adam Moffat (8.0): Moffat started the game on point with a shot on goal three minutes in and nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute, making a late far-post run on a corner kick and connecting first with a header and then putting the rebound just wide of the post.
Moffat’s movement in covering both centrally and wide on the Sounders’ left side was key to the success of their fluid attacking strategy. The Scot’s workrate was high, and his communication and link with Lamar Neagle provided a great deal of danger for Seattle going forward.
Clint Dempsey (8.0): The American forward started the game at the top of the Sounders’ midfield and showed a great deal of hustle and strength to win and keep possession for Seattle in the middle of the field.
His first goal as a Sounder came in the 30th minute, a deft touch with the outside of his right boot as he made a far post run for Lamar Neagle’s pinpoint cross from the right of Seattle’s midfield. He looked to double his tally eight minutes later, set up at the top of LA’s box by Eddie Johnson, but his curling shot flew just wide of the goal.
Dempsey will be far happier with his performance here than in previous weeks, and Sounders fans will hope that he has found his scoring form just in time for a deep playoff run.
Eddie Johnson off 78’ (5.5): Johnson was more active on the night with his movement than usual, but looked more likely to provide for one of his teammates than to connect for a goal himself.
His first significant offensive action was to be called offside in the 16th minute, as he put the ball into the net but had been yards clear of LA’s backline when the ball was played. He then missed a golden opportunity in the 35th minute as Lamar Neagle played a perfect ball across the goal, but the wide-open forward could only tamely tap into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Johnson’s best play on the night was found in his ability to hold up the ball and create space for his teammates, and although he will be unhappy with his inability to score a goal, his effort did not go unnoticed.
Lamar Neagle off 87’ (6.5): Neagle put in a workmanlike shift, linking well with both Moffat and Burch on the left side while harassing the entirety of LA’s backline throughout the night. He swapped positions with teammates fluidly and hustled to press the Galaxy into surrendering possession.
Neagle notched his fourth assist on the season in the 30th minute, crossing from the Sounders’ right side to find Dempsey’s far-post run. He nearly added another assist five minutes later when he played a perfect ball across LA’s goal to a wide-open Eddie Johnson, but the forward could only tap into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Mauro Rosales on 78’ (6.0): The Sounders captain made a late appearance coming on for Eddie Johnson, and made his presence known with energetic lateral runs across LA’s backline. Rosales kept moving in search of a through-ball from one of his midfielders, but his work was not rewarded.
Rosales was predictably tidy with the ball and always looked to play in one of his teammates with quick passing and crafty chipped efforts, but he was not quite able to connect. Late on he showed a great deal of heart, winning a corner in the final minute of extra time but the cross into the box was never met with a solid effort on goal.
Andy Rose on 87: No rating