Player ratings: Seattle Sounders 2-0 LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders clinched their first ever Supporters’ Shield with a gutsy 2-0 victory over Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field.

They battled through a fiery opening 30 minutes, with possession largely dominated by the Galaxy.

Pure grit, determination and passion got them through those early stages and their tactics were spot on as a frustrated LA couldn’t find a way through.

When chances came their way late on, they made the most of it and in the end they probably deserved the victory.

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[Seattle Sounders had already tasted glory this season when they won the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup]

Seattle Sounders:

  • Stefan Frei (Goalkeeper) – 7/10 – Despite LA’s early dominance of possession, they didn’t create much which left Frei with little to do. The one occasion he was called upon came when Landon Donovan tried to latch on to a through ball but Frei did well to close the angle down and leave Donovan with no time to think.
  • DeAndre Yedlin (Defender) – 7/10 – He was reliable and solid for the most part but did look susceptible at times on the outside flank. His work-rate was excellent.
  • Chad Marshall (Defender) – 8/10 – He was influential at the back and was the glue that kept the Sounders unit tied together. He won everything in the air and was tidy on the ground with great passing accuracy. (80% according to whoscored.com)
  • Zach Scott (Defender) – 7/10 – A faultless performance at the heart of defence. His partnership with Marshall played a crucial role in keeping a clean sheet.
  • Leonardo Gonzalez (Defender) – 7/10 – The Sounders full-backs had to be alert and aware of the threat LA posed from out wide as they looked to expose the flanks but Gonzalez was more than wise to those kind of tactics.
  • Brad Evans (Midfielder) – 6/10 – You can’t be too critical of the Sounders defence as they stuck to their task so well but his poor passing accuracy of 56% (according to whoscored.com) makes it hard to award higher than a 6.
  • Osvaldo Alonso (Midfielder) – 8/10 – He was instrumental in the execution of the game plan. He was consistently good with his passing throughout and wasn’t wasteful in possession in the same way that some of the Sounders players were.
  • Gonzalo Pineda (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He played with aggression, fight and determination. He was perhaps guilty of letting it spiral out of control at times but he was a terrier in the middle of the park and consistently hounded the Galaxy midfield when they were in possession.
  • Lamar Neagle (Midfielder) – 6/10 – He stuck to his defensive duties well but struggled to find teammates with his passing, particularly in the first half.
  • Clint Dempsey (Forward) – 7/10 – He wouldn’t let the LA defence relax and he was a nuisance to deal with in the second half.
  • Obafemi Martins (Forward) – 8/10 – He’s hunting down the MVP award and he certainly didn’t harm his chances here. He was strong and confident and played the crucial killer pass in to Marco Pappa for the first goal that took all the wind out of LA Galaxy’s sails.
  • Marco Pappa (Forward) – 9/10 – Man of the match and he was only on the pitch for 20 minutes. He made the difference with a composed finish for the first goal. And with seconds remaining on the clock, his never say die attitude saw him hound the Galaxy ‘keeper, Jaime Penedo, steal the ball and scoop it into the net for the second.
  • Djimi Traore (Defender) – 6/10 – He was on the pitch for all of 30 seconds so had no chance of making an impact.

LA Galaxy:

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  • Jaime Penedo (Goalkeeper) – 5/10 – He made a shocking error for the second goal. He didn’t have a terrible game beforehand but allowing an opposing player to dispossess you when you play in goal is unacceptable. He certainly won’t want to see it again.
  • Dan Gargan (Defender) – 6/10 – He linked up well with the Galaxy midfield but his positioning was questionable for the first goal and he’ll be disappointed that he wasn’t able to do more in order to prevent Marco Pappa.
  • Leonardo (Defender) – 6/10 – The Galaxy back line had relatively little to do throughout this game in terms of defensive work, so to concede two goals is disappointing for the centre-backs.
  • A. J. DeLaGarza (Defender) – 6/10 – He will be disappointed with how open they left themselves for the first goal with the game so delicately poised at 0-0.
  • Robbie Rogers (Defender) – 7/10 – One of the better performers on the day for LA Galaxy. He put in a real shift but to no avail.
  • Baggio Husidic (Midfielder) – 6/10 – He was reliable on the ball but struggled to make an impact from the wide areas.
  • Juninho (Midfielder) – 7/10 – The midfield maestro was strong in possession and shifted the ball about nicely but it wasn’t enough to carve an opening through the solid Sounders defence.
  • Marcelo Sarvas (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He battled well and his passing was brilliant. He didn’t shy away from challenges and provided great support for fellow midfielder, Juninho.
  • Stefan Ishizaki (Midfielder) – 6/10 – LA would have hoped for more from the Swede. His passing was disappointing for a position normally associated with accuracy. (70% accuracy according to whoscored.com)
  • Gyasi Zardes (Forward) – 6/10 – He made good runs in behind and worked tirelessly to create an opening but it wasn’t a good day to be playing up front for LA Galaxy with such limited opportunities.
  • Landon Donovan (Forward) – 6/10 – The club legend almost appeared to be trying too hard to make something happen for his side. You can’t fault his work-rate and effort, but it just didn’t come off for him in his final regular season game.
  • Alan Gordon (Forward) – 5/10 – LA Galaxy’s best chance of the game fell to his feet late on but it’s fair to say that he somewhat fluffed his lines.
  • Jose Villarreal (Forward) – 6/10 – He only entered the field of play for the last few minutes of the game so he couldn’t impose himself on the game.

Attentions will now turn to the playoffs for these two sides and there is a strong possibility that they could meet each other again in the Western Conference finals.

Which team will go further in the MLS Playoffs, Seattle Sounders or LA Galaxy?

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Player ratings: New York Red Bulls 1-3 Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew deservedly ran out 3-1 winners over New York Red Bulls on Sunday night with a brilliant performance that silenced the crowd.

How did each player fare at the Red Bull Arena?

New York Red Bulls:

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[Lloyd Sam: The stand-out player for New York Red Bulls]

  • Luis Robles (Goalkeeper) – 5/10 – It was a tough day at the office for the Red Bulls ‘keeper. He will be disappointed with the second goal after he managed to get a touch on it but couldn’t keep it out.
  • Armando (Defender) – 5/10 – The Spaniard was turned inside-out in the early stages and you could see that his confidence took a hit as he never really recovered from it.
  • Jamison Olave (Defender) – 5/10 – He tried hard but couldn’t stay consistent throughout the course of the game. He was a bit of a rabbit in the headlights for The Crew’s first goal and didn’t react quickly enough.
  • Richard Eckersley (Defender) – 6/10 – He didn’t have too bad a game but there was a breakdown in communication with his fellow defenders for the third goal which allowed too much time and space in the box for Columbus and particularly Schoenfeld.
  • Roy Miller (Defender) – 5/10 – He didn’t make any crucial errors but gave the ball away too frequently with a passing accuracy of just 72% (according to Squawka).
  • Dax McCarty (Midfielder) – 5/10 – He’s normally so reliable in the middle of the park but he was certainly not at his usual high standard and didn’t provide BWP with enough to feed off.
  • Eric Alexander (Midfielder) – 6/10 – It was a soft performance from Alexander as he allowed the Crew’s midfield to carve through the middle too easily without putting in enough challenges.
  • Lloyd Sam (Midfielder) – 8/10 – Easily the most creative player for the Red Bulls. He scored a wonderful solo goal and created numerous chances for New York. If there was any positives to take from the game, Sam’s performance is one of them.
  • Peguy Luyindula (Midfielder) – 5/10 – It was a very subdued display from Luyindula. He struggled to impose himself on the game and really was fairly ineffective.
  • Thierry Henry (Midfielder) – 6/10 – It’s strange to see a performance like this from the Frenchman because he wasn’t his usual self. He seemed to look slightly off the pace and confused by the quality of Columbus.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips (Forward) – 6/10 – He barely had a touch of the ball which is very disappointing considering that he is chasing down an MLS record for all-time top goalscorer in a regular season. With that said, the service from midfield left a lot to desire.
  • Ambroise Oyongo (Defender) – 7/10 – He was very influential when he came on and really brought New York to life. He was certainly one of the brightest sparks and tried his best to change the game.
  • Ruben Bover (Defender) – 6/10 – He didn’t stand a chance of impacting the game with only 11 minutes to do so.

Columbus Crew:

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[Ethan Finlay was outstanding for Columbus Crew]

  • Steve Clark (Goalkeeper) – 9/10 – A marvellous performance between the posts. He made countless brilliant saves and was dominant in the penalty area, claiming everything that came his way with confidence.
  • Bernardo Anor (Defender) – 7/10 – He joined in with attacks in the first half and helped overrun the Red Bulls defence down the flanks.
  • Hector Jimenez (Defender) – 7/10 – It’s so hard to criticise either of the Columbus centre-backs as they were both very good.
  • Michael Parkhurst (Defender) – 7/10 – Mr. Consistent at the back and once again, he was very solid.
  • Tyson Wahl (Defender) – 6/10 – He had a decent game but was beaten by Lloyd Sam far too easily for the goal.
  • Ethan Finlay (Midfielder) – 9/10 – It was a dream game for Finlay. He took his goal brilliantly and had wonderful build up play in the second half which lead to the third goal. He was a constant threat and looked dangerous throughout.
  • Federico Higuain (Midfielder) – 8/10 – He put in a real shift and had great link-up play with Finlay for the 3rd goal. A special mention must go to his fantastic passing accuracy of 91% (according to Squawka).
  • Justin Meram (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He wasn’t influential on the game but when you don’t seem to notice a player, it usually means they’re putting in a good, solid performance that’s free of mistakes.
  • Tony Tchani (Midfielder) – 8/10 – The definition of being a beast in the middle of the park. It was a Yaya Toure esque performance. He drove with the ball well and played a wonderful pass to Finlay for the second goal.
  • Wil Trapp (Midfielder) – 7/10 – Trapp was a real team player in a real team performance. He didn’t put a foot wrong for his side and covered every blade of grass.
  • Aaron Schoenfeld (Forward) – 9/10 – A superb performance, giving you everything you ask your centre-forward for – he ran the defence ragged and bagged himself two well taken goals.
  • Chad Barson (Defender) – 7/10 – He had a good performance to sure up the game for the Crew and stem the flow of New York attacks.
  • Emanuel Pogatetz (Defender) – 6/10 – The half-time substitute should have closed down Lloyd Sam quicker for his goal. Other than that, he did enough at the back.
  • Eric Gehrig (Defender) – 6/10 – A late substitute so he didn’t have an influence on the game. He didn’t make a mistake though and that’s the key.

New York Red Bulls will travel to Sporting Kansas City for their final game of the regular season next weekend, while Columbus Crew will host Philadelphia Union.

The pair are likely to meet in the MLS Playoffs as they are currently sitting in fourth and fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and New York will be disappointed to have lost their last home game of the season.

Who will get further in the MLS Playoffs – New York Red Bulls or Columbus Crew?