Stud and Duds from Sounders 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnatio

The most glaring statistic in the Sounders loss to FC Cincinnati was twelve shots and just one of those was on target. Against a compact and disciplined  FC Cincinnati team with a back five the Sounders fast-paced transition offense was slowed to a pedestrian pace. Add the self-inflicted wounds it’s no wonder this week’s version of studs and duds has more duds than studs for the first time all season.



As a whole, the midfielders never found their rhythm. Albert Rusnak, Joao Paulo, and Nicolas  Lodeiro were invisible for the majority of the game.  Cristian Roldan was the only player who played with purpose, spoiler alert see below  .

Albert Rusnak

While he ran up and down the pitch Rusnak was the most part ineffective in the final third.He played too far up the pitch and crowded the space between the striker and Cristian Roldan. In the first two games, he played more central right. Part of his wondering was due to Lodeiro switching from side to side and leaving a gaping hole in the middle on offense.

Nicolas Lodeiro

Lodeiro went to an old tendency. Last year Lodeiro drifted from left midfield to right midfield and left a gaping hole for either Jordan Morris or Cristian Roldan to fill in.  Both Morris and Roldan tried to stay wide to create space so the space vacated by Lodeiro left a big hole in the middle. In the first two games, Joao Paulo was able to push up and fill in the space to provide an outlet pass option.

 FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta’s movement and ball handling made life difficult for Paulo who had to stay home and help on defense.

Lodeiro did have a bright moment early in the game.  Cristian Roldan’s pass to Jordan  Morris who nearly scored in the 14th minute came from Lodeiro. Lodeiro was credited with a shot on goal in the 98th minute. So make that two bright spots. Against LAFC the Sounders will need Lodeiro to stay in the middle of the pitch and play distributor


While it is not completely his fault Montero was invisible for most of his shift as the starting lone striker. If the midfield is unable to get Montero in an advanced position it is difficult for him to run past defenders for long distances like he used to do.  Montero is still dangerous as a striker and despite his age is one of the most technically gifted players the Sounders have. The closer he gets the ball to the goal the more dangerous he is.


The two late giveaways late in the game were too much for the Sounders to overcome. First, it was Stefan Frei who gifted  FC Cincinnati the ball and were it not for a  brilliant play by Yeimar the Sounders could have easily been down 1-0. A consecutive giveaway by Nouhou further up the pitch ended in heartbreak and disaster.  I blame the players but I am also blaming the coaches for not instructing the players to boot the ball upfield.  FC Cincinnati like everyone in MLS is aware that the Sounders like to play from the back. Putting on the high press in the last fifteen minutes of the game was great coaching by FC Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan a former Sounder.



Whether by design or accident  Center back Yeimar was an offensive force from the back. His breakup of a Cincinnati attack resulted in a yellow card for Acosta in the 38th minute. In the 60th minute, his header was blocked and nearly hit the frame of the goal.  His pursuit of Cincinnati midfielder Brenner in the 62nd minute temporarily rescued the Sounders after Frei’s giveaway. While his 90th-minute equalizing goal was disallowed a VAR check Yeimar had another header that  was close in the 97th minute


The game and the Sounder’s offense saw a dramatic change with the insertion of Ruidiaz in the 58th minute of the game. Rudiaz’s movement as the striker provided an outlet for the Sounder’s wingers and midfield. Feeling some kind of way Ruidiaz had back-to-back shot attempts in the 78th and 79th minutes of the game. His interception of a  back pass from  Brandon Vazquez to Nick Hagglund resulted in Hagglund being issued a red card.


CRoldan was all over the field. His pass to Morris early in the game almost resulted in a goal. In the 23rd minute, his break up of FC Cincinnati’s attack by Acosta allowed Alex to gather the deflected pass then draw a foul  on Cincinnati’s Alvaro Barrel

Second half 46th-minute mark he kept Nouhou’s cross with a flick to his brother who then passed it to Alex who rolled it for Joao Paulo who ended up giving the ball away after a bad first touch.  Morris was open in the Center a first touch might have been the better play.


While I am not one to criticize the coaching staff, I do wonder why Rauil Ruidiaz did not start the game. Maybe it was the load management schedule that makes sense. My biggest question is was not to switch the formation 4-4-2 to counter FC Cincinnati’s potent attack from the middle. And the last one is what’s wrong with kicking the ball from the back line when under siege? Plenty of lessons to be learned and better learn them sooner than later.

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