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LAFC game grades vs. Seattle Sounders

How the team’s positional units did in the first of the two-game set.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a sluggish performance mid-week against Vancouver, Los Angeles Football Club got back on track the best way they know how; with a dominant win against what many are calling the second-best team in the league, the Seattle Sounders.

On Sunday evening, a brace by Carlos Vela and individual goals by Christian Ramirez and Eduard Atuesta helped LAFC beat the Sounders, which was missing three starters, 4-1. Now let’s take a look at how the team performed on the field!

Goalkeeper

It was a relatively quiet night for LAFC’s goalkeeper Tyler Miller as Seattle only managed to produce six shots with a season low two on target. But as has been the case all season, Miller did just enough to help the black-and-gold get the win.

In the 14th minute he had a diving save, off a Kim Kee-hee header, that helped maintain their 1-0 lead.

It would be a while until Seattle got another opportunity at goal but when they did, they took advantage of it. In the 50th minute Miller found himself in a one-on-one situation with Seattle midfielder Harry Shipp who placed a shot low and away that gave Seattle their first and only goal of the night.

Overall Seattle, who was without forward Raul Ruidiaz, was very quiet on the offensive end leading to a slow night for Tyler Miller.

Grade: B+

Defense

Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour, and Jordan Harvey all returned to the starting line-up and LAFC fans could breathe and rejoice.

And alongside a very consistent Eddie Segura, the black-and-gold’s defense are proving to be one of the league’s most formidable backlines, far from what they were last year.

Beitashour was active up and down the right side all game and was constantly on the correct end of plays. Zimmerman’s height and aerial advantages proved to be huge as Seattle had a game-high 20 crosses, luckily none proved to be catastrophic for the black-and-gold.

The biggest mistake from the backline came via Jordan Harvey, who slipped in the 50th minute giving Shipp the clear angle for his goal. Nine games in and LAFC have allowed a league-low seven goals.

Grade: A-

Midfield

For 90 minutes the midfield controlled the pace, set the tone, and simply established dominance for LAFC.

Eduard Atuesta had a goal and an assist and the Colombian was crucial in preventing the Seattle midfielders from establishing any real threat.

Mark-Anthony Kaye had his best performance of the year with a three-assist game, which included a perfectly placed pass in-between four, yes four, Seattle players to find a streaking Vela who placed a rocket behind goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

And Lee Nguyen finally got back on the field in the 80th minute after missing the last six games with injury.

With Nguyen making his return, Blessing’s exceptional play in the midfield and Horta possibly coming back soon, it will be interesting to see what adjustments head coach Bob Bradley will make, if any at all.

Grade: A+

Forwards

After a slow start to the season, that came with moments of frustration for Ramirez, the Garden Grove native finally found his stride against Seattle. Ramirez took on a different approach, played down a lot more and was more involved with the offense.

This involvement led to a nice give and go, which started with an amazing back-heel pass to Kaye, that set him up to score his 2nd goal of the season.

On a night where everything went well for the black-and-gold it’s strange to see Diego Rossi have such a quiet game. He didn’t play part in any of the four goals scored, but he did ensure that the ball moved consistently from his side of the field to the other.

Vela scored a brace, but it could have instead been his second hat trick of the year. In the winding moments of the first half, the captain found himself in a one-on-one situation with Frei who stopped the Mexican’s winger shot.

Grade: A-

Coaching

Bob Bradley did an excellent job at sending out his best available players for a top of the West matchup.

And with a comfortable 4-1 lead, he subbed in Lee Nguyen to get some much-needed playing time. The black-and-gold executed their game plan perfectly against the sounders and it will be interesting to see how they fare at Century Link Field on Sunday.

Grade: A

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