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MLS Post-Mortem: Sounders, RBNY impress in week 9

The Red Bulls and Sounders were among the teams earning good wins in MLS week nine.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Sounders show progress

The Seattle Sounders were able to get the full three points against Columbus Crew SC at home thanks to a late goal from Jordan Morris, who has now scored three times in three games and is hitting his stride in his rookie season.

It wasn't always the prettiest game, but it did the job for the Sounders. They decided to start Aaron Kovar on the wing opposite Herculez Gomez with Morris at center forward and Clint Dempsey behind him. They were consistently on the attack—Kovar looked promising—and Morris was a threat all game for the Crew defense.

But too often, the Homegrown striker dropped deep in the midfield alongside Dempsey, taking away the threatening diagonal runs he often makes. Without a forward at times, Seattle's attack went stagnant. Morris has to stay forward more often rather than going after the ball.

Part of the reason he did that was the lack of a creator behind him. Dempsey won't do it, Osvaldo Alonso certainly won't do it, and Cristian Roldan often seemed too tentative to make a really threatening pass. Sometimes, he seemed under direction to keep things under wraps, because he never did anything in terms of chance-creation.

His passing chart shows as much:

Roldan was clearly very active. But he didn't do enough in the final third.

Still, there were positives for Seattle. They have plenty of good options—Andreas Ivanschitz wasn't fit for this game—and they have a system that works. Morris will only get better.

RBNY impress

I thought FC Dallas would get their act back together against the New York Red Bulls on Friday following a 3-0 loss in Vancouver. As it turns out, I was wrong, as the Red Bulls dominated in a 4-0 victory.

Dallas have concerns now that they have lost games 5-0, 4-0 and 3-0 this season. But it's RBNY who are the story after this game. They are looking closer to last year's Supporters' Shield team, and are adjusting well to the difficulties that plagued them early on in the season.

Particularly, the attack has become sharper, faster and more intricate, finishing well and showing lots of skill in their four goal showing against FCD. Their first goal exemplified how they have improved:

I don't know about you, but I could watch that for hours. It was perfect.

That kind of creativity—straight off the training ground—has been huge for the Red Bulls in the last two weeks. They look more threatening on goal and are creating chances from all over the field, whether individually or with good team build-up. The backline, which was killed by injuries early on, has clearly gotten more organized and will be helped greatly by the veteran presence of Aurelien Collin, acquired from Orlando City this week.

New York shut down the FC Dallas attack expertly. Coach Jesse Marsch clearly had a plan and his team executed it well; they came out looking to crowd the area around the box to take passing lanes away from talented no. 10 Mauro Diaz, who failed to do much of anything in terms of chance creation, and they constantly double-teamed speedy winger Fabian Castillo.

Take a look at this sequence:

Dax McCarty does well against Diaz, and Felipe is smart as a second defender. The Argentine playmaker is stifled, and Castillo is then triple-teamed. Dallas's top two attackers were effectively taken out of the game in this way.

It was a great victory for RBNY. It looks like they're back.

Other notes:

—D.C. United earned a nice away point in rainy Chicago. Luciano Acosta started, and while they didn't exactly put on an offensive master-class, it was progress. A good result for D.C., while the Fire will be left disappointed.

—David Villa and NYCFC got a much-needed three points. They're not out of the woods yet, but New York City FC got a nice victory at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Villa scored twice, and is proving his worth as a DP unlike the ever-injured Frank Lampard.

—The Portland Timbers earned a good home win against Toronto FC. TFC finally end their endless road trip, accumulating an impressive 11 points during the stretch.