Columbus Crew SC kicked off the MLS Eastern Conference Finals with a scoreless draw against Toronto FC at MAPFRE Stadium. The Black & Gold played a decent match, with most of the players performing at a good level against the Supporters’ Shield winner.
See how each of Crew SC’s players was rated in the match:
Zack Steffen (6.5) – The 22-year-old goalkeeper couldn’t have had a quieter night with Toronto failing to record a single shot on target during the entire match. Steffen was composed when he had to use his feet and that was pretty much all he had to do during the match.
Harrison Afful (7.5) – The right back pushed offensively and had probably Crew SC’s best opportunity late in the game when a ball that was cleared by a Toronto defender fell to his feet inside the box, but he fired it right on Alex Bono’s hands. Defensively, he did a pretty job on holding Justin Morrow to a quiet night.
Jonathan Mensah (7) – The Ghanaian center back had a solid night, preventing Tosaint Ricketts from getting long balls on the break. Strong on the field and in the air, he led the team with six clearances and added two interceptions.
Josh Williams (7) – As with Jonathan, Williams was steady during the match and kept Ricketts and Victor Vazquez under control. The veteran center back also had six clearances to go with two tackles and one interception.
Jukka Raitala (6) – In the starting lineup for the first time since the knockout round against Atlanta United, Raitala did a solid defensive job by closing the space on his side of the field. Offensively, though, the Finnish defender didn’t provide much to the team offensively.
Wil Trapp (6.5) – The captain did a fine job shielding the backline with three interceptions and two tackles and eventually sliding in between the center backs to start plays. His passing, even if efficient as usual, did not cause much trouble to the Canadians though.
Artur (7.5) – The Brazilian played an important role by taking much on Toronto’s space in the center of the field and leading Crew SC in tackles (6) and interceptions (4). He also had a good offensive run in the second half, but his long shot was a little bit wide. He also picked up a yellow card that will see him miss the second leg.
Pedro Santos (7) – The Portuguese winger used his technical skills to break Toronto’s defense out, but, despite being fouled in dangerous spots, was not able to finish efficiently or create much for his teammates. Santos was probably Crew SC’s best offensive player in the match though, with a team-high four shots.
Federico Higuain (6.5) – Pipa started the game moving well on both sides of Crew SC’s offensive half and later dropped a little bit deeper. He had the ball a lot, leading the team with 78 touches, and tried to use his flair to create chances, but just could not find breaches on Toronto’s defensive system.
Justin Meram (5.5) – It was a weird game from Meram, who led the team in turnovers (4) and did not have his best night. He had a good opportunity in the last minutes, but couldn’t convert it on what was his only shot in the game. He tried to compensate in the defensive end of the ball, though, helping the team with four tackles.
Ola Kamara (5) – The striker showed good attitude in the beginning of the game, dropping deeper to get the ball and putting pressure on Toronto’s defenders. He didn’t see much of the ball later, though, and wasted two good opportunities with a weird header in the first half and hitting Drew Moor’s body with a shot when Bono was not in the goal in the second.
Kekuta Manneh (6) – The winger entered the match with 12 minutes to play and fired a dangerous long-distance shot right off the bat. His aggressiveness, even if sometimes not productive, helped the team to make a push in the end of the match.
Gregg Berhalter (6) – Crew SC adapted pretty quickly to Toronto’s 4-1-4-1 system and had the match under control for most of the time. The team was not able to create many opportunities, though. He might have waited a little too much to bring Manneh in, but there was not an obvious change to be made at that point.