Columbus Crew SC said farewell to the 2017 MLS season as the team suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Toronto FC in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a close game, as in the first leg, and the Canadians took advantage of one opportunity to book their places in the MLS Cup Final for the second straight year.
See how each of Crew SC’s players rated in the match:
Zack Steffen (8.5) – Crew SC’s goalkeeper was again superb, keeping the team alive in the game by saving Eriq Vazquez’s penalty kick in the first half. There was nothing he could do to stop Jozy Altidore on Toronto’s goal, though.
Harrison Afful (5.5) – Playing in a more advanced role, Afful was allowed to make the most of his offensive skills, but didn’t create much from the right side. In the defensive end, though, he had a solid night.
Jonathan Mensah (6) – The Ghanaian was an anchor at Crew SC’s central defense with a game-high six clearances. However, he could have used his physical tools better against the diminutive Sebastian Giovinco and avoided his back heel pass on Altidore’s goal.
Josh Williams (5) – The veteran center back made a rookie mistake by dragging down Drew Moor inside the penalty box in the first half, but Crew SC got away with it thanks to Steffen.
Lalas Abubakar (5) – The biggest surprise of Crew SC’s lineup, the rookie did a good job for most of the game, protecting the left side of Columbus’ defense. He should have cleared the ball when it bounced in front of him before it got to Giovinco on Toronto’s goal, though.
Wil Trapp (5.5) – The captain had a quiet night, distributing the ball efficiently as usual and shielding the back line. He should find a way to use his passing skills to create in a larger volume to be a more impactful player.
Mohammed Abu (6) – Replacing the suspended Artur, the Ghanaian took good care of the ball with an astonishing 94 percent passing accuracy. His defensive contributions, though, were pale when compared to what the Brazilian usually does.
Pedro Santos (6.5) – Playing out of his original position, Santos did a decent job in the left side of the field. He tried to connect with Kamara in numerous crosses, but the new role kept him away from the box, limiting how dangerous he could be.
Federico Higuain (5.5) – Pipa was smart to find some pockets to operate in the start of the match, but his passing was not as calibrated as usual. As the match progressed, he struggled to find his spot in an overloaded midfield and couldn’t impact the game as he usually does.
Justin Meram (5) – The winger played in more of a central role in Gregg Berhalter’s formation and he covered a lot of ground, but was mostly ineffective, except for a great cross to Adam Jahn in the final minutes. A lethal finisher earlier in the season, he wasted two of Crew SC’s best opportunities, the first one with a sloppy touch.
Ola Kamara (5.5) – Kamara scored only one goal in the postseason and even if the entire team was not efficient offensively in the playoffs, that’s not what you expect from your top striker. Against Toronto, he had an excellent pass that let Meram in front of Bono, but missed a key opportunity in the final minutes.
Kekuta Manneh (6) – The winger came off the bench and tried to push the team forward with his runs. He managed to create some opportunities, but nothing to write home about.
Adam Jahn (7) – The towering striker was brought in with a single purpose: be a threat in the air. And he did that, deflecting a cross in the near post that Kamara failed to bury. It was good contribution from Jahn in limited time.
Hector Jimenez (N/A) – The versatile Jimenez entered the game in the final minutes without a clear purpose. He barely touched the ball in his few minutes in the field.
Gregg Berhalter (6.5) - His alternative lineup was effective through a good portion of the first half. It took him 13 minutes to make a substitution after the team conceded the goal, but Crew SC was not playing badly and had had plenty of chances to win the game. The fact that the team only scored once in five playoffs games is concerning though.