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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. Orlando City

How did the players and coach perform in Sunday’s surprising loss?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC had a surprising setback on Sunday afternoon when the Black & Gold lost 2-1 to Eastern Conference bottom feeders Orlando City SC. The Lions hadn’t won a game since the middle of July, yet found a way to defeat a Columbus side expecting to clinch a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs.

Here’s how each Black & Gold player fared in Orlando:

Zack Steffen (7) The Crew SC goalkeeper did well on his return from international duty. Steffen made five saves, multiple of the diving variety, and the only two goals he allowed came from penalty kicks.

Harrison Afful (6) Afful did not have his best game for the Black & Gold on Sunday. He had two shots, one on goal, but neither trouble the keeper. Only one of his three crosses found the mark. The team could have used more from it’s right wingback.

Jonathan Mensah (6) Jonathan had three clearances in the match but no tackles and no interceptions. He picked up a yellow card for an elbow that will cost him to miss the regular season finale.

Gaston Sauro (6) Despite conceding the first penalty kick with a hand ball, Sauro played decently for Crew SC. He had five tackles, three interceptions and four clearances at center back.

Milton Valenzuela (6) Like Afful opposite him, Valenzuela did not add enough to the attack for Columbus. The young left back had only 64 touches and two crosses in 90 minutes of play.

Niko Hansen (5) Playing for Justin Meram, Hansen wasn’t nearly visible enough on the right side of the midfield for Crew SC. He had only 25 touches in 65 minutes of play, one shot and completed just 61.5 percent of his passes.

Artur (6) The central midfielder played well for the Black & Gold, completing a team-high 90.9 percent of his passes. Unfortunately, Artur was not able to do much offensively with just one shot and no key passes.

Wil Trapp (6) Another player for Columbus who played fine but could have been more involved in the game. Trapp saw plenty of the ball in the middle of the field but was not good enough defensively on the final Orlando attack and committed the foul that led to the winning penalty kick.

Pedro Santos (6) Fans continue to be fed up with Santos because of his lack of scoring but he is doing other things. He had three tackles in this game, one key pass and one accurate long ball.

Federico Higuain (7) It was one of the better performances in a while for Crew SC’s midfield maestro who scored the goal on a well-taken free kick. He completed nearly 80 percent of his passes but could still move the ball quicker.

Gyasi Zardes (5) Zardes’ day would have been much different if he were able to get his foot on a ball played into him in the penalty box in the first half and direct it home. Instead, he had just 18 touches and one shot for a team that needs him scoring right now.

Edward Opoku (5) Coming on with 25 minutes to play, the speedy winger was not a factor in the closing portions of the game. Opoku had no shots and one cross and did not use his speed to go at the Orlando backline.

Hector Jimenez (6) In 17 minutes of play off the bench, Jimenez was able to get one cross in and make eight passes to go along with three clearances.

Patrick Mullins (N/A) Mullins saw the field with just three minutes left in the game and only had two touches.

Gregg Berhalter (4) The Crew SC head coach said after the game that Justin Meram was unavailable due to an agreement in the trade with Orlando. Even if that was the case, his substitutions were strange (replacing a defender for a defender and not bringing on a second forward until the dying moments despite needing a goal) and the team lacked the motivation of a group that needs wins to close out the regular season.