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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls

How did the Black & Gold players perform in the final game of 2018?

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-Columbus Crew SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Major League Soccer season came to a crashing end for Columbus Crew SC on Sunday night as the New York Red Bulls dispatched of the Black & Gold 3-0, giving the home side a 3-1 aggregate win in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In what was their final game as a team, how did the Columbus players perform?

Zack Steffen (5.5): It was a difficult night for the Crew SC goalkeeper. Steffen was not able to bail out his team, with only one save in the game, but also was not at fault for any of the three New York goals.

Harrison Afful (6.5): The Black & Gold fullback was active throughout the match attempting to push forward and give Columbus an attacking option on the right side. He had only two of his five crosses connect but was second on the team in tackles (4) and tied for the lead in interceptions (3).

Jonathan Mensah (7): It was a slow start for the center back, who looked nervy in the early stages of the game, especially with the ball. Jonathan settled in as the match went on and had eight clearances.

Gaston Sauro (6): Sauro did have six clearances in the game and three tackles but was not as good as he was in recent game. The center back was completely pulled out of position on the second goal and failed to make the tackle before a crucial pass.

Milton Valenzuela (6): The Columbus left back was not as impactful on the offensive end as usual with only five crosses. Defensively, he got beat a couple of times as well, which is not normal for Valenzuela.

Pedro Santos (6): It was another subpar performance from the winger. Santos has one shot and one key pass, but was not able to help spring Crew SC out of their defensive third nearly enough.

Artur (6): The Black & Gold central midfielder was forced into a much more defensive role against the Red Bulls. While he did lead the team in tackles with seven, he was exposed at times. When Artur was on the ball, he was efficient with it, completing 80.4 percent of his passes.

Wil Trapp (6.5): Like Artur, Trapp was kept in the defensive third most of the game. When Crew SC did get forward, Trapp was not his usual careful self with the ball, giving it away 25 percent of the time with no key passes.

Justin Meram (5.5): The winger tried to do too much in this game, looking to shoot and dribble too often when passing might have been the better option.

Federico Higuain (6): After what the midfield maestro did to the Red Bulls in 45 minutes of play in Leg 1, it was clear New York’s plan was to take him out of the game. They did that, as Higuain had just 41 touches and was less than impactful.

Gyasi Zardes (6): We learned after the game that Zardes was playing with a separated shoulder for this game after suffering the injury in practice. The forward was still active but only had two shots when Columbus needed goals.

Patrick Mullins (5.5): The forward came into the game with 12 minutes plus stoppage time to play and his team in need of goals. Mullins had a shot hit the crossbar but was not able to create much else in the way of chances.

Cristian Martinez (5): After not playing in nearly three months, it’s hard to be critical of the winger’s performance. He tried to provide a spark for Crew SC but was clearly rusty in his nine minutes.

Luis Argudo (5.5): The midfielder was a last-gasp hope for the Black & Gold in the final seven minutes. He recorded a shot and a key pass in that time.

Gregg Berhalter (5): In what could be his final game as Crew SC head coach, Berhalter’s team was not at its best. New York was able to do pretty much all they wanted and the Black & Gold had little answer to it. The changes came late and those off the bench had very little impact on the match.