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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls

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Check out the individual ratings of the players in the massive home victory.

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

Fatigue was not enough to stop Columbus Crew SC as the Black & Gold pulled out a 1-0 home victory over the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals round. It was a team victory more than anything, but that’s how each played performed individually:

Zack Steffen (8.5) – The goalkeeper was huge in Crew SC’s victory as he was at times the last barrier between Red Bull players and the net. The shot stopper had four saves during the entire game and the most spectacular was the one at the 90th minute on a point-blank header from Bradley Wright-Phillips. He was also lucky that a header from Tim Parker hit his head and bounced off the goal.

Harrison Afful (6.5) – The fullback might have struggled a little bit with fatigue as he was less active than usual, completing just five crosses in the entire match. He held his own defensively, however, and played a smart offensive game, yet a less intense one.

Jonathan Mensah (8) – The Ghanaian continues his great form as he led Crew SC’s defense to a shutout against the best team in the history of the MLS regular season. Jonathan had a team-high five clearances and at least a couple of crucial sliding interceptions inside the penalty box.

Josh Williams (7) – The veteran had a solid night playing alongside Jonathan and was important on limiting the Red Bulls’ opportunities. Williams was also brought in to help the team in building out of the back and he did a decent job on that, recording 53 passes, the most for the entire team.

Milton Valenzuela (7) – As Afful, the young Argentinean had his impact in the game limited by the team’s untraditional lineup, but he still had solid numbers, recording four crosses, two tackles and two clearances. He also initiated the play that led in the game-winning goal.

Wil Trapp © (7.5) – The captain was a stud in the center of the field. Trapp was very active on the defensive end, finishing the game with a team-high five interceptions and two tackles. He did a fine job when distributing the ball as well, especially with long passes.

Artur (7) – The Brazilian was very important to keep the intensity level high in the midfield with several teammates fatigued. Artur had four interceptions that helped the team to battle for the control of the actions and also played a solid passing game, connecting 80.5 percent of his passes.

Luis Argudo (6) – The rookie was called upon in a huge moment of the season and did a decent job. He wasn’t much involved in the team’s offensive actions, but took good care of the ball when he was in the field.

Justin Meram (7) – The winger played an important role in the first half as he carried most of the offensive load with some dangerous runs when the team had an unusual formation on the field. His level understandably dropped in the second part of the game.

Gyasi Zardes (7.5) – The striker was placed a little bit out of position in the first half and he struggled when he had to get more involved in the game, converting just 46.7 percent of his passes. In the second half, back at his natural spot, he was huge by scoring the game-winning goal and creating havoc to the Red Bulls’ defense with smart movement.

Patrick Mullins (5.5) – The backup forward was given the start in an unusual two-striker formation and he struggled to get to the ball, leaving at halftime with just one shot and four passes.

Federico Higuain (8.5) – Pipa came in at halftime after playing 120 minutes on Thursday and showed how he can impact the time even in limited time. His back heel assist to Zardes was gorgeous and he had a couple of other dangerous passes.

Pedro Santos (6.5) – The Portuguese recovered well from what seemed to be a serious injury on Thursday and managed to help the team for 24 minutes. He had a good chance to score in the final minutes, but Luis Robles denied it with a great save.

Lalas Abubakar (N/A) – The defender came in to play the last four minutes and helped the team securing the victory.

Gregg Berhalter (8) – This match was another display of the knowledge level he possesses of his roster. Even with several players fatigued, Berhalter was able to send two different, but equally competitive lineups on to the field against the best team in MLS’s regular season history. He knew exactly what each played could provide and set up a perfect game plan against a strong opponent.