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Game Grades: Columbus Crew SC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Check out how each player performed as the Black & Gold had their first defeat in 2018.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps handed Columbus Crew SC its first setback of the 2018 MLS season as the Canadians prevailed 2-1 this Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium. It was an inconsistent match for the Black & Gold, who dominated the first half but had a subpar performance in the second portion of the game, allowing the visitors to come back and win the match.

We already know the collective performance was not good, so know check how each of Crew SC’s players rated in the match:

Zack Steffen (5.5) – The goalkeeper was not highly demanded during the match, recording only one save, and he did well most of the times when he needed to intervene. However, despite Ibini’s shot on Vancouver’s first goal not been an easy one to hold, he could have deflected the ball to a different direction than inside the penalty box.

Harrison Afful (5) – The fullback tried to push forward as he usually does and created a few good opportunities from the right side. In the defensive end, he was not challenged much and kept Brek Shea under control for most of the game, but left the winger with too much space on Vancouver’s first goal.

Jonathan Mensah (5) – The veteran commanded Crew SC’s back line and limited Kei Kamara’s actions for a good portion of the game. In the play that led to the game-winning goal, though, he should have ensured it would be him, and not Wil Trapp, defending the physical striker as Abubakar was outside the penalty box.

Lalas Abubakar (5.5) – The young center back had another solid possession game, again having the best passing rating on the team at 94.9 percent accuracy. In the first goal, Ibini progressed in the space left by Hector Jimenez, but better communication between them could have resulted in a more efficient coverage of the area.

Hector Jimenez (5) – The versatile player was the surprise of Berhalter’s lineup, occupying the left back spot. Jimenez had a solid first half, closing the space on defense and offering good options in the offensive field. He was too high up the field on Vancouver’s first goal, though, and that left the backline exposed to Ibini’s speed.

Wil Trapp (5.5) – Returning to the team after being with the U.S. National Team last week, the captain had the usual efficiency when passing the ball, but didn’t contribute much to the team offensively or defensively. He should never have been tasked with defending a much-taller Kamara inside the penalty box.

Artur (6) – The Brazilian was intense on both sides of the ball as usual, leading the team in passes (92) and shots (3) and recording two interceptions. He showed good movement inside the penalty box on set pieces, but his heading skills are still a work in progress. He had the team’s best scoring opportunity in the second half, when he hit the crossbar in the final minutes.

Pedro Santos (6.5) – The Portuguese winger was very active in the offensive end, creating chances from both sides. He looks more confident this season and his long-distance shots can become an interesting weapon for Crew SC, as was the case on the team’s goal.

Federico Higuain (5) – It was not the best of the days for Pipa, who tried to be the center piece of Crew SC’s offensive system, but couldn’t find his teammates in good positions too often. His finishing skills were a little off as well, as he fired a couple of shots from inside the penalty box way over the goal.

Cristian Martínez (5.5) – The Panamanian showed his habitual energy and drifted inside more often than usual, creating space for the fullbacks. He had a few interesting runs with the ball around the penalty box, but couldn’t create real chances from them.

Gyasi Zardes (7) – The striker was not much involved on Crew SC’s offensive plays, recording only nine passes during the entire match. However, he showed great presence inside the penalty box on the team’s goal and converted the only shot he had.

Milton Valenzuela (5.5) – The Argentinean left back was called upon during the second half and had a couple of good runs a few minutes after he entered the match, but didn’t create much beyond that.

Adam Jahn (5) – The striker entered the match with eight minutes left and tried to provide some presence inside the penalty box, but wasn’t fed enough to put the Whitecaps under pressure.

Luis Argudo (N/A) – The rookie had only seven minutes and three touches to show something.

Gregg Berhalter (5) – The team’s first half was solid, but the drop of performance in the second was remarkable and that has been a dangerous trend for Crew SC in 2018. The team was not effective offensively, having only two shots on target the entire match, and looked unorganized defensively, conceding goals in situations when there were more defenders than attackers inside the penalty box.