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Game Grades: Crew SC at D.C. United

What each Black & Gold player did in the team’s third straight loss?

MLS: Columbus Crew at D.C. United Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC struggled with its third straight loss of the 2018 MLS season this Saturday as the Black & Gold were defeated by D.C. United 1-0 on the narrow and synthetic field of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

See how each Black & Gold player performed in the match:

Zack Steffen (5) – After his passing mistake last week, the goalkeeper was pressed by the D.C. players at the start of the match, but he did a fine job with his feet this time. The opponents scored on their only shot on target, but there was nothing Steffen could have done to avoid it.

Harrison Afful (6) – The fullback was easily Crew SC’s best player on the field. Afful pushed forward during the entire match and was one of the few to try something different than launching high crosses into the penalty box. The Ghanaian had two chances to score himself after corner kicks, but put too much power on his shots.

Jonathan Mensah (5.5) – With Crew SC chasing the score after the first minute, the veteran center back was not bothered much by D.C.’s forwards. Jonathan had 10 recoveries, most of them high up the field, and his only clearance in one of the quieter nights he ever had with the team.

Josh Williams (5) – Williams had an odd start of game, trying to connect several long passes early in the match. Similar to Jonathan, the center back didn’t have much work defensively, so he was mostly seen supporting the team’s offense in the second half, without much success, however.

Milton Valenzuela (4.5) – The young Argentinean was targeted by the opponent’s offense in the first minutes of the match and the goal happened on a play originated on his side of the field where it wasn't clear who he was defending whom. In the second half, Valenzuela played almost as winger, but couldn’t do much more than insist on crosses into the box.

Wil Trapp (5) – The captain had an off start as he decided to double press Paul Arriola near the sideline, but didn’t track him back when he assisted Ulises Segura for D.C’s goal. The midfielder connected 92.2 percent of his passes and found some good spots in the first half, but, as was the case with most of the team, couldn’t resist to the temptation of repeatedly cross the ball into the penalty box in the final half.

Artur (4.5) – It was one of the worst games of the Brazilian’s career for Crew SC as, despite having the ball on his feet for a good portion of the game, he couldn’t create much. The effort was there, as usual, but the efficiency was not the same.

Pedro Santos (6) – The Portuguese was one of the players who struggled the most early in the match. However, even on a rough night, when he was successful in just 72.7 percent of his passing attempts, he found ways to be dangerous, hitting the crossbar on a free kick and forcing a save from Steve Clark with a close hearder later in the match. He also led the team in shots with six.

Federico Higuain (4.5) – Pipa started the match moving around the field and looking for the ball, but after he received a silly yellow card for complaining to the referee, he vanished from the game. In the second half, when the team most needed his creativity, his best moments were on set pieces.

Cristian Martinez (4) – It was a rough night for the Panamanian, who had only 29 passes over the match and completed just 65.5 percent of them. Except from a long shot in the final minute of the first half, which happened to be Crew SC’s first attempt on target, he did nothing worth of note.

Gyasi Zardes (4) – In a game where the team needed to score from the first minute, you’d expect more from the striker than two shots and eight passes attempted in the entire match. Zardes was not fed properly, but he has the skills to help the team in different ways. On a positive note, he had a header that demanded great effort from Clark and a couple of hold up plays.

Adam Jahn (5) – The towering forward entered the game with the purpose of being a reference for crosses into the penalty box and he did create some trouble for D.C.’s defense, but his most dangerous shot was a goofy bicycle kick.

Mohammed Abu (4.5) – A great passer, the Ghanaian entered the match to improve the team’s distribution, but all he did was to try to cross the ball into the penalty box, what his teammates were already unsuccessfully attempting.

Hector Jimenez (5) – The versatile midfielder was subbed in with less than 10 minutes to play and he only had time to fire a short-distance shot right on Clark.

Gregg Berhalter (4) – The team’s inability to create better opportunities against an opponent that was a man down for 40 minutes was concerning, to say the least. The Crew should be able to do more than insistently cross the ball into the penalty box when up a man and looking for a goal. It’s also hard to understand how Niko Hansen wasn’t brought in at some point.