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Game Grades: Columbus Crew SC at Chicago Fire

How did the Black & Gold players perform in the team’s second consecutive setback?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

It was one of those nights when things didn’t go right for Columbus Crew SC. The team dominated the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, but a defensive mistake was enough to give the hosts a 1-0 victory and the Black & Gold their second consecutive defeat in the season.

Check how each Crew SC player rated in the match:

Zack Steffen (4) – The goalkeeper made a sloppy mistake that costed the team at least one point on the road. Zack seems a little off his best game since he returned from the U.S. Men’s National Team and Crew SC needs him back at his best as soon as possible.

Harrison Afful (5) – The right-back had a quiet first half, but was more active offensively in the second part of the game, when Crew SC was looking for an equalizer. He tried some crosses, fed Higuain with a good long ball and had a dangerous shot in the final minutes.

Jonathan Mensah (6) – The center back had a stable night, dominating Nikolic with several tackles and interceptions around and inside the penalty box. He was also very efficient when passing the ball. Jonathan was replaced in the final minutes, when the team tried to push for a late goal.

Josh Williams (5.5) – The veteran got his first start in 2018 and had a scary moment early in the match, giving the ball away in a dangerous spot. After that, he took care of his business, reacting effectively every time he needed and trying to push the team forward in the final minutes.

Milton Valenzuela (5.5) – The Young Designated Player returned to the starting lineup and played below his usual level in the first half, except for a vital tackle in the final minutes. He was more active in the second half and fed Hansen with a good pass inside the box, besides of some crosses.

Wil Trapp (6) – Trapp had a good defensive performance in the first half and was accurate as usual when passing the ball. In the second half, he was pushed to a more offensive positon and created what was arguably Crew SC’s best chance to even the match in a long pass that found Zardes inside the box.

Artur (5) – The midfielder wasted a clear early opportunity that could have changed the story of the game, but kept pushing forward. He wasn’t as active as usual in the center of the field, though, and got a yellow card in the first minutes of the second half that made him be replaced.

Pedro Santos (6) – The Portuguese was tactically important, as usual, and helped the team to create a few good chances in the offensive end. He recovered several balls in different spots of the field and almost tied the match with a shot from outside the box near the end.

Federico Higuain (5) – On his 150th MLS regular season start, Pipa was dropping a little deeper than he usually does, but he managed to create some chances early in the game with his long-distance passes. He struggled for a good portion of the game, not being involved or connecting passes, but became more active in the end, helping the team to create some chances.

Cristian Martínez (5) – The young winger was very active in the left side and used his pace to create some dangerous goal opportunities for Crew SC. He could have passed the ball a little faster, however.

Gyasi Zardes (5.5) – The forward’s good movement and positioning keep generating great chances for him inside the box, but it would be great if he could convert them more often. Zardes was very unlucky to see a very good shot hit the crossbar and bounce outside the goal in the second half.

Niko Hansen (6) – The second-year winger entered the match in good form and had a good opportunity to score on his first play. After that, he had another dangerous shot and scored a goal that was disallowed due to offside.

Mohammed Abu (6) – The Ghanaian helped to improve the distribution out of the back, but also helped the team offensively. He fired a beautiful shot from outside the box that hit the post in one of the team’s best chances.

Adam Jahn (N/A) – The forward came in late to be part of Crew SC’s final push, but didn’t have time to do much.

Gregg Berhalter (6) – It was a weird match, in which Crew SC outplayed the Fire in every significant aspect of the game, but failed to translate its dominance in a result. Even though Chicago’s game-winning goal was caused by an individual mistake, it happened as an outcome of his playing system. His substitutions were efficient, as both Hansen and Abu helped the team offensively.