Winning on the road in Major League Soccer is always an accomplishment. Columbus Crew SC managed that feat on Saturday night at the New England Revolution thanks to a thunderous header nearly at the death. While it certainly was not the best game the Black & Gold have played this season, the team earned three hard fought points away from MAPFRE Stadium and extended the the current unbeaten run to six games.
Here is how the team graded in the 1-0 victory over the Revolution:
Zack Steffen (8) - For the fourth game in a row, the Crew SC goalkeeper did not have to pick the ball out of the net with another consecutive shutout. Steffen recorded six saves in the contest, helping Columbus to another win.
Harrison Afful (7) - The Black & Gold right back had another solid outing. He was active offensively, with two shots and one key pass, while also making two interceptions, two clearances and one tackle.
Jonathan Mensah (7) - A year ago, Crew SC fans were worried about mistakes at the back from the center back. Now Jonathan is a consistent rock defensively. He made four tackles and had five clearances, while also completed 90.6 of his passes.
Lalas Abubakar (9) - Columbus’ man of the match not only scored the only goal of the game, but also was solid defensively. The second-year player had two clearances and two interceptions and won all eight of of his aerial duels, including the header he put in the back of the net.
Milton Valenzuela (7) - It was not the best offensive game for the young left back, who was used more defensively against the Revolution. The good news is Valenzuela defended well with seven interceptions and three tackles.
Niko Hansen (6) - After coming off the bench and registering an assist last week, the second-year winger struggled in this match. He was not on the ball enough, with only 29 touches.
Artur (7) - The Brazilian midfielder was once again a steady presence in the middle of the field for Crew SC. He had four tackles and one interception, as well as two key passes and one shot.
Wil Trapp (8) - Any time the Black & Gold holds an opponent scoreless, Trapp is a key figure. Patrolling the defensive midfield, the Crew SC captain had five had five tackles, three clearances and completed 93.3 percent of his passes.
Luis Argudo (6) - The rookie made his second start, this time on the wing. He was not too involved, recording 58 total touches and committing three fouls.
Federico Higuain (7) - Columbus’ playmaker registered the lone assist in the game and was active with three key passes and one shot.
Gyasi Zardes (7) - The Crew SC forward isn’t going to score every week, but Zardes remained active with five shots and three clearances.
Cristian Martinez (6) - In just over 30 minutes of play off the bench, the winger had only 17 touches and completed only 28.6 percent of his passes.
Mike Grella (6) - Coming on in the 67th minute, Grella did not have much impact on the match. He was taken back out following the goal to add a defensive presence.
Josh Williams (N/A) - Williams came on for Grella with one minute to play, just to add another defender.
Gregg Berhalter (7) - Crew SC won on the road, so it’s hard to complain about the head coach’s tactics.