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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders

How did Crew SC perform in the team’s first West Coast trip?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes a team goes on the road and gets a tie and that team and fanbase won’t feel great about the result. On Saturday, that was not the case as Columbus Crew SC, playing a man down for the better portion of the match, got a 0-0 tie at the Seattle Sounders... and there was much rejoicing.

While it wasn’t the prettiest match in Columbus history, it was a good result given the circumstances.

Let’s see how each Crew SC player performed in the contest:

Zack Steffen (8) - Once again, it wasn’t the busiest night for the Black & Gold goalkeeper. While the Sounders had 17 shots on Saturday afternoon, Seattle only managed one on goal. Unlike several recent games, that attempt did not go in thanks to Steffen. He also was good coming off his line to deny any attempts from the Sounders’ crosses.

Hector Jimenez (7) - Coming in for Harrison Afful, Jimenez put in his usual solid effort. He was good defending down the right-hand side and was occasionally involved in the attack. Basically, you got what you would expect from Jimenez.

Josh Williams (7) - When you get a shutout, the defenders typically are going to be rated decently high. Williams didn’t do much that stood out when watching the game, but did record one interceptions and six clearances.

Lalas Abubakar (7) - After a slow start, where Abubakar headed the ball backwards to the opposition multiple times, Lalas played a solid game. He finished with six interceptions and 11 clearances in helping Columbus shutout the Sounders.

Milton Valenzuela (8) - It was another beast of a performance from the 19-year-old left back. Although he missed a very good chance provided by Zardes, Valenzuela was a force defensively with six tackles, six interceptions and one clearance. His 63.6 percent passing was due largely to clearing the ball in the second half.

Cristian Martinez (6) - The winger returned to the starting lineup and looked dangerous early on, but was sacrificed 31 minutes in following the red card.

Wil Trapp (6) - Typically when you don’t hear a holding midfielder’s name mentioned during a match, it’s a good thing. In this case, it would have been nice to hear from Trapp more, as the team was defending frequently through the middle of the park.

Ricardo Clark (9) - For 66 minutes, Clark was the best player on the field for Crew SC. He only had one tackle and one clearance, but completed 90 precent of his passes and had 40 touches. In place of Artur, Clark was active in the attacking third, nearly setting up a goal in the first half.

Pedro Santos (4) - Although there wasn’t much time before his red card, Santos did not look his normal self. He completed only 40 percent of his passes and committed the foul that led to the sending off. If you don’t think his dismissal was the right call, think how you would feel with cleats to your face.

Federico Higuain (6) - I would have liked to see Pipa more involved, but going down to 10 men means he has to work more than normal defensively. Higuain had just two tackles and one clearance in this contest.

Gyasi Zardes (6) - As a forward, you’re largely judged on what you do in front of goal. Zardes had a great chance to put Crew SC up 1-0 when he was in behind the defense in the first half. He may have gotten tugged a bit in the penalty area, but put his shot wide nonetheless. He did almost set up Valenzuela for a goal later in the first half.

Alex Crognale (7) - Coming on just 31 minutes in due to the red card, Crognale was in the center of Columbus’ three-man backline. He didn’t have tackles in the middle, but did record seven clearances and one interception.

Mohammed Abu (6) - There was little wrong with Abu’s performance, but he wasn’t able to influence the game with only 22 touches as as second half substitute.

Adam Jahn (6) - With only 12 minutes to play, Jahn came on to help the team see out the match. He won four aerial duels and had one clearance, as well as a flick on that sent Jimenez in towards goal.

Gregg Berhalter (7) - When you lose a player so early in the match, the pre-game tactics go out the window. Berhalter adjusted, going to three in the back and managed to hold on and get a draw while also creating opportunities on the other end.