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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. Atlanta United

As the team’s undefeated streak came to an end, we see how each Black & Gold player performed.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC’s undefeated streak ended after nine matches, as the Black & Gold was defeated by Atlanta United 2-0 on Wednesday night at MAPFRE Stadium. It was one of those matches where Columbus limited its opponents’ goal-scoring opportunities but didn’t create much on the other end and was punished.

Check out how each Crew SC player performed in the team’s first setback since April:

Zack Steffen (6) – It was an odd return for the goalkeeper, who had his shutout streak cut short after 525 minutes but really couldn’t do much to avoid it. Steffen recorded just one save in the entire match, but can’t be blamed for either of Atlanta’s goals.

Harrison Afful (5) – The Ghanaian had an unusual first half as, tasked with defending Ezequiel Barco, he barely crossed the midfield line and didn’t add much offensively. With the team trailing in the second half he pushed forward more often, but his greatest contribution was a long pass that found Valenzuela in good position inside the penalty box.

Jonathan Mensah (6) – Returning to the starting lineup after four matches, the World Cup veteran showed good defensive positioning and managed to get a team-high four interceptions. He had Crew SC’s best opportunity to score in the first half, but placed his header way too wide.

Lalas Abubakar (6.5) – It was a solid night for the young center back, who not only led the team in tackles (6), clearances (6) and interceptions (4) but also had a team high 93.8 percent passing accuracy. His only bad moment in the entire match was a mistimed anticipation on Miguel Almiron that left the Paraguayan with tons of space, but it didn’t cause trouble to the team.

Milton Valenzuela (5) – With Afful stuck on defense, the Argentinean pushed forward more often than usual and did his best to create opportunities, but his crosses were not accurate at all. He had a dangerous run inside the penalty box late in the second half, but his pass to Zardes was a little too strong.

Wil Trapp © (5) – The captain’s return stabilized Crew SC’s passing ability out of the back, which was important against a team that likes to counter attack. His defensive contributions were pale, however, and he didn’t notice Tito Villalba’s run behind him on the second goal.

Artur (5) – The Brazilian was the one to lose Josef Martinez on the corner kick on Atlanta’s first goal and he couldn’t recover in time to stop the Venezuelan’s header. He led the team in touches, but the long balls he tried to connect mainly with Afful were not accurate enough.

Pedro Santos (4) – It wasn’t a good night for the Portuguese who had only 26 touches and registered just over a 71 percent accuracy rate. He didn’t manage to even be dangerous on set pieces or to make his usually important actions on the defensive side of the ball.

Federico Higuain (5.5) – The Argentinean veteran found some space to play in the center of the field and managed to connect some good passes, especially targeting Zardes early in the match. Pipa was also solid on set pieces, but his performance dropped significantly in the second half when the team struggled the most to break Atlanta’s defense.

Cristian Martinez (5.5) – The young winger had an active start of match and used his pace to draw yellow cards on both Michael Parkhurst and Mikey Ambrose within the first 25 minutes. Despite that, his intensity didn’t turn into goal scoring opportunities for the Crew and he was subbed off halfway in the second half.

Gyasi Zardes (5.5) – The forward’s good movement inside the penalty box granted him some opportunities to score, but his finishing ability just wasn’t there either with his feet or his head. In the second half, he was a little too late to tap a Valenzuela cross in that could have tied the match.

Luis Argudo (6) – The rookie came off the bench and displayed a good amount of his versatility playing wide in the left wing. He created the team’s best chance to score in an individual play and was just stopped by Brad Guzan.

Eduardo Sosa (5.5) – The Venezuelan entered the match in a moment when the Crew needed to push forward and even playing on the right wing, not his usual spot, he managed to have good moments and draw a dangerous foul just outside the penalty box.

Adam Jahn (N/A) – The forward was subbed in with just seven minutes to go and didn’t even get to touch the ball.

Gregg Berhalter (6) – The Crew was outplayed by Atlanta in the first half and even if the team didn’t allow many opportunities to its opponent, it didn’t create many either. The coach tried to change things during the second half by putting Sosa and Argudo on the field, but the finishing issues were still there.