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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire

How the Black & Gold’s reserves performed in the team’s U.S. Open Cup match.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Columbus Crew SC vs Chicago Fire Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC used a reserve lineup to face the Chicago Fire in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Black & Gold were defeated in an unbelievable penalty kick shootout after a 2-2 tie following regular and extra times to wave goodbye to the tournament in what was a rare opportunity to see the reserve part of the roster on the field in an actual match.

Result apart, here is how each player performed in the setback:

Logan Ketterer (5.5) – The young goalkeeper did a fine job for mostly in his first match for Crew SC. He was very safe when he made an impressive safe with his feet in a short-distance finish from Luis Solignac and deflected a header from Bastian Schweinsteiger near the end of regulation. In extra time, however, he could have better handled the cross that landed on Nemanja Nikolic’s feet on his second goal.

Connor Maloney (5) – The second-year fullback, who played his first match in 2018, was targeted by Chicago’s offense at the start of the game and responded well, with good defensive actions inside the penalty box. He pushed forward more frequently in the second half, but couldn’t put himself in a good spot to cross or shoot.

Alex Crognale (5.5) – The center back built on his good performance last weekend and had a solid match for most of the time with good positioning to stop Chicago’s counter attacks and remarkable confidence on the ball. He lost Nikolic inside the penalty box on the play that resulted on Chicago’s first goal.

Gastón Sauro (6) – It was the first start for the Argentinean since October 2016 and, all things considered, it was a nice display during the 77 minutes he stayed on the field as he managed to make important recoveries inside the penalty box and some clearances in the air. He was beaten off the run by Solignac in dangerous spots a couple of times, but the team got away with it both times.

Hector Jimenez © (5) – It was a standard appearance for the veteran, who wore the captain’s armband and displayed his usual low-profile, high-efficiency game at the left back spot. After a quiet first half offensively, he combined with Martínez for good plays in the second part of the game and finished one of them a little too high. His shot in the penalty kick shootout was not good either.

Mohammed Abu (6) –The Ghanaian did a good job in the center of the field in a rare match where he received an opportunity in 2018 by playing a simple game, with smart and accurate passes to his teammates. He was also efficient when stopping Chicago’s attempts.

Luis Argudo (6) – The rookie managed to help the team on both sides of the ball with his good dynamic, but could have supported Sosa better in creating chances in the first half. He loosened up a little bit in the second part and had some dangerous runs into the penalty box. Other than that, he showed big personality on his penalty kick chip attempt.

Niko Hansen (5) – It was a night of ups and downs for the winger, who showed good work rate to recover the ball in the attacking third and great vision to assist Martínez on Crew SC’s first goal, but he also wasted some opportunities due to bad execution.

Eduardo Sosa (6) – The Venezuelan made his first start for Crew SC and showed he can be dangerous with his runs and dribbles, but failed to connect the final pass a handful of times. He also tried some shots from outside the penalty box, with no success. His ability to accelerate the game can become an asset for this team later in the season.

Cristian Martínez (7) – The Panamanian was Crew SC’s most active player in the match, scoring a goal and firing a dangerous shot in the first 10 minutes. He showed good composure to score, but made a bad decision a few minutes later and wasted what could be a good chance. In extra time, he assisted on Jahn’s goal in a very important moment.

Adam Jahn (6) – Surrounded by much faster teammates, the striker struggled to find his role in the team’s offense in the first half. He got more involved early in the second part of the match, but failed to finish a dangerous chance inside the penalty box. In extra time, Jahn used his physical presence to head a cross home and take the game to a penalty shootout. He also did a good job when defending, especially on corners and set pieces.

Edward Opoku (5) – The rookie winger made his debut for the team and brought some energy to the field. He added some pace to Columbus’ right side, but couldn’t create much from his runs.

Lalas Abubakar (6) – The center back came in for Sauro near the end of the second half and made an important intervention by tackling Aleksandar Katai when he entered the penalty box in a dangerous spot.

Milton Valenzuela (5.5) – The Argentinean entered the match early in extra time and played in an unusual spot at right back. Even out of position, he handled himself well for most of the time against a dangerous Katai, but didn’t add much offensively.

Gregg Berhalter (6) – With a loaded scheduled in the next seven days, the coach understandably fielded a reserve lineup and stuck to the plan even after Chicago put some of its most important players in the game. His team was the one to pursue the goal with more intensity over 120 minutes and just lost on the penalty kick shootout.