Columbus Crew SC was the most recent victim of New York City’s home form as the Black & Gold dominated a fair portion of Saturday’s game, but ended down 2-0 to the hosts, who have won 10 of their 11 matches at Yankee Stadium this season. It was the fourth setback in five MLS matches for the Black & Gold.
Here is how each Crew SC played fared in the game:
Zack Steffen (4) – The keeper wasn’t constantly demanded during the match, but came up big when he needed to stop a header from Alexander Callens after a corner kick in the first half and a close-range finish and a header from Maxi Moralez in the second. However, his bad pass that led to NYCFC’s first goal eclipsed most of the good he did in the game.
Harrison Afful (6.5) – The Ghanaian was mostly noted in the first half when he got some second balls in the edge of the box, but couldn’t take advantage of them. He was easily the team’s best offensive option in the second half and could have scored after he dribbled a NYCFC defender, but shot right on Sean Johnson.
Jonathan Mensah (5) – The center back picked up an early yellow card and could have been in deeper troubled when he grabbed Moralez in the second half. Despite of his three clearances, his positioning was odd at times as when he allowed the diminutive Moralez space to a dangerous header in the end.
Josh Williams (5.5) – It was a mixed night for the veteran, who did well when he had to defend outside the penalty box, but turned the ball over in dangerous spots a few times. He made an absolutely crucial action to block a shot from Moralez inside the box in the second half.
Milton Valenzuela (5.5) – It was a quiet night for the most part for the Young Argentinean, who wasn’t as present offensively as Afful, but defended his position decently during the game, leading the team with three interceptions.
Artur (5.5) – The Brazilian was very dynamic in the center of the field and impacted the game in both side of the ball as he recorded three tackles and three interceptions and fired a dangerous shot in the second half. He could have stopped Anton Tinnerholm near the midfield line before he scored NYCFC’s second goal, though.
Wil Trapp © (5) – The captain displayed good positioning, covering for the center backs when they need to leave their spots. He had a solid game on the ball, connecting almost 90 percent of his 56 passes but one would expect him to have more than one key pass in the entire game.
Niko Hansen (5.5) – The winger had a good presence inside the box early and in the match, but didn’t execute well as none of his three shots went on target. The narrow field made it harder for him to make his normally dangerous runs in the flanks.
Federico Higuain (7) – Pipa did a great job in finding space in a narrow field to get to the ball and create to his teammates. He connected well with the wingers and Zardes up front and delivered a beautiful chest pass to Hansen inside the box. He missed a good opportunity when he tried to chip Sean Johnson, though.
Pedro Santos (6.5) – It was the best appearance of the Portuguese in a while as he was very active in the start of the game, firing two of his four dangerous shots inside the first 20 minutes. In the second half, he played a few minutes in his natural right-winger spot and created a couple of very good chances with a precious cross to Zardes and a short-distance shot that ended up blocked by a defender.
Gyasi Zardes (6) – The striker was involved in most of Crew SC’s actions in the first half and set up Hansen for a dangerous shot early in the game. He couldn’t keep the same level in the second half and the team slowed down, but missed a great opportunity when he headed the ball way too high in a cross from Santos.
Mike Grella (4.5) – The veteran entered the game with 30 minutes to go and tried to do some combination plays with Valenzuela in the left flank, but with little effect.
Eduardo Sosa (3) – It was a rough night for the Venezuelan, who stayed on the field for just 20 minutes and besides of struggling to find space in the final third, lost his temper for absolutely no reason and hit Moralez to be sent off in the end.
Luis Argudo (4.5) – The rookie was subbed in around the 75th minute and tried to connect some passes up front with little success. He fired a shot way too high on overtime.
Gregg Berhalter (5) – His team seemed to have all the tools to take advantage of a tired NYCFC side for the entire match, but failed to execute in the final third and was punished in what is becoming a dangerous tendency for Crew SC lately. On a positive note, he clearly did his homework as the team presented a handful of different plays on set pieces in the narrow Yankee Stadium.