Columbus Crew SC added three very important points to its 2018 MLS campaign as the Black & Gold defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-2 at the Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, New Jersey. It was a match of two distinct halves with Crew SC scoring all three goals in the first portion of the game and the visitors netting two in the second half.
Here is how each Crew SC player fared in the game:
Zack Steffen (7.5) – Despite the team’s 3-0 lead in the first half, the goalkeeper could easily be considered one of the best players in the field as he made a couple of impressive saves when the Crew had a single-goal lead. He came up big again in the final minutes of the game as he helped the team to secure the victory.
Harrison Afful (8) – The fullback was one of the pivotal pieces of Crew SC’s win as his constant drives in to the center of the field caught the opponents off guard. He showed great vision to set Mullins up for his goal with a single touch on the ball and had an above-average defensive performance, with two tackles, two interceptions and four clearances.
Jonathan Mensah (6) – It was a mixed night the Ghanaian as he showed good positioning and impressive composure to score the team’s first goal but was directly involved in both of New York’s goals. If the first he was unlucky, he should have done a better job of staying closer to Daniel Royer on the second one.
Josh Williams (7.5) – The center back had impressive positioning in the first half and helped the team with important tackles inside the penalty box. He didn’t return in the second half due to an injury and was missed.
Milton Valenzuela (6) – The left back had a quiet first half defensively and initiated the counter attack that resulted in the team’s second goal. His performance dropped in the second half, though, as he turned the ball over to the Red Bulls’ first goal and saw the second also be created on his side of the field.
Wil Trapp © (7.5) – It was another good performance from the captain, who used his smart positioning to cover a lot of space, especially behind the fullbacks, and had a team-high five tackles. He was good on the ball too, but could have been more present in the end of the game, when the Crew could have used his ability to keep possession.
Artur (7.5) – The Brazilian worked hard in the center of the field, getting two tackles and three interceptions, and also had very good ball distribution, connecting 82.4 percent of his passes. He led the team in shots, with four, but this is an area of his game that still needs improvement.
Niko Hansen (7) – The winger had good runs on the right side and played an important tactical role, allowing Afful to drift inside and helping defensively with two tackles and two interceptions. He missed two good opportunities to score, however, and one of them was for absolutely not knowing what to do with the ball inside the penalty box.
Pedro Santos (7) – The Portuguese played in a different role and was more effective than in previous matches, being involved in two goals, both on set pieces. He created some other dangerous chances in individual plays, but couldn’t finish them.
Gyasi Zardes (7.5) – The forward had a different role than his usual one but showed good versatility and had a solid performance, despite not scoring. Zardes was a dangerous counter attacking piece for the Crew with smart and straight runs through the center of the field and simple but efficient passes.
Patrick Mullins (8) – The striker provided everything one could expect from him as he had good presence inside the penalty box to assist Jonathan, smart movement on counter attacks and an efficient hold up play. Mullins had a promising first start and showed he can be an option for specific kind of games.
Lalas Abubakar (7.5) – The defender came in at halftime replacing Williams in a moment where the team was under heavy pressure and failing to keep its first half’s performance. Abubakar had a great intervention at the 85th minute, when he stopped a ball that had already gone past Steffen, and led the team with five clearances.
Edward Opoku (6.5) – The rookie came in for Hansen and kept the intensity level high on the right wing. He created some trouble for the Red Bulls defense with his runs, but could have been more dangerous had he connected a couple of key passes.
Hector Jimenez (6.5) – The veteran was called on to help containing the Red Bulls’ offense through the left side of Columbus’ defense and got the job done, getting the team out of pressure in a crucial moment of the game.
Gregg Berhalter (8) – The coach set up a terrific game plan that was greatly executed by his players in the first half and Columbus dominated a strong opponent on the road. The team’s performance dropped in the second half, but it was enough to secure a very important road victory.