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Game Grades: Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire

How did the Black & Gold players perform in a draw in Bridgeview?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC couldn’t get a win in Thursday’s trip to the Chicago Fire but the Black & Gold did come from behind to steal a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park. The Fire took a second half lead thanks to a mistake by Columbus but Crew SC were able to salvage a point late.

Let’s take a look at how the Black & Gold players performed in the road tie.

Zack Steffen (6.5) — It was a fine performance from the Crew SC goalkeeper. He wasn’t asked to do much as Chicago didn’t generate much offense. His biggest save didn’t count as Nemanja Nikolic was offside. Steffen was credited with two total saves on the night.

Harrison Afful (6) — Despite being on the ball a decent amount, Afful didn’t do much in this game. The fullback had one clearance, one key pass and no tackles.

Gaston Sauro (7) — Sauro doesn’t get many opportunities for Crew SC but when he does he puts in a solid shift. Sauro led his team with four interceptions and also had four clearances. With hardly anyone at the game, it was clear to hear what a leader Sauro is at the back.

Josh Williams (7) — Like Sauro, Williams had a good night against the Fire. No one on the backline was tested a ton but the center back led the team in clearances (6) with two tackles and two interceptions.

Milton Valenzuela (5.5) — The play that will stand out when it comes to the young left back is the mistake he made, playing the ball into Nikolic’s path for the Fire’s goal. Valenzuela did record five tackles but the one mistake will haunt him in this game.

Ricardo Clark (6.5) — When you’re playing a defensive role in the midfield, the idea is usually to not be noticed. That was the case for Clark. He had two interceptions in the center of the park and completed a team-high 91.7 percent of his passes.

Wil Trapp (6) — A poor decision early in the game almost led to the Fire opening the scoring. Trapp recovered well though to handle his duties in the midfield.

Artur (6.5) — Playing in a different role than normal, Artur was serviceable. Being slightly more advanced on the field, the midfielder had four shots, two on target.

Pedro Santos (7) — The winger isn’t scoring goals, which is what everyone wants to see from him, but he draws fouls and continues to be a danger offensively. Santos is not afraid to shoot and did so twice in this match from outside the penalty box when his side was devoid of offensive ideas.

Justin Meram (5.5) — In his first start since returning to Crew SC, the Iraqi winger was relatively invisible. After a good play in the second minute that nearly led to a Zardes goal, Meram had the second lowest amount of touches for a starter (32) and completed less than 70 percent of his passes.

Gyasi Zardes (6) — The Crew SC forward should have given him team the lead early on the ball from Meram but whiffed on the attempt. He made a good run on the goal but the defender got there first.

Niko Hansen (7.5) — The winger was one of the impact subs off the bench. He brought energy with his runs on the ball and ultimately scored the equalizing goal by being in the right place at the right time.

Federico Higuain (6) — It’s clear the creative midfielder is still trying to get his fitness back after the injury and was sick this week, which is why he didn’t start the game.

Patrick Mullins (6.5) — Mullins came off the bench with 10 minutes remaining and was active. He didn’t touch the ball much but did have a pass that was poorly cleared that led to Hansen’s goal.

Gregg Berhalter (7) — According to the Crew SC head coach, the staff had to change the game plan the night before the match due to Higuain’s sickness. Berhalter put out a team that was able to hold down the fort for the most part and made subs that had an impact on the match.