After a strong start, Columbus Crew SC couldn’t handle the Portland Timbers and will return home with a 3-2 setback to the Western Conference opponents on its record. The Black & Gold saved the legs of some key players for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids and it paid the price with a road loss in Oregon.
Here is how each Black & Gold player performed in the game:
Zack Steffen (5.5) – The U.S. National Team goalkeeper made an uncommon bad decision and decided to leave his spot too early, leaving the goal open for Andy Polo to score Portland’s second goal. There wasn’t much he could do on the other two, though, and he wasn’t asked to do much beyond that.
Hector Jimenez (4.5) – It was a below-average game from the veteran as he was involved in both of Portland’s goals as he was easily beaten in the air by David Guzman on the first and had the chance to stop Polo’s run early in the second. He didn’t contribute much offensively either.
Gaston Sauro (4.5) – It was a shaky night for the center back as he should have done better to avoid Portland’s first goal than just standing in the penalty box and seemed uncomfortable every time he had to step outside of it. He was on the verge of seeing a red card for a good portion of the second half.
Lalas Abubakar (5) – The Ghanaian played a decent first half but seemed to lose his confidence after his poor action sending the ball to the back of his own net on Portland’s third goal. He calmed down again near the end and ended the game with six clearances and two interceptions.
Milton Valenzuela (5) – The Argentinean played a precise ball for Hansen to score but had an unusual weak defensive night. His hesitancy to close down on Polo allowed the Peruvian way too much space to cross on the Timbers’ first goal while on the second, he should have done a better job on clearing the ball.
Wil Trapp © (6) – The captain returned to the starting lineup and did a fine job with both passing the ball and defending, as he recorded four tackles and three interceptions. He could have helped the team to be more organized when Portland was controlling the game.
Artur (6) – The Brazilian had decent ball distribution to start the game despite some mistakes and he also had a dangerous shot that forced Steve Clark to make a great save. However, he was partially to blame for the defense being so exposed on counter attacks.
Niko Hansen (8) – The winger showed good movement and composure to score the team’s first goal with a one-touch finish, but didn’t get much involved for several minutes after it. He stepped up again in the final minutes firing a dangerous shot and scoring his second goal on a header.
Eduardo Sosa (5.5) – The Venezuelan was active in the center of the field but didn’t really manage to create much from his runs, except from the pass to Maloney on the final play of the game. His production throughout the match should have been better as he left the field with just one shot.
Pedro Santos (7) – The Portuguese winger had a lot of room to operate on the left wing at the start of the game and made the most of it, creating several goal-scoring opportunities, including a great pass to Valenzuela on the team’s goal. He was also dangerous both drawing and taking free kicks around the penalty box. His performance dropped significantly in the second half.
Patrick Mullins (6) – The striker had an important role in the team’s first goal with an efficient hold-up play and a smart dummy to Hansen, but he wasted a couple of good chances that could have made the game different.
Luis Argudo (5.5) – The rookie came in and had a discrete participation in the center of the field doing efficient yet unspectacular two-way work for the team and connection all of his 24 passes.
Connor Maloney (6) – The wingback tried to push the team forward even if more with energy and determination than with organization and technique, but he managed to record an assist despite his limited time.
Josh Williams (5.5) – The veteran was subbed in to be part of a three-man backline and did a fine job, including pushing forward quite a few times.
Gregg Berhalter (5.5) – It seemed Berhalter played all his cards in profiting from a strong start and it worked for a while despite the numerous absences in the starting lineup. After that, the team’s inability to defend in transition was too much to handle. His decision to make all three changes at the same time and to take Santos off showed the night was over.