Columbus Crew SC earned its second win of the season against the New England Revolution on Saturday night when the Black & Gold defeated the Revs 1-0 at MAPFRE Stadium to remain both unbeaten at home and atop Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference with a record of 4-1-1.
A major theme this season has been the success of Columbus on set-piece goals. The Crew leads the league in such goals with three on the year, this one coming from an in-swinging pass from Federico Higuain and finished at the far post by Josh Williams.
Here are our individual player grades for the performance:
Zack Steffen (7): The shot-stopper wasn’t super busy on the evening, but he was massive when called upon. His best effort of the night came via a long shot from New England’s Jalil Anibaba in the first half. That’s the fourth shutout of the season for Steffen, who hasn’t allowed a goal in 444 consecutive minutes.
Hector Jimenez (6.5): The veteran made his season debut at the right back position in place of the injured regular starter, Harrison Afful. While he made some important runs and a nice key pass, he was almost at fault for a late equalizer which was (fortunately) saved by Steffen.
Johnathan Mensah (7): Jonathan and Williams were a wall in front of Steffen all evening. They had a combined 12 clearances on the night and were vital in helping to preserve the shutout.
Josh Williams (8): Williams scored his first goal of the season and the only one of the game. His goal was a lovely no-look, back-headed header which was finished in the bottom of the far post. Adding exquisite passing and a wonderful defensive display will have many people wondering just how good this Columbus center back group can be. In just his second start of the season, he filled Gaston Sauro’s shoes quite well.
Waylon Francis (8): Something about facing against New England seems to get the best out of Francis. He had quite the performance on both sides of the ball. Francis had a total of seven tackles, which led the team. Some of those came on New England’s best offensive chances or were vital to prevent them inside the penalty box.
Artur (6): It was not the best of performances for the midfielder. Although boasting an 84.2% passing accuracy, the Brazilian did little to create an impact but played a decent-enough game in midfield to help get the shutout.
Wil Trapp © (7): The captain was all over the pitch on Saturday. He had the most passes for the Black & Gold and was a workhorse in every part of the field. After not having Trapp in the team’s only loss at the Philadelphia Union three weeks ago, Trapp’s play in the last two matches has shown just how important he is for Columbus.
Pedro Santos (7): The Portuguese international was solid across the pitch. While his passing was at times suspect, he made a wonderful effort on the defensive end. Santos seems to be more comfortable in his skin this year, trying more difficult passes at times, which will only help the Crew when those work.
Federico Higuain (8): Arguably the Black & Gold’s best performer on the field tonight, Pipa was his usual self on the ball: shifty and opening up play for those around him. With a total five key passes, his assist to Williams on the set-piece goal saw him become the club’s joint all-time assists leader with a total of 61.
Robinho (7): Another game, another good performance from the winger. Robinho continues to add the usual Brazilian flair and finesse most of the time he has the ball at his feet. He’s continuing his legitimate case to Caleb Porter which may see him soon become the team’s full-time starter at the left wing position.
Gyasi Zardes (5): The Columbus talisman was virtually non-existent for most of the match. His best chance of the game came from a Jimenez cross in the 83rd minute, which was put wide left of the post.
Justin Meram (N/A): The Iraqi International came on for Robinho in the 78th minute to help see out the victory for the Black & Gold but was not overly involved.
Niko Hansen (N/A): The winger made his season debut in the 85th minute. He made his cameo replacing Santos but also didn’t do much
Ricardo Clark (N/A): Clark substituted Higuain during second-half stoppage time and was basically brought on to waste time.
Caleb Porter (8): Struggling to finish is something that Porter saw from afar throughout the game. However, being able to cope against a newly adjusted Revolution formation (that seems to be working for Brad Friedel) was well-managed by Porter. His side created some good opportunities while also limiting New England most of the evening. Porter has the Black & Gold sitting high atop the Eastern Conference through seven games, which is quite the accomplishment for the incumbent head coach.
Who was the Crew’s man of the match against the Dynamo?
This poll is closed