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Game Grades: Crew at D.C. United

See how each player fared as the team lost its fifth consecutive setback.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It was certainly an intense and frustrating night for Columbus Crew SC as the team headed to Washington D.C. and was downed 3-1 by Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United in a very controversial match at Audi Field.

It was Columbus’ fifth-straight loss in the 2019 Major League Soccer season and even a significant part of the result can be credited to a terrible performance of referee Ted Unkle, the Black & Gold didn’t bring their best either.

Here is how each player performed at the American capital:

Zack Steffen (6) – Anytime a goalkeeper has to pick the ball three times from the back of his net, it’s a bad night for him. But the truth is that Steffen not only wasn’t at fault on any of D.C.’s goals but he also made a couple of good saves, including one on a header from Wayne Rooney near the end of the game.

Hector Jimenez (5.5) – The veteran was probably the one piece of the backline to have a decent night. Jimenez was average on defense with two tackles, two interceptions and two clearances but was considerably involved when the team was in possession, with 74 touches.

Jonathan Mensah (4) – The Ghanaian had moments in which he seemed like the Jonathan from his first matches with the Crew, in which he was unstable and made embarrassing mistakes. The pathetic turnover that led to D.C.’s third goal was certainly one of them.

Josh Williams (4.5) – The defender had a hard time chasing Rooney for most of the night and lost most of the duels with the English star. Williams was sharp as usual on the ball, with a team-high 93.2 percent passing efficiency, but the massive gap between him and Francis was repeatedly explored by the opponents.

Waylon Francis (4) – It was a rough night for the Costa Rican, who saw D.C. insistently attack down his side of the field. He was helpless most of the time when defending and had a hard time against multiple players, who overloaded his zone of the field.

Wil Trapp © (4.5) – The captain was below his normal level and that showed by unusually bad decisions. He committed the foul that led to D.C.’s first goal and, even if it was a debatable play, his body movement was what was called as a penalty kick was not ideal. He still managed to get four tackles and a pair of interceptions.

Artur (5) – The Brazilian was far from brilliant, but was still the team’s best defensive player. Artur had five tackles and one interception, but didn’t help the team as much as he could in the offensive end.

Pedro Santos (6) – The Portuguese winger continued his decent form and was arguably the team’s best player in the first half, when he hit the crossbar on a long-distance shot and scored a goal, which was incorrectly called back. His performance dropped a little bit in the second half.

Federico Higuain (4.5) – Pipa took decent care of the ball, connecting nearly 85 percent of his 56 passes, but wasn’t as inspired as usual, struggling to be as decisive as he normally is. He also seemed to be one of the players who got most emotionally affected by the controversial officiating.

Robinho (6) – The Brazilian was the lone bright spot of Columbus’ offense in some moments. He used his pace and his dribbling ability to take on D.C.’s defenders quite a few times, but lacked the accuracy on his crosses and passes in the final third. He also helped defensively, recording four tackles. It was his corner kick that led to the Crew’s lone goal, one put into the net by Bill Hamid.

Gyasi Zardes (4.5) – The striker wasn’t involved in much of the team’s limited offensive actions, registering just 27 touches in the 64 minutes he remained on the field. He had a good chance at the start of the second half which he should have converted.

Niko Hansen (5.5) – The winger came in for Pipa at the 64th minute and played on the right side of the Crew’s attack. A few minutes later he was pushed back to the right back spot and tried to push the team forward, but had little help on the task.

JJ Williams (5) – The rookie entered the game with the setback basically confirmed and the team not fighting for much more. He ran back and forth up top but didn’t really have a chance to use his offensive skills except from a header that went way too high.

Luis Argudo (N/A) – The midfielder replaced Jimenez at the 74th-minute mark and was deployed in front of Trapp and Artur, but didn’t actively participate in the game, registering just seven touches.

Caleb Porter (4.5) – It’s hard to evaluate his work in a match massively impacted by so many controversial refereeing decisions, especially after such a bright start. However, the team has been in bad form for a while now and it seems he’s been overly reluctant to make some changes with the pieces he has on his hands.