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Game Grades: Crew vs. LA Galaxy

How each player contributed to the Black & Gold’s 3-1 home victory.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

After weeks of struggle and five consecutive losses, Columbus Crew SC finally returned to winning ways as the team defeated the LA Galaxy 3-1 at MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday.

The Crew did a great job on both ends of the ball by denying an offense led by international star Zlatan Ibrahimovic relevant chances to score and at the same time finding the back of the net three times in front of its fans.

Here is how each player performed in the team’s mid-week triumph:

Zack Steffen (8) – The goalkeeper had a quiet and solid night for the most part, as he was only demanded from twice, one of them to stop a very dangerous header from Ibrahimovic. He was also very calm and smart to avoid a potential penalty kick when the Swedish forward tried to go around him inside the penalty box. He hesitated a little bit on the Galaxy goal, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.

Hector Jimenez (8.5) – The veteran had one of his best performances in a while as he not only was steady as usual in the defensive end, but also showed up in the attacking third and took good care of the ball, connecting 83.8 percent of his passes. His great night was rewarded with his first goal since 2014 in one of his offensive runs.

Jonathan Mensah (8) – The Ghanaian was very busy at the start of the match, when he helped the Crew to repel the Galaxy’s aerial plays. Jonathan used his size to head several balls outside the penalty box and ended the match with a team-high six clearances and also registered two tackles.

Gaston Sauro (8.5) – The Argentinean reappeared in the lineup and did a tremendous job in denying Ibrahimovic space to operate inside the penalty box — he intercepted the Galaxy star as many as three times and blocked him twice. He also had the best passing rate among the starters, finding his teammates 90.6 percent of the time.

Waylon Francis (7.5) – The Costa Rican was put under pressure on the defensive side of the ball and responded well, not giving the Galaxy opportunities to create from his side. Francis led the team in tackles with four and also connected well with Robinho when attacking.

Wil Trapp © (8) – The captain was a stud in the midfield and, with the team playing more centrally than usual at times, had the ball on his feet a lot, registering a team-high 75 touches. He did a fine job in passing the ball, with an 89.9 percent accuracy, and was also effective defensively, with three tackles.

Artur (7.5) – The Brazilian had his best match in some weeks as he combined his usual energy with good efficiency on and off the ball. Artur helped Trapp to dominate the center of the field with two tackles and two interceptions and also tried to help offensively with two shots, but he misplaced both.

Pedro Santos (7) – For the first time on the season the Portuguese winger was the least dangerous players in the Crew’s front four, but that had more to do with good nights from his teammates than with a drop of performance from him. He had 54 touches and two shots, one of them near the end, when he failed to place the ball past David Bingham.

Federico Higuain (9) – It was a night to see Pipa at his best. The Argentinean was quarterbacking the Crew’s offense with class and efficiency, especially when he combined with Robinho on the left side. He was very active, with 70 touches, and effective, connecting 88.7 of his passes and registering three key passes, including a helper to Zardes’ goal, which saw him break the club’s all-time assists record. His goal combined pace, intelligence and technique.

Robinho (8.5) – The Brazilian was a constant threat to the Galaxy’s defense with his dribbling skills and his pace. His cross on Zardes’ goal was perfectly places and he didn’t stop there, leading the team in both key passes and shots, with five each. He also had three tackles.

Gyasi Zardes (9) – The striker had a team-low 23 touches (less than David Guzman’s 25 in just 17 minutes), but he made the most of each of them. Zardes showed good presence in the 18-yard box to score the Crew’s first goal in a very important moment of the game and followed it up with a brilliant set up play and an assist to Higuain’s goal. He wasn’t always involved in the game but did everything you can expect from your striker.

David Guzman (7) – The Costa Rican made his debut in a Black & Gold uniform and showed a limited sample of what Porter saw in him, passing the ball at an 91.3 percent efficiency rate and covering a lot of ground in midfield in just 17 minutes.

Patrick Mullins (N/A) – The forward came in for Zardes with just nine minutes to go and registered just eight touches.

Niko Hansen (N/A) – The winger replaced Santos at the 83rd-minute mark and didn’t really have time to do much.

Caleb Porter (8) – The head coach remained loyal to his thoughts and to his players even under a very rough stretch and managed to pull out a very important and needed result. The next challenge will be keeping the same level of consistency, especially on the offensive end. He will have a couple of interesting pieces in Guzman and David Accam to work with from now on and it should be fun to see how we’ll use them.

Poll

Who was the Crew’s Man of the Match against the Galaxy?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Hector Jimenez
    (4 votes)
  • 80%
    Federico Higuain
    (61 votes)
  • 7%
    Robinho
    (6 votes)
  • 6%
    Gyasi Zardes
    (5 votes)
76 votes total Vote Now