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Game Grades: Crew vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds

This is how each Black & Gold player performed in the team’s U.S. Open Cup triumph.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC secured its first victory in a month as the Black & Gold topped the USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup at MAPFRE Stadium on Tuesday. The Crew were without seven potential starters and struggled to get the job done, but ultimately pulled the single-goal win thanks to a tap in from winger David Accam.

Here’s how each Black & Gold player fared in the match:

Jon Kempin (6) – The goalkeeper made his second consecutive start and was solid when called upon, registering just one save in the entire match. He was certainly tested against a lower-caliber opponent, but he probably earned himself points in the race to become the team’s full-time starter after Zack Steffen’s departure.

Harrison Afful (5.5) – The Ghanaian returned to the field for the first time since the end of March and it was easy to see the quality upgrade he brings to the team. He tried to combine with Accam numerous times, but wasn’t as dangerous as usual. He left the game at halftime.

Alex Crognale (6) – The towering center back played his first match with the club this season and showed good positioning to get in the way of several cross attempts at the Crew’s penalty box. He also showed a positive understanding with Gaston Sauro.

Gaston Sauro (6) – The Argentinean did a fine job against what was a quiet offense from the Riverhounds for the most time. He also pushed forward his line at times to support the team’s buildup, connecting with Hector Jimenez and was also the team’s most effective passer with an 94.3 percent accuracy rate.

Hector Jimenez © (5.5) – The veteran wore the captain armband and had an active start to the game, constantly helping on offense. The same repeated in the second half, when he was often seen in the attacking third at the start, but took a more defensive approach after the team scored. He wasn’t much bothered by the Riverhounds’ offense at any point of the match.

Artur (5.5) – The Brazilian returned to the starting lineup due to the absence of captain Wil Trapp and played his usual game, with a lot of energy to win balls and long pass attempts, which were particularly important in the second half when the team pushed forward with more impetus. He also had a team-high four tackles.

David Guzman (6) – The Costa Rican helped the team moving the ball around smartly in midfield and appeared in the final third as the Crew tried to break the Riverhounds’ defensive system with four shots. He led the team in passes with 123 and had an outstanding 87.8 percent efficiency rate.

Robinho (5) – The winger spent time on both sides of the field and tried to use his dribbling ability to disorganize the opponents’ backline, but he turned the ball over more often than he should. He managed to get himself in good positions at times, but couldn’t do much damage with subpar finishes.

Pedro Santos (6) – The Portuguese started for the second time at the No. 10 spot but struggled to be as efficient as he was against the New York City FC. He failed to get the ball in dangerous spots and wasn’t accurate on his five shots for most of the first half, but found Accam in position to score with a beautiful pass over the top when he had some space. Shortly after, though, he missed a penalty kick.

David Accam (6.5) – The Ghanaian didn’t shy away from the game and tried to disrupt the Riverhounds’ backline with several individual plays, in which he had limited success in the first half. He showed good movement and composure to score his first goal for the club and the match’s game-winner with a one-touch finish.

Patrick Mullins (6) – The striker made his second start in 2019 and had a tough battle with the very physical Joseph Greenspan. He didn’t see much of the ball given the team’s inability to create chances, but still managed to draw a penalty kick on a cross.

Connor Maloney (6) – The fullback came in for Afful at halftime and was involved in the team’s first goal and also in the play that generated the penalty kick. He also had a good recovery inside the Crew’s penalty box to stop what could be a dangerous attack from the Riverhounds.

JJ Williams (N/A) – The rookie striker entered the game at the 76th minute and wasn’t as involved as he would have hoped as the team tried to attack mostly in transition plays after the goal.

Luis Argudo (N/A) – The midfielder came in for Robinho with just two minutes until the end of the match and didn’t really have much time to help.

Caleb Porter (5) – His team dominated the entirety of the match but had a severe lack of creativity to create goal-scoring opportunities during most of it, sometimes insisting on crosses against the 6-foot-5 Joseph Greenspan. The high number of unavailable starters certainly played a role, but the Crew should have done better against an inferior opponent.