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Game Grades: Crew vs. Atlanta United

How did the Black & Gold perform in bowing out of the U.S. Open Cup?

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

Columbus Crew SC’s 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run came to an end on Tuesday night as the Black & Gold fell 3-2 to Atlanta United at MAPFRE Stadium. For the second time this year, these two teams played in a match that featured a weather delay, but this one did not go the way of the home side.

The Crew were once again without multiple regular starters, but the backups put in a shift and felt they did enough to win the game.

Here’s how the Columbus players graded in the match:

Jon Kempin (5.5) - It was not the finest performance from the Crew goalkeeper but there was nothing he could do on the first two goals after the players in front of him left him out to dry. Kempin should have been better positioned on Atlanta’s third goal, though, but he did make three saves.

Harrison Afful (6.5) - In just his second game since returning from a broken jaw, the Crew right back looked much more like himself. Afful consistently made runs down the right side and even some through the middle of the field. His willingness to let fly was what led to the opening goal.

Alex Crognale (5) - The young center back started the game off strong but struggled as the match went on. He was reckless on multiple tackles, earning him a yellow card on a foul from behind. Crognale’s defending out wide was poor, allowing Brandon Vazquez to dribble by him for United’s game-winner.

Gaston Sauro (5.5) - While Sauro had a better night than Crognale, it wasn’t by much. He was in good spots to break up plays at times but was slow getting over to help Crognale and was nutmegged for Vazquez’s second goal.

Hector Jimenez © (6) - The veteran once again filled in at the left fullback spot and defended well on his side of the field. Jimenez did not offer much going forward however in this match.

Artur (5.5) - Making his second straight start in the Open Cup, Artur was not nearly as productive as his last outing. He marked the wrong player on United’s second goal, leaving Miles Robinson wide open on the back post. Only one shot and three fouls committed is not enough in the center of the Crew’s midfield.

David Guzman (4.5) - This was the worst performance from the veteran central midfielder since he was acquired by the Black & Gold in early May. The Costa Rican looked disinterested from the opening whistle, giving the ball away with a poor touch at the back that made for an easy goal for Vazquez just five minutes in. There was far too much jogging, too much foul and complaining to the referee and not enough effort for a central midfielder.

Luis Argudo (6) - In his first start of the season, Argudo proved serviceable on the right flank. He had a heads up play to lay the ball back across to the top of the penalty box for the home side’s opening goal.

David Accam (7) - The best player on the field for the Crew was the speedy winger. Not only did Accam score the goal to get Columbus back into the game just before halftime, but he was consistently active down his side of the field and should have drawn a penalty kick near the end of the game to give his team a chance to equalize.

Pedro Santos (6.5) - Santos played his normal game, popping up around the field in good spots and looking to spring his teammates. It’s clear that the Black & Gold attackers are still getting used to Santos as the main distributor with Federico Higuain out and the differences in passes they like to play.

Patrick Mullins (5) - If being aggressive, fiery and annoying a backline is what forwards were on the field to do, Mullins would grade out higher. Unfortunately, his job is to score goals and it’s been some time since Mullins has done that in a game. He had a great chance to level the match shortly after the Crew their first scored but he took a poor touch and the ball went straight to Brad Guzan.

JJ Williams (5.5) - Williams came into the game with 25 minutes to play and was active up top but had nothing to show for it with only one shot, which was off target. There is plenty of potential in the rookie but right now, it’s just potential.

Waylon Francis (6.5) - Statistically, Francis won’t get credit for his play on the second Crew goal but he did plenty to earn recognition, sticking with the play and putting the ball in a dangerous area on the wet turf. He brought offensive energy to the left side over the final 20 minutes of the game.

Robinho (N/A) - The Brazilian winger came into the game with eight minutes to play but wasn’t much of a factor out wide.

Caleb Porter (6) - The Crew head coach once again pieced together a lineup that competed. It was not a good start, as the Black & Gold didn’t wake up in the match until they were already down 2-0. He was able to get his team to regroup and keep things close. The third goal was the killer, though, and that blame falls on the defenders and the goalkeeper.