Columbus Crew SC said goodbye to goalkeeper Zack Steffen on Saturday, when the Black & Gold tied 2-2 with New York City FC at MAPFRE Stadium to extend its Major League Soccer winless streak to four games.
The Crew had a handful of notable absences as at least three probable starters were unavailable due to injuries and head coach Caleb Porter had a hard time to select a starting lineup. Some of his choices performed well while others not so much.
Here’s how each Black & Gold played fared on Steffen’s farewell:
Zack Steffen (7) – The departing goalkeeper would have certainly loved leaving the team with another clean sheet and a win, but he was solid as usual on his last match in a Black & Gold uniform. Steffen was not to blame at all in either of New York City’s goals and also made some important saves in the second half which helped the team to collect at least one point.
Josh Williams (6) – The center back was pushed to the right side of the backline again due to the Crew’s numerous absences and did a good job in holding his own against New York City FC’s talented attackers for the 76 minutes he was on the field. He was also involved in some offensive plays, especially on set pieces.
Jonathan Mensah (6) – The Ghanaian had a team-high clearances and did a solid job in defending Heber in what was a constant fight for space inside Crew’s penalty box. He was just a step away from the Brazilian when he scored New York City FC’s first goal, but Maxi Moralez’s touch changed the trajectory of the ball in an unexpected way.
Gaston Sauro (5.5) – The Argentinean had good positioning for most of the time, which helped him to record a pair of tackles and blocks. He was also a threat on corners, getting a couple of dangerous near-post deflections, but should have closed down on Valentin Castellanos and stopped him from shooting in the visitors’ second goal, though.
Hector Jimenez (6) – The veteran wasn’t much involved offensively, but took care of business in the defensive end against what was a dangerous New York City FC right side, notching as many as five clearances. He seemed too tired to push forward at the end, but maintained his position solidly.
Wil Trapp © (5) – The captain plays a little bit of a different role when Guzman is on the field instead of Artur, in which he has limited liberty to help on attack. He still helped the team with his usual solid distribution, but didn’t produce at his best on either side of the ball as his positioning exposes some of his defensive limitations and prevents him from impacting the game more decisively on offense.
David Guzman (5.5) – The Costa Rican international made his fourth start with the Crew and showed early how his offensive instincts could help the team as he fired a dangerous shot from outside the box and put Sean Johnson in trouble several times with direct corner kick attempts. His defensive game is not that flashy, though, as it was apparent on New York City FC’s second goal, when he didn’t chase Maxi Moralez close enough.
Robinho (5.5) – The Brazilian had some good runs out wide, especially when he was deployed on the right side, but couldn’t really create good chances out of them. His production is yet to match what you’d expect from his skillset. He was replaced by Luis Argudo midway through the second half.
Pedro Santos (8) – The Portuguese played in more of a central role in an adjustment made to keep the team on its usual system even with Federico Higuain’s injury and the move was a good one as he got more involved in the game than usual, drawing the penalty kick that ended in Columbus’ first goal and scoring the team’s second in transition. The new positioning also placed him in a better spot to shoot from distance, which he did quite a few times.
David Accam (7) – The Ghanaian was somewhat inconsistent, switching from good plays to moments in which he was not involved in the game at all. He was directly involved in both Black & Gold goals though, showing intelligence and objectivity to feed Santos inside the penalty box in both occasions.
Gyasi Zardes (7) – The striker wasn’t’ in a very active night as he didn’t connect frequently enough with both wingers and Santos. He got the job done when the team needed him the most, though, showing great composure to convert the penalty kick in a crucial moment of the match. He was also important when the Crew tried to high press.
Luis Argudo (6) – The young midfielder came in for Robinho shortly after the Crew’s second goal and played wide in the left flank, but was more helpful than the Brazilian on the defensive side of the ball. He was involved in a controversial no-call when he attempted to enter New York City FC’s penalty box late in the game.
Connor Maloney (5.5) – The right-back came in for the final 15 minutes and was discreet, not being too bothered by New York’s offense, but also not seeing much of the ball in the attacking third.
Artur (N/A) – The Brazilian entered the game at the 83rd minute and tried to bring some enery to the team, which seemed too tired in that moment.
Caleb Porter (6.5) – The head coach was obviously very limited on what he could do tactically with several important players injured and he did a good job on fielding a team that was able to compete with one of the best teams in the league. Placing Santos centrally was a smart solution, but for it to work long-term he’ll need more consistent production from his wingers, which doesn’t seem likely.
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