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Game Grades: Crew vs Sporting Kansas City

See how the players performed in the team’s most recent setback at home.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

In what’s becoming an annoying and dangerous trend, Columbus Crew SC dropped another home match as the Black & Gold were downed by Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium.

A shorthanded Crew had a promising start to the game, but couldn’t keep the same level for the entire match and was punished by an equally unspectacular but slightly more efficient opponent in an uneventful match in front of its home fans.

Here’s how each Black & Gold player fared:

Jon Kempin (6) – The goalkeeper was a mere spectator for most of the duration of the match as he didn’t make any saves until stoppage time and certainly wasn’t to blame on Kansas City’s goal.

Harrison Afful (5.5) – The Ghanaian seems to be slowly regaining his best shape after returning from a broken jaw two weeks ago as his production gets better every game he plays. He was dangerous on the offensive end of the field and had a good recovery to prevent what would likely be a dangerous finish from Krisztian Nemeth inside the penalty box. In the second half, he was sent off for a foul he absolutely needed to make.

Alex Crognale (5) – The center back had a discrete night as he wasn’t bothered by the opponents for most of the time, but didn’t impress either. He seemed to show little effort to stop Gerso Fernandes’ run in the play that saw Afful sent off in the second half and left the fullback in a bad spot.

Gaston Sauro (5) – The Argentinean had the best night statistically among the four defenders as he recorded two tackles, one interception and one clearance and a solid 80 percent passing rate. He turned the ball over in dangerous spots at least a couple of time, though, and was naïve to get booked for an unnecessary foul at midfield.

Waylon Francis (4.5) – The Costa Rican played below his usual standard, with very limited offensive presence and an unspectacular defensive game. With the team needing to create, he could have helped more on that side. He was taken off in the 60th minute.

Artur (5) – The Brazilian did fairly well on the defensive side of the ball, helping with two tackles, but wasn’t as effective as usual on offense, connecting only 75 percent of his passes. He seems to be in need of a good performance to build his confidence back but this match won’t probably help on it.

David Guzman (6) – The midfielder quietly had an efficient game, registering three tackles and displaying a respectable 84.8 passing efficiency rate. He also fired a dangerous shot from outside penalty the box that was saved.

Hector Jimenez © (6.5) – The versatile player was deployed in his original winger spot and showed he can also be helpful there as he not only created some of the team’s best chances in the first half but also provided some much-needed coverage for Afful on the defensive end. He played as a left back in the final 30 minutes and did fine there.

Pedro Santos (5.5) – The Portuguese midfielder wasn’t short on effort, but showed some unusual questionable decision making in the final third. He was dangerous on set pieces, as usual, but that won’t be enough if he’s indeed to be the team’s main chance-creator for the remainder of the season.

David Accam (N/A) – The winger went down in the 15th minute with a hamstring injury and didn’t really impact the match, registering just eight touches while he was on the field.

Patrick Mullins (4.5) – Making his third-straight start, the striker missed an unbelievable chance when he skied an open-goal shot from inside the six-yard box in the first half. He showed good effort up front, though, and forced some mistakes from the Sporting’s backline when he pressed them.

Luis Argudo (4.5) – The midfielder came in for Accam early in the match and provided good energy, helping the team to create chances and almost scoring after he dispossessed goalkeeper Tim Melia. The way he dribbled inside Columbus’ penalty box on Kansas City’s goal is unacceptable, though. He ended the match as a right back.

Robinho (5) – The Brazilian came in for Francis and has a very promising first play as he dribbled by a coupled of defenders, combined with Mullins and fired a dangerous shot that Melia saved. After that, however, he completed disappeared from the game.

JJ Williams (N/A) – The rookie replaced Mullins and played in the final 20 minutes and just got the ball inside the penalty box once, but he failed to make contact with it.

Caleb Porter (5) – The coach keeps trying to fix the team’s offensive struggles and putting Jimenez on the wing was a good idea, but he’s yet to find any concrete answers for the Crew’s major issue this season. The absences certainly play a factor and losing Accam early in the match didn’t help, but the team should be performing somewhat better at this point of the season.