Columbus Crew SC didn’t mess around in the second Major League Soccer Hell is Real Derby. After allowing FC Cincinnati to score two goals before coming back for a draw two weeks ago at home, the Black & Gold dominated their in-state rivals from the opening whistle on the road on Sunday, resulting in a 3-1 win against MLS’s most recent expansion side.
Such a convincing victory requires good performances across the field and that’s exactly what Columbus got. Let’s take a look at the Crew players and how they graded out from the rivalry game.
Eloy Room (7) - The Crew goalkeeper was once again on top of his game in this contest. He recorded five saves and held a shutout for most of the match. The goal conceded was a late breakdown by his defense but Room did what he could for his team, including continuing to show his ability with his feet.
Harrison Afful (7.5) - This was the most like the Harrison Afful Crew fans expect to see since coming back from the broken jaw earlier this year. The right back was up and down the flanks, getting involved in the Columbus attack and registering an assist on a well-played ball on the second goal. Afful was also good defensively with three tackles.
Jonathan Mensah (6.5) - It was a good outing for the Ghanian center back who had three interceptions and one tackle. He did give up a good chance that had to be cleaned up by Room.
Josh Williams (7) - Back in the lineup, Williams battled hard throughout the match, bringing some feistiness that this rivalry needs. The Ohio native led the team with seven clearances and also had two interceptions while committing two fouls.
Connor Maloney (7) - With each match he plays, Maloney is getting better. In his fourth straight start playing out of position, the left back was solid again, getting forward when needed and playing well enough. Maloney did pick up a yellow card but more or less held his own defensively.
Artur (6) - There was a fire in the Brazilian that Crew fans often don’t see. He was all over the field, making two tackles but committed four fouls and was one of four Black & Gold players to pick up a yellow card.
Wil Trapp © (7) - The American midfielder put together a vintage performance for Columbus against Cincinnati. He patrolled the midfield, dropped back between the center backs at times and played accurate long balls to switch the point of attack. Trapp’s 60 passes in the game were the most on his team.
Luis Diaz (8) - Andrew Gutman will have nightmares of Diaz running at him for weeks after the Costa Rican embarrassed the Cincinnati left back for 53 minutes. Diaz’s speed and accurate crosses were on display once again, finishing the game with an assist on the first goal and powerful finish for the third after a great run right by Gutman.
Pedro Santos (7) - It was a quiet night for a player who had two assists but that’s okay with Santos when others around him are playing this well. Of his 32 passes on the night, three of them were labeled as “key.”
Youness Mokhtar (6.5) - Mokhtar is fitting right into the role that Justin Meram played for the Crew for so long. The winger doesn’t often provide a ton of width but is obviously comfortable playing the pockets and caused issues for Cincinnati in doing so.
Gyasi Zardes (8.5) - After missing perceived easy chances that cost the Crew points, Zardes played one of his better games in black and gold. His touch, runs and finishing were all on point for his two goals, his work rate was at its usual outstanding level and Zardes’ willingness to help defensively was key in the second half.
Luis Argudo (6) - The winger came into the game in the 53rd minute for Diaz and helped the Crew see the match out. In his time on the field, he had one key pass and one tackle.
David Accam (6) - Coming for Mokhtar at the 66th minute mark, Accam got on the ball a few times but was not overly dangerous on the left side of the Crew attack.
Alex Crognale (6) - The center back came on for the injured Josh Williams with just 11 minutes to play and held up well in a cagey affair. Crognale had one headed clearance.
Caleb Porter (8) - The Crew coaching staff identified Gutman as a weakness against Afful and Diaz and used that to perfection to create all three goals. This was the type of “dominant football” that Porter’s teams will play in the future.