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Game Grades: Crew vs. Chicago Fire

Grading Columbus’ final clash of the 2019 season against the Fire

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two halves for Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night. With its playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Black & Gold desperately needed to claim a win against the visiting Chicago Fire.

Things looked promising in the first half as the Crew claimed a 1-0 advantage thanks to a goal from Portuguese playmaker Pedro Santos in the 27th minute. Columbus appeared poised for a second consecutive victory but a late dagger from winger Przemyslaw Frankowski allowed the Fire to draw level, earning a 1-1 draw as the final whistle blew.

Let’s assign grade to the Black & Gold following Saturday’s draw.

Eloy Room (8) - The Crew backstop was sensational Saturday night. Whether it was making sprawling saves to his left or stopping close-range opportunities, its becoming evident the Black & Gold have their man between the sticks.

Connor Maloney (6.5) - The converted left back’s body of work throughout the entire game is being considered when giving this rating. Maloney continues to grow and mature in his new position. He continues to take away passing lanes and pester defenders. His only flaw Saturday night was losing Frankowski during the Fire’s goal-scoring sequence. He’s a young player and with experience those mistakes will diminish.

Harrison Afful (6.5) - Like his counterpart on the left, the Ghanian had a good game against Chicago. He made threatening runs into the final third and set up his teammates with brilliant through balls.

Aboubacar Keita (5) - It’s evident that the young defender has potential but his game isn’t where it needs to be right now. Fine tuning under the watchful eye of Caleb Porter and his staff will allow this youngster to be a great defender in the league.

Alex Crognale (6) - Since going out on loan earlier this year it appears that Crognale has reemerged with a competitive fire allowing him to capture valuable first team minutes. The defender was responsible for snuffing out various attacks from the visitors and even cleared out an occasional threatening cross.

Wil Trapp (6) - The Crew captain had a pedestrian night at the center of the park. His turnover led to a Chicago attack and subsequent game-tying goal. Poor effort from the captain and his teammates as they looked to shut up shop.

Pedro Santos (8.5) - It’s been a fun journey for the Designated Player in 2019. In addition to scoring the lone Black & Gold goal, Santos was responsible for three key passes that set up his side for a potential insurance goal.

Luis Argudo (6) - The winger continued his good run of form by turning in another strong performance on Saturday night. Argudo was a threat advancing the ball up the field with pace and causing uncomfortable moments for Fire defenders Johan Kappelhof and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Artur (8) - The Brazilian midfielder turned in a massive performance and drew praise from head coach Caleb Porter during his post game press conference. The midfielder contributed on both sides of the ball and worked well alongside Trapp.

Luis Diaz (6) - Following a breakout performance in Cincinnati last Sunday, the Costa Rican winger was conspicuously absent. He drew the ire of the Chicago defense but also noticeably lacked his usual explosiveness. Time will tell if it was due to the potential injury he picked up in the Queen City or if it was an off game.

Gyasi Zardes (6) - Like Diaz, the Crew forward didn’t have his swagger from a week ago. Zardes found himself in a few threatening positions but held onto the ball a bit too long allowing the defense to reset and pick up their marks.

Youness Mokhtar (6) - He provided a spark immediately off the bench but fell silent in the moments that followed.

David Guzman (N/A) - The midfielder registered just 10 minutes of action and two shots.

Jordan Hamilton (N/A) - It was a quick shift from Hamilton as the forward logged a few minutes in his appearance.

Caleb Porter (7) - The Crew boss remained stoic following Saturday’s draw. The coaching staff liked the moments of promise but lamented the missed opportunities to put the game away.