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Game Grades: Crew vs. D.C. United

This is how each Black & Gold player fared as the team dropped all three points in the country’s capital.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew continues to struggle on the road again as the Black & Gold were downed by Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference’s 12th placed D.C. United 1-0 at the Audi Field on Wednesday.

Using mostly a reserve lineup, the Black & Gold showed more energy and sense of urgency than in last weekend’s 2-2 tie with the Houston Dynamo but were equally ineffective over the 90 minutes with only one shot on target registered in the entire match.

Here’s how each player performed.


Eloy Room (5) – There’s not a lot to talk about with the goalkeeper as a single ball went towards his goal and it went in, but the deflection on Keita’s foot completely eliminated his chances of saving it.

Chris Cadden (5.5) – The Scottish defended started in the spot of the suspended Harrison Afful and had a hard time defending his side on crosses coming from the left, as it happened on D.C.’s goal when he wasn’t close enough to stop Julian Gressel. He offered an interesting offensive presence on the right flank though, especially in the second half, helping to create some of Columbus’ best opportunities.

Jonathan Mensah © (5.5) – The captain started his 21st straight match of the season and had another solid night with one tackle and four clearances. He was one of the team’s most dangerous players on offense because of his strong aerial game on set pieces and nearly scored a goal in the first half as his header was cleared almost over the line by a D.C. defender on the Crew’s only shot on target in the entire match.

Aboubacar Keita (5) – Keita was unlucky with the deflection on D.C.’s goal, but he made the right move to try to stop Gressel’s shot. Outside of that, he had a fine game with a team-high six clearances and no major mistakes.

Waylon Francis (4.5) – The Costa Rican international got his first minutes of the season and his first start since July of 2019 and had a decent night. He wasn’t as vulnerable on defense as in the past, tallying three interception and three clearances, and provided some offensive support with three crosses.

Fatai Alashe (4) – The midfielder started in a different-looking midfield and seemed a little lost, covering a lot of ground, but failing to win the ball back. He was at fault for D.C.’s goal as he didn’t track Yamil Asad’s run behind his back and allowed the Argentinean to send a clean cross into the penalty box.

Sebastian Berhalter (5.5) – The Homegrown player had a good shift as he handled his defensive duties well, registering one tackle and four interceptions, and also took good care of the ball, connecting 92 percent of his passes, including all six long attempts. The only negative note was the early yellow card he received.

Luis Diaz (5) – The Costa Rican had a promising start by drawing a dangerous foul just outside the penalty box early on, but didn’t produce a lot more than that in the first 45 minutes. His performance improved in the second part of the game, when he had more success when combining with Cadden instead of repeatedly trying to run past opponents, and had some dangerous crosses.

Pedro Santos (5) – Playing centrally again, the Portuguese had some good moments during the first half but didn’t manage to create really dangerous situations outside of set pieces. He moved to the left during the second half to accommodate Zelarayan and later to more of a defensive role, but couldn’t really find his rhythm in any of those spots. His defensive work, which generated a team-high seven tackles, was the highlight of his performance.

Youness Mokhtar (4) – The Dutch winger started the game well, finding some pockets to operate between D.C.’s lines but couldn’t keep the same intensity during the entirety of the first half. He left the match early in the second half with just 16 passing attempts.

Krisztian Nemeth (5.5) – The recently-signed forward got his second consecutive start up top and showed once again good movement and energy, dropping deep to combine with the midfielders but also showing good presence inside the penalty box. He had the team’s best opportunity in a header that went just off the crossbar in the second half.


Darlington Nagbe (5) – The midfielder was subbed in early in the second half and even though his presence meant the Crew took better care of the ball and was not in danger when building from the back, it didn’t impact the team’s offense, which was the main need at the time.

Lucas Zelarayan (4.5) – The Argentinean entered the match in the 56th minute and although his presence seemed to energize the team a little bit, the spark didn’t last and he wasn’t very involved offensively.

Emmanuel Boateng (5) – The winger came in with 15 minutes to go and didn’t succeed in being more dangerous from the left.

Jordan Hamilton (N/A) – The forward replaced Francis with eight minutes to go in the match and with the Crew just pushing forward without a lot of organization, didn’t see much of the ball.

Head Coach

Caleb Porter (5) – The head coach made the obvious option of heavily rotating the starting lineup and sent nearly an entirely reserve team to the field, which makes it difficult to analyze his job. He’s taking the right approach on how he’s handling the players’ minutes but should also focus on finding a way to make his team more competitive on the road, especially with the possibility of the Crew playing as a visitor during the playoffs growing every day.


Who was the Crew’s Man of the Match against D.C. United?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Chris Cadden
    (5 votes)
  • 40%
    Jonathan Mensah
    (6 votes)
  • 13%
    Sebastian Berhalter
    (2 votes)
  • 13%
    Krisztian Nemeth
    (2 votes)
15 votes total Vote Now