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Game Grades: Crew vs. FC Dallas

How the Black & Gold played in earning one point on the road in an eventful match.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew secured a road point in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday as the Black & Gold came from behind twice to tie 2-2 with FC Dallas at the Toyota Stadium.

It was an eventful match with Columbus losing two of its most important players in goalkeeper Eloy Room and midfielder Lucas Zelarayan to injuries while also having a goal called off by referee Ted Unkel after a controversial video review which ruled Luis Diaz offside.

Here’s how each Black & Gold player performed in the match:

Starters

Eloy Room (6.5) – The goalkeeper was required to use his feet more often than usual due to FC Dallas’ high press and did a fine job in moving the ball. He also had a couple of important saves in the first half, most notably on a close-range attempt from Franco Jara, but couldn’t have avoided any of FC Dallas’ goals. He exited the match with an apparent knee injury midway through the second half.

Harrison Afful (3.5) – The Ghanaian had a hard time early in the match with Michael Barrios and fullback Ryan Hollingshead overloading his side and picked up a yellow card in the first half. He was completely out of position on Barrios’ goal, but should have been better protected by his teammates on that play. He bounced back with the assist on Mokhtar’s goal early in the second half but compromised his performance shortly after with an unintelligent penalty kick.

Jonathan Mensah © (6.5) – The captain had another solid performance leading the Crew’s backline despite the two goals conceded. He led the team in clearances with four and had a pair of important actions in the final minutes that helped the team secure a road point.

Josh Williams (6) – The veteran didn’t make any significant mistakes and moved the ball well when he had it at his feet, connecting nearly 90 percent of his passes. On the offensive end, he almost scored a goal early on when he headed a cross from Zelarayan that required a big save from Jimmy Maurer.

Milton Valenzuela (5) – The Argentinean had uncharacteristic defensive struggles in the first half with Fafa Picault. That wasn’t as much of an issue in the second half when he also felt comfortable enough to push forward and create some plays from the left flank, and Valenzuela ended the match with a team-high three tackles.

Artur (5.5) – As the only holding midfielder on the field in the first half, the Brazilian focused more on destroying than distributing the ball. He had a somewhat quiet match, which is typically good for a player in his position, and managed to get more involved in possession after Morris entered the match, ending the game with the team’s second-best passing total at 36.

Pedro Santos (6.5) – The Portuguese started the match in yet another different position, in central midfield alongside Artur and Zelarayan, and responded well, helping on defense and improving the team’s buildup. With Zelarayan’s injury, he played higher and made more of an impact offensively, entering the penalty box to score Columbus’ second goal in the match and firing some dangerous shots.

Luis Diaz (5) – The Costa Rican found some space to make his runs behind FC Dallas’ defense early on, but couldn’t capitalize on them. He showed good energy to press and one of his recoveries generated a good chance for Zelarayan but could have provided more support to Afful on defense.

Lucas Zelarayan (5) – The Designated Player had his moments, but wasn’t very consistent in the 45 minutes he was on the field. He had a great deliver to Williams on a free kick and a couple of dangerous shots before he left the match with what seems to be a hamstring injury.

Youness Mokhtar (6.5) – The winger featured what was probably the Crew’s best opportunity in the first half when he dribbled past an FC Dallas defender and fired a curved shot that was saved by Maurer. He was at the right spot at the right time to tie the match early in the second half and didn’t miss it. He was subbed off at the 60th minute.

Gyasi Zardes (4.5) – With the Crew out possessed by Dallas in the game, the striker didn’t get very involved in the match. He scored a goal that was called off due to a Diaz’s offside and touched Boateng’s cross that ended on Santos’ goal.

Substitutes

Aidan Morris (5.5) – The rookie came in for the injured Zelarayan at the start of the second half. His presence changed the team’s shape a little bit and the Homegrown Player had good participation in the match on both sides of the ball, helping on defense and creating at least one chance on offense.

Emmanuel Boateng (6) – The winger replaced Mokhtar with 30 minutes to go in the second half and immediately assisted Santos for the team’s second goal after a good run on the left side of the penalty box. His presence helped to contain FC Dallas’ right side, which hurt the Crew in the first half.

Andrew Tarbell (N/A) – The backup goalkeeper took the spot between the posts for the injured Eloy Room for the final 20 minutes of the match and, as the Crew dominated that portion of the game, wasn’t really tested.

Derrick Etienne Jr. (N/A) – The winger entered the game with only three minutes to be played and didn’t have enough time to do anything of note.

Head coach

Caleb Porter (5.5) – The coach chose to try a new 4-3-3 formation without Darlington Nagbe but didn’t get to see the tactic play out for the full game. The Crew should have done a better job in protecting Afful in the far post after Hollingshead had a couple of chances there even before Barrios scored, but the team showed great fighting spirit to secure a road point after being behind twice and could have won the match.

Poll

Who was the Crew’s Man of the Match against FC Dallas?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Eloy Room
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Jonathan Mensah
    (1 vote)
  • 76%
    Pedro Santos
    (20 votes)
  • 15%
    Youness Mokhtar
    (4 votes)
26 votes total Vote Now