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Game Grades: Crew vs. Minnesota United

Here’s how the team performed on its final match at the MLS is Back Tournament

Columbus Crew SC v Minnesota United FC: Knockout Round - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Columbus Crew SC’s run at the MLS is Back Tournament came to an end on Tuesday when the Black & Gold were eliminated by Minnesota United with a 5-3 loss in the penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 tie over 90 minutes in the Round of 16.

Columbus leaves the tournament undefeated with three wins and one tie, but the team’s performance against Minnesota was far from ideal. Here is how each player performed in the match.

Starters

Andrew Tarbell (4.5) – After an impressive performance on his debut against Atlanta United, the goalkeeper could have done better to avoid Minnesota’s goal despite having his vision partially obstructed by players from both teams. He bounced back to a certain extent in the second half, when he made an important save after another corner kick, but didn’t pick the right side in any of the five penalty kicks in the shootout.

Harrison Afful (6) – The fullback was probably the Crew’s most consistent offensive threat during the match. The Ghanaian pushed forward frequently and had some good runs and dribbles on the right flank, but couldn’t connect most of his four crosses. He did a fine job in defense too, with three tackles.

Jonathan Mensah © (5.5) – With the Crew having the ball for most of the match, the captain didn’t have to deal with constant pressure, but looked unusually shaky at times, especially when passing or clearing the ball. He connected 92.6 percent of his 94 passes, but had a couple of dangerous turnovers, including one to Luis Amarilla.

Aboubacar Keita (5) – The Homegrown defender struggled with Ethan Finlay’s pace on a few occasions when he had to cover for Valenzuela on the left side of Crew’s defense. He’s also partially to blame for Minnesota’s goal as he was the player marking Robin Lod when the corner was taken and lost the Finnish attack.

Milton Valenzuela (4.5) – Despite registering three tackles, the left back struggled on defense when had to handle Finlay and right back Romain Metanire at the same time. His tough night on the defensive side of the ball seemed to undermine his confidence as the Argentinean rarely tried to get to end line and left the match with no crosses registered.

Artur (5) – The Brazilian had one of his worst first halves since his arrival in Columbus as he misplaced several passes and wasn’t as combative on defense. In the play that led to Minnesota’s goal, he inexplicably seemed to move away from Lod after the Finnish’s header was blocked. His performance improved in the second half as he tried to help the team on offense.

Darlington Nagbe (5.5) – One of Columbus’ top players of the group stage, the midfielder was a shadow of himself against the Loons. Nagbe seemed to be out of rhythm as he uncharacteristically misplaced some passes and couldn’t really find his teammates in good spots.

Luis Diaz (5) – The Costa Rican winber had a curious performance with only five touches in the 45 minutes he was on the field. Diaz did lead the team in shots for most of the match with two attempts. He could have been used better by the Crew but also didn’t get himself in good positions to contribute more.

Lucas Zelarayán (5.5) – The Designated Player never stopped trying, but most of his attempts to create goal-scoring opportunities were unfruitful. He dribbled the ball frequently around the penalty box and had a team-high five shots, but seemed to force some of them when passing the ball was apparently the best option.

Pedro Santos (4) – The Portuguese wing was absolutely ineffective for the entire first half when he played on the left side and struggled to combine with Valenzuela. He moved to his preferred right side in the second half and was deployed in a central position near the end, but didn’t really make an impact and failed to connect a lot of his passes. Fortunately, his bad performance didn’t carry to the penalty kick shootout.

Gyasi Zardes (5) – The striker had a very inconsistent night, much like the rest of the team. Despite his continuous effort, Zardes struggled to get himself in good positions and couldn’t finish the crosses that found him in the penalty box. Even his goal, on the rebound of a penalty kick he had missed, wasn’t typical from the player who was consistently scoring at the start of the tournament.

Substitutes

Derrick Etienne Jr. (6) – The winger came in after the halftime break and his presence allowed Santos to play on his preferred right side. He showed more determination than Diaz and drew a vital penalty kick for the Crew in a moment when the team was running out of options to hurt Minnesota.

Hector Jimenez (5) – The veteran replaced Valenzuela at the 64th-minute mark and tried to provide a better offensive option than the Argentinean, but couldn’t find ways to overcome Minnesota’s defense.

Chris Cadden (4) – The Scottish player replaced Nagbe with 15 minutes to go and tried to provide some depth on the right side of the Crew’s offense. He had a couple of dangerous crosses, but did poorly in the penalty kick shootout, missing his shot.

Fanendo Adi (N/A) – The striker entered the match shortly after the Crew scored and tried to boost the team’s offense, but didn’t see much of the ball during his time on the field. He did a good job with his penalty kick shot.

Head Coach

Caleb Porter (5) – The coach approached the match as seriously as he could and sent the strongest possible group to the field, but he has to leave the tournament with at least a few frustrations and points of concern moving forward. The Crew was abysmal in defending set pieces against Minnesota and struggled to create chances against a well-organized, but unspectacular team despite having most of its offensive pieces in the field.

Poll

Who Was the Crew's Man of the Match Against Minnesota?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Harrison Afful
    (7 votes)
  • 31%
    Lucas Zelarayán
    (10 votes)
  • 25%
    Gyasi Zardes
    (8 votes)
  • 21%
    Derrick Etienne Jr.
    (7 votes)
32 votes total Vote Now