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Game Grades: Crew vs. Nashville SC

See how each player performed as the Black & Gold won another match at home with another clean sheet.

MLS: Nashville SC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC continued its great form at home in the 2020 Major League Soccer season by securing its fifth-straight home win this year, a 2-0 victory against expansion side Nashville SC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday. It wasn’t a typical Black & Gold triumph, as the Crew was out-possessed by the visitors, but still found a way to score twice and remain on top of the league.

This is how each player fared in the match:

Starters

Eloy Room (6.5) – The goalkeeper had a scary moment within the first 15 minutes when he nearly dropped an easy cross near the goal, but he was solid for the remainder of the match, doing well on the few times he was called upon, most notably on a short-range attempt from Alex Muyl.

Harrison Afful (7.5) – Mostly known for his offensive contributions to the team, the fullback had an unusual night as he was most important player for the Crew on the defensive side of the game with a team-high three interceptions and six clearances to go with one tackle.

Jonathan Mensah © (7.5) – The captain led the team for yet another clean sheet in his 12th start of the season. He blocked a shot from Anibal Godoy, which was just about to cross the goal line and also added another five blocked shots, four clearances, two interceptions and one tackle to complete another solid game.

Aboubacar Keita (7) – The young center back reappeared in the starting lineup for the first time since he made the mistake that led the Crew to a setback against New York City FC and should be able to regain some of his confidence with a good performance, which was highlighted by six clearances. The only misstep of his night was the unnecessary yellow card he picked up in post-foul scuffle.

Milton Valenzuela (6) – The Argentinean had a performance below his standards, not helping much on offense or standing out on defense. It was far from a bad night for Valenzuela, though, as his three clearances and two passes show.

Artur (7.5) – The Brazilian did a good job in moving the ball around in midfield, especially with long passes that helped stretch the field. Along with his traditional defensive contributions, most noticeably his three tackles and interceptions, he pushed forward at the right time to register just his eighth assist with the team.

Fatai Alashe (6) – The defensive midfielder helped to keep the intensity high in the center of the field by covering a lot of ground and getting a pair of interceptions. His offensive contributions and passing efficiency weren’t as impressive, though.

Luis Diaz (6.5) – As usual, the Costa Rican was somewhat inconsistent, alternating dangerous plays with bad decisions in the final third, but he had overall more ups than downs. He created a couple of good opportunities on the right flank with his pace but failed to finish a great pass from Zardes. His work rate on defense, providing support for Afful, was very important for the team.

Pedro Santos (7) – The Portuguese moved to the No. 10 spot again and had a sloppy start, failing to connect easy passes and not being able to unlock Nashville’s defense. His game improved in the second half and he was instrumental to the Crew’s win with a rocket finish from the top of the penalty box in a critical moment of the match.

Youness Mokhtar (5.5) – The winger found some space to operate in the pocket early on and had some thoughtful passes to his teammates. His performance dropped noticeably in the second half and he was replaced by Zelarayan.

Gyasi Zardes (8) – The striker didn’t have a lot of success on his battles against Nashville’s center backs, but he did a fantastic job in putting pressure on their buildup, winning the ball back and assisting Santos on the first goal. He kept working hard and also fed Diaz with a great pass later in the game, but the winger had his shot blocked. His efforts were rewarded with a beautiful back-heel goal near the end of the match.

Substitutes

Lucas Zelarayan (6.5) – The star midfielder was on the field for the final 25 minutes of the match and didn’t get much on the ball in a moment in which Nashville was pushing for a goal, but he set up the counter attack that ended in Zardes’ goal.

Derrick Etienne Jr. (6) – The winger entered the match at the 75th-minute mark to be a counter-attacking weapon for the Crew, but the team didn’t connect a lot of passes in the attacking third when he was on the field.

Hector Jimenez (N/A) – The veteran came in for Santos for the added time period and didn’t have the time to do much.

Head Coach

Caleb Porter (8) – His team showed great maturity and self-awareness to stick with the plan even in a match in which it was uncharacteristically being out possessed at home. It hasn’t been an easy stretch with the team’s two top playmakers injured, but the Crew is consistently finding ways to get the results with its fantastic defense and by adjusting to what the match requires on offense.

Poll

Who Was the Crew’s Man of the Match against Nashville?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Harrison Afful
    (3 votes)
  • 26%
    Jonathan Mensah
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    Artur
    (3 votes)
  • 10%
    Pedro Santos
    (6 votes)
  • 53%
    Gyasi Zardes
    (32 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now