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Game Grades: Crew vs. Toronto FC

It was a night to forget for many Black & Gold players.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC experienced defeat for only the second time this season, falling 3-1 to Toronto FC. The Crew came out with energy and dominated the first half, entering halftime with the lead off of a Chris Mavinga own goal. But the team fell apart in the second half as Toronto made adjustments, never regaining control of the game and conceding multiple goals for only the second time in 2020.

It was a disappointing result, as the Crew lost the Trillium Cup and ground in the Supporters’ Shield standings. Here’s how the players grade out:

Starters

Eloy Room (4) - The shot stopper was not called upon much in the first half, but was good with his feet when the ball came back to him. He showed a lot of rust in the second half. Room made a couple good saves, but was caught off on Toronto’s second goal and was nutmegged on the third.

Harrison Afful (5.5) - Afful probably had the best game of any member of the defense, mainly due to TFC’s targeting of the Black & Gold’s left side. He had some good offensive contributions in the first half and was much more involved across both defense and attack. Affull was subbed out for Cadden in the 78th minute.

Jonathan Mensah (5) - The captain did not have an awful performance, contrary to what the scoreline might say. There was not much he could do on any of Toronto’s goals and generally marked his man well when in the penalty box. Beyond that, it was a pretty quiet performance.

Josh Williams (5) - Williams was probably the better of the two center backs and had some good clearances off of corners and crosses. Much like Mensah, there wasn’t much he could do on any of the goals. He had some good passes and was the best member of the defense in the first half.

Hector Jimenez (5) - Jimenez had a decent performance up until TFC’s first goal when he was beaten by Richie Laryea’s pass across the 18-yarrd box. This occurred on more than one occasion, but Jimenez was mostly solid up until the goal. He was subbed out in the 57th minute for Valenzuela.

Artur (6) - Artur had one of his better games, despite the loss. The Brazilian marked his 100th match with the Crew and was much more involved offensively, even getting a shot at goal. He had good control of the midfield and was generally not the culprit when Toronto players broke through. Artur also maintained a lot of energy, aggressively chasing down opponents, even towards the end of the game.

Sebastian Berhalter (5.5) - The young Berhalter was handed the start in place of the injury Fatai Alashe and had a decent performance. He had some good reactions in the first half to Toronto players trying to move past him and when the ball was in the air near him. Berhalter seemed a bit lost at times in the second half, being beaten by speedier members of the TFC midfield. He was taken off in the 62nd minute for fellow rookie Morris.

Luis Diaz (5.5) - The winger had some good shots in the first half with more efforts on target than in many of his previous games. His most notable contribution was the passing tandem he developed with Afful and Zelarayan in the first half, making every Crew attack down the right side more dangerous. This waned in the second half and he was replaced by Etienne in the 62nd minute.

Lucas Zelarayan (5.5) - The Argentine was the most creative player on the field in the first half, offering great service to the wings and great passes all around. Toronto’s halftime adjustments stymied him in the second half and Zelarayan wasn’t able to make much of an impact again until it was too late in the game. His shot into the side netting in the 84th minute was the Crew’s last chance to get back into the game.

Pedro Santos (6) - Santos showed a lot of energy on the field and had some good runs in the first half. His floater into the penalty box set up Mavinga’s own goal, albeit in the hopes of reaching Gyasi Zardes. He was burned a bit on TFC’s third goal but overall had a decent performance. He was taken off in the 78th minute for Mokhtar.

Gyasi Zardes (5.5) - The striker failed to score, but was instrumental to Toronto’s own goal, being in the perfect place for Mavinga to think it was necessary to attempt to clear the ball. Zardes tracked back to assist with defense as normal, but was mostly silent offensively, especially after the first half.

Substitutes

Milton Valenzuela (4) - Valenzuela had a real shocker, despite only being on the field for the last half hour. He was beaten by Laryea on Toronto’s second and third goals and struggled to lock down the left side defensively. He was a bit involved on the offensive side but was an issue overall.

Aidan Morris (4.5) - Morris struggled some in midfield. He earned a yellow card for a bad slide tackle and was ill-equipped to deal with Toronto’s offense. He didn’t contribute much as the Crew went into a tailspin.

Derrick Etienne Jr. (5) - Etienne came on at the same time as Morris and was quiet during his time on the field. He took over on the right side for Diaz, but by the time he came on, the right wing was not producing offensively.

Chris Cadden (5) - Much like the previous substitutes, Cadden was quiet while on the field, in large part due to the lack of action on the right side of the field. He made no major mistakes, but nothing praise either.

Youness Mokhtar (5.5) - The winger actually provided a bit of creativity in the dying minutes, pushing the attack forward and getting some good passes to Zelarayan. He might have been able to contribute more if he had been on the field longer.

Head Coach

Caleb Porter (4.5) - Porter chose to deploy a strong lineup on short rest, which worked in the first half but succumbed to tired legs in the second. In a major shakeup, Porter actually chose to use all five substitutions, including three before the 65th minute. Despite these changes, the Crew did not really have any answers to Toronto’s halftime adjustments.

Poll

Who was the Crew’s Man of the Match against the Houston Dynamo?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Pedro Santos
    (11 votes)
  • 9%
    Darlington Nagbe
    (4 votes)
  • 30%
    Luis Diaz
    (13 votes)
  • 34%
    Eloy Room
    (15 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now