The Columbus Crew couldn’t get the sweep against New York City FC Friday night, losing 4-1 to the blue side of New York in the Bronx. The performance was the worst of the season for the Crew, but there were a couple of highlights on the night.
Here are the game grades from the underwhelming performance from Yankee Stadium.
Eloy Room (6.5) - Room has been a stellar shot stopper in recent matches. However, like all goalkeepers, it was an off night for the Dutch. A questionable decision to come off of his line cost Columbus on the second goal, letting Thiago chip the ball into the back net. Room was able to save himself a little bit at the end of the match, pulling off a double save to not allow the damage get any worse.
Harrison Afful (5.9) - I guess you could say Harrison had an Afful night. Having to mark Valentin Castellanos — in which Afful gives up multiple inches in height — on a corner kick was not the easiest task, which saw Castellanos score the first goal. Afful also only completed 79 percent of his passes. All, in all, it was not a good night for the fullback.
Jonathan Mensah (5.9) - It was also not a good night for the center back. Mensah was caught out of position on more than one occasion. The captain was slow to the ball and just couldn’t step to attackers. Mensah, who normally has stellar showings, couldn't find his bearings and did not show up as expected.
Pedro Santos (6.9) - Santos at fullback is a move that every Crew fan loves to see. He started there against the Pidgeons and had a decent showing. Santos was able to draw a goal back for Columbus at the last kick of the ball on a penalty kick. Santos was tripped inside of the penalty area, and he took the ensuing penalty kick to slot it past the NYCFC keeper.
Darlington Nagbe (5.8) - Nagbe is a force to be reckoned with in midfield but New York City was able to limit his time on the ball and forcing the Lakewood, Ohio native to commit to one side, then quickly switch play to the other. He had a good chance with a shot from distance in the first half, but it wasn’t on goal.
Marlon Hairston (7.0) - Hairston is the most improved player on the team so far this year. Having Hairston paired with Nagbe in the middle for this match was the obvious go-to decision. He completed 98 percent of his passes and was able to hold on to the ball. This doesn’t mention the dirty work he does, getting five clean tackles and winning an aerial battle.
Kevin Molino (6.3) - Molino is still finding his rhythm for the Black & Gold. For a player who is getting healthy, he had an average match. He was relatively good in possessing the ball at times, but his passing is still questionable. Multiple turnovers on his half of the midfield and even into the final third was not good enough from the Trinidad and Tobago international. He has potential, but he needs to be more confident in his passing.
Lucas Zelarayan (6.0) - After scoring three free kicks against NYCFC already, Zelarayan missed his only attempt that almost deflected off of the crossbar. As for the match itself, City did a good job at keeping Zelarayan quiet. Limited his passing, not letting him get any shots or make key passes and overall frustrating the Argentine was effective.
Luis Diaz (6.1) - Just getting back from international duty with Costa Rica in the Gold Cup, it was a surprise to see Diaz start the match. The quickness and pace he has on the right wing is something the Crew relies on a lot. He brought just that, but couldn’t connect on his passes and his control of the ball and defending was a bit lackluster. NYCFC took advantage of the right side in the first half, playing down that flank often.
Bradley Wright-Phillips (5.9) - Wright-Phillips is finding his form with a new team, that normally has Zardes starting. A normal goal scorer, Wright-Phillips had a quiet night, not getting on the ball nearly enough.
Erik Hurtado (6.2) - Hurtado came on in the 62nd minute and was able to register the Black & Gold’s first shot on goal of the game with a shot inside the penalty area that ended up getting blocked for a corner kick. He couldn’t make much more of an impact.
Derrick Etienne Jr. (6.7) - Etienne also came on in the 62nd minute and showed his pace and speed. Not able to make a quick impact, he completed only 64 percent of his passes and made a tackle.
Saad Abdul-Salaam (6.1) - The full-back was brought on in the 62nd minute as well to help calm the storm of attack that NYCFC was pouring on the backline of the Black & Gold. Abdul-Salaam has also improved his play and was able to make a small impact last night by completing 94 percent of his passes.
Waylon Francis (6.1) - Francis replaced Zelarayan, and just couldn’t find his footing to help Columbus start an attack. His passing was great and his presence was felt, but nothing more could be done for a player that was brought in at the 75th minute.
Liam Fraser (N/A) - Fraser just got back from International duty with Canada, so seeing him get minutes was puzzling. Not much could be done by the time he got on the field.
Caleb Porter (6.2) - Tactics were the biggest thief for Columbus. Porter could have brought on Berry to add some height to the attack, but nothing more could be done as NYCFC did their homework and just outplayed the Crew.