The Columbus Crew came back from a two-goal early deficit to take one point on its first-ever match at the club’s new stadium Lower.com Field on Saturday as the Black & Gold managed a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution. A good Crew performance was negatively impacted by a couple of individual defensive mistakes that gave the Eastern Conference leaders an early lead, but Gyasi Zardes and an own goal by Andrew Farrell leveled the match and sent Columbus fans home at least partially satisfied.
Here’s how each player performed in Lower.com Field’s first-ever match:
Eloy Room (6) – The goalkeeper wasn’t very busy in the first half despite having conceded twice. There was nothing he could have done on Tajon Buchanan’s goal but it seemed like he mistimed his dive to catch the cross sent Gustavo Bou’s way on the second and let the ball go past him. He took care of business in the second half too, when dealing with some crosses and a few long-distance attempts.
Harrison Afful (6.5) – The fullback had a great start to the match, winning the ball back in the final third and firing a dangerous shot in the second minute. He did fine, but not great, on his effort to deny the cross that generated New England’s first goal. Afful worked well with Diaz on the right and was an important piece in the team’s offense, assisting Zardes for his goal. He also had a couple of important defensive actions.
Jonathan Mensah © (6) – The captain was very solid at the center of Columbus’ defense, registering a team-high six clearances. With the Crew dominating possession, Mensah was on the ball often and he did a good job with it at his feet, connecting 96.3 percent of his match-high 107 passes, including a few long ones.
Vito Wormgoor (5.5) – The Dutch defender did a good job in using his physicality during most of the match but seemed hesitant about closing down on Buchanan or keeping his place on the second goal and that allowed the New England winger enough space to cross the ball for Bou to score. He bounced back however in the second half.
Milton Valenzuela (4.5) – The Argentinean was uncharacteristically poorly positioned and didn’t get close enough to Buchanan to try and avoid his header in New England’s first goal. He was also partially at fault in the second goal as he was caught out of position on the Revolution’s quick transition play. Valenzuela went down with a hamstring injury and left the match at the end of the first half.
Marlon Hairston (6) – The versatile player made his first start with the Crew, playing as a midfielder and, even though his mobility was useful as Columbus tried to disorganize New England’s defense, his ball distribution wasn’t really impactful. He worked hard on the defensive side of the game, leaving the field with four tackles.
Darlington Nagbe (6) – The talented veteran did well with his ball distribution but wasn’t the midfield hub he typically is. Nagbe went from very good plays to portions of the game in which he was limited to passing the ball to the sides without much of a purpose. He had a great chance to score the game-winner in stoppage time but had his shot blocked.
Luis Diaz (6.5) – The Costa Rican winger returned from injury directly into the starting lineup and almost scored right off the bat. Diaz had quite a few dangerous runs down the right side but most of the times, failed on his final touch, be it a shot, a pass or a cross.
Lucas Zelarayan (6) – The Argentinean never stopped trying as he moved all over the field looking to get on the ball. He wasn’t as dangerous on the final third, though, as outside of set pieces and a couple of long-distance shots, he didn’t cause a lot of trouble for New England.
Pedro Santos (5.5) – The Portuguese winger wasn’t as involved as in previous matches. He oftentimes moved inside, overloading the center of the field and putting himself in a less-than-ideal position for his left foot to operate. He improved near the end, but outside of a controversial penalty claim in the second half, he wasn’t dangerous at all.
Gyasi Zardes (7.5) – The striker worked hard on both sides of the ball up front as usual and was rewarded with the Crew’s first goal at Lower.com Field at the end of the first half. His effort was also instrumental for the outcome of the unlikely play that resulted in the Columbus equalizer and he nearly scored another goal near the end of the match.
Waylon Francis (6) – The Costa Rican left back replaced Valenzuela just before halftime and had some early struggles with Buchanan too. He then settled into the game and did a fine job with containing Carles Gil with some hard work.
Alexandru Matan (6) – The Romanian replaced Diaz at the 63rd minute and tried to add some pace and intensity to the Crew offense. He was inconsistent with his execution but showed good effort, drawing a dangerous foul near the end of the match and having a potential game-winning shot block inside the six-yard box.
Liam Fraser (5.5) – The defensive midfielder came in for Hairston with 30 minutes to play and provided a more solid presence in front of the Crew’s defenders. The team’s tying goal was originated from a long pass that came from him.
Caleb Porter (6) – His team started the game well and was somewhat unfortunate to not score early on. The Black & Gold didn’t get down or disorganized after the Revolution scored two, which was good, but couldn’t find ways to consistently break the opponent’s defense either. It seemed like it took a little too long for him to make adjustments on the team’s backline left side, but after that was under control, the Black & Gold were hands down the best team on the field.
Who Was the Crew’s Man of the Match Against New England?
This poll is closed