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Game Grades: Crew vs. D.C. United

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Here is how the Black & Gold players performed in their first loss at Lower.com Field.

DC United v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

It was another poor showing for the Columbus Crew. For the first time ever, the Black & Gold lost at Lower.com Field in a 4-2 defeat to D.C. United to conclude the first half of the Major League Soccer season.

The first 45 minutes was a nightmare for the Crew with giveaways leading to easy goals for D.C. and a 3-0 deficit at the break. On the bright side, Columbus won the second half 2-1 as the team engineered a mini-comeback.

It’s the first time since May the Black & Gold lost two straight games and it comes with eight goals conceded in those two matches. The players and coaching staff will all look to do better in Saturday’s match against Atlanta United to begin the second half of the season.

Here is how the Crew players performed in Wednesday night’s loss.

Starters

Eloy Room (5.0) - It’s been a rough last two games for the Crew goalkeeper. Room has seen eight goals go past him in the past two contests after the club had only conceded 12 goals in its first 15 games. There wasn’t much Room could do in net with his defenders giving the ball away for easy D.C. scoring chances.

Saad Abdul-Salaam (5.5) - Abdul-Salaam got the nod at right back and didn’t have the best performance. He was caught out of position on occasion in the first half to allow United to quickly transition into attacks. A positive for Abdul-Salaam was his success in one-on-ones, winning seven out of eight duels.

Jonathan Mensah (5.0) - The Crew captain tweeted after the game that he needs to do better. Mensah had a rare giveaway at the end of the first half that led to the D.C. penalty and his yellow card. He was close to receiving a red card and did not have a good performance defensively.

Aboubacar Keita (4.5) - It was not the finest hour for Keita whose giveaway in the back led to Ola Kamara’s opening goal, one that took the air out of the Crew players and fans and began the defensive collapse in the first half. It’s another growth opportunity for the young center back who has been overall impressive in the absence of Josh Williams and Vito Wormgoor.

Waylon Francis (5.5) - Francis’ noticeable defensive lapse came on the second goal, as he was a few steps too slow of Yordy Reyna’s run to head the ball in. Offensively, he was got forward some and creating pressure from the left side.

Marlon Hairston (6.0) - Hairston showed once again his ability to complete passes, recover the ball and intercept passes. We’ll see plenty more of him in central midfield after the news that Artur will be out for another 10-12 weeks.

Darlington Nagbe (6.5) - The Crew’s No. 6 completed 99 percent of his passes and won eight duels against the United midfielders. Nagbe was good in the areas fans expect him to be good but wasn’t able to change the outcome.

Kevin Molino (7.0) - The fans got the type of performance expected out of Columbus’ biggest offseason signing Wednesday night with Molino scoring his first Crew goal. His second half against D.C. was exactly what Caleb Porter and Crew fans are looking for with his ability and determination to score. His shot off the crossbar was particularly exciting and led to the second goal.

Lucas Zelarayan (7.0) - The recently named MLS All-Star showed why he will be going to Los Angeles in the second half of the game. He followed up Molino’s shot to set himself up for an easy goal to keep up the Crew’s mini-comeback alive. He now leads the team with six goals this season.

Derrick Etienne Jr. (6.5) - The Haitian was active in his 56 minutes on the pitch with overlaps In the attack and helping defensively with six recoveries. In a game where the Crew defense was disappointing, Etienne was among a couple of attackers that had decent showings.

Erik Hurtado (6.0) - It was another Crew start for Hurtado and another without a goal. He was able to get two shots up top but did lose possession on one too many occasions in his hold-up play.

Substitutes

Gyasi Zardes (6.5) - The Gold Cup winner got his first appearance for the Crew after a month away. Zardes showed Black & Gold fans how much he helps in the offense with speedy runs and efficient hold-up play. His assist to Molino after a breakaway was a good example of his composure under pressure.

Luis Diaz (6.0) - The Costa Rican helped to unleash the speed of the offense in the second half. Diaz got down on the right wings throughout the second 45 minutes and put in a good showing off the bench.

Pedro Santos (6.0) - Santos stepped in and was effective offensively and defensively late in the match. It seems likely fans will see him start for the Crew on Saturday as he continues to log more minutes in 2021.

Alexandru Matan (N/A) - The Romanian played 10 minutes off the bench but didn’t create much on the wing.

Head Coach

Caleb Porter (5.5) - Two straight losses with eight goals conceded makes this the worst run of form for Columbus all season. Porter knew what United was going to do with its high press and said nothing the visitors did surprised the Black & Gold. The execution of the defense and goals handed to D.C. cost the Crew a chance at earning points.