A road point is a good point, right? The Columbus Crew earned a road 1-1 draw after a good performance against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday. While many fans might be lamenting the big misses in the game, this result shows a good mentality for the team to pull out a draw.
After missing a few big chances and then giving up a chaotic goal in the 85th minute, the Crew players continue to fight and were rewarded with a goal in stoppage time. Let’s look at the performances that keep the Black & Gold undefeated.
Eloy Room (6.0) – Outside of one of his unfortunate own goal, Room had a good performance. The goalkeeper had three saves, with one being an early challenge that kept the game level. Room dealt well with crosses and free kicks well until the goal. New York’s goal came off a headed ball from a corner, which ultimately ricocheted off Room’s back and into Tom Barlow’s path for a goal.
Pedro Santos (7.5) – As has often been the case this season, the Red Bulls tried to attack down Columbus’ left flank. New York found out that Santos is more than a stopgap at the left back position. The converted winger had four tackles, two interceptions, 27 duels won and was fouled seven times. Santos has been playing with confidence and put in a good shift.
Jonathan Mensah (6.0) – Another week and another defensive performance that has been difficult to break down. Columbus has not yet allowed a goal from open play, and the captain deserves recognition in organizing his backline. While Mensah put in a good performance, there was one major blemish. On the goal for the Red Bulls, the center back momentarily lost track of Aaron Long, who then makes it difficult for Room to punch the ball out. Mensah also had a blocked shot right before the half.
Milos Degenek (7.0) – Degenek had a solid performance against the Red Bulls registering, a team-high six clearances and eight aerials won. Degenek’s strong performance should give him confidence going into World Cup qualifying with Australia.
Steven Moreira (7.0) – It was a quiet night for Moreira as New York focused much of the team’s attack down the opposite side of the pitch. The right back also did not get in as advanced positions in this match as he has in previous games. The Frenchman only needs one moment, however. to show his quality, as, in the game’s final moments, Moreira played the final ball in that led to the goal. While this pass was not credited as an assist, it was the service the Black & Gold needed to rescue a point.
Darlington Nagbe (8.5) – Nagbe was at the heart of everything positive for the Crew on Sunday. Gyasi Zardes’ big chance was started by Nagbe advancing the ball through a combination of dribbles and give-and-gos. The breakaway chance that saw Derrick Etienne Jr. one on one with the goalkeeper, started with the vision and pass from Nagbe. Columbus broke through the press of the Red Bulls through accurate passing led by Nagbe who completed 92.5 percent of his passes.
Artur (7.0) – Artur earned good marks in this match for playing the ball forward well. While combining with Nagbe, the Crew did not feel New York’s press in the second half. Artur was caught ball watching on New York’s goal as his mark, Barlow, moved into the area occupied by Room and Nagbe.
Lucas Zelarayan (7.5) – This was a down game overall for Zelarayan, who has been magnificent all season. The Argentine only registered one shot, coming after some magnificent dribbling left two defenders on the ground, but the effort was off target. Zelarayan led the team with three key passes and four crosses. One cross led to Zardes’ second big chance of the day. During stoppage time, Zelarayan came off the pitch with an injury.
Yaw Yeboah (6.5) – Yeboah had a quiet first half. The Black & Gold winger only had 22 total touches and will need to find ways to get himself more involved in the game. Yeboah increased his marks by having a beautiful cross into Zardes for a tap-in finish that unfortunately was misplayed. Yeboah had one shot that went off target in 73 minutes
Derrick Etienne Jr. (6.5) – Etienne had a dream chance, a one-on-one with only the goalkeeper to beat, but did not finish. Credit goes to Etienne for seeing the breakaway chance and making the run. Etienne tied for the team in shots with two. He showed good mental strength for his 87-minute shift after a difficult week.
Miguel Berry (5.0) – Berry failed to find the game, registering only 12 touches and no shots in his 59 minutes. The forward did register one block to contribute on defense. Head coach Caleb Porter has started Berry all four matches this season, but he will need to improve his performances to continue to start.
Gyasi Zardes (5.5) – The offense seemed to come to life after Zardes came onto the field. Columbus began to play more crosses which connected with Zardes. The forward played a good ball out to Diaz and had good movement to disorganize the defense to contribute to the Crew’s lone goal. While Zardes contributed positively to this match by being in good spots to create chances, his big miss in the 65th minute and another miss in the 74th minute decreased his marks for this match.
Luis Diaz (6.5) – Diaz came on in the 73 minute and did not get much of a chance to impact the game. The winger did make a meaningful contribution, making a smart and well-weighted pass for Moreira to play across goal. Diaz’s decision to slow the final play down allowed Nagbe and Moreira to continue their runs, put the service in and ultimately score the game salvaging point.
Alexandru Matan (N/A) – Matan was on the field for eight minutes and made sure his presence was known. The Romanian was part of the build-up play that led to the Black & Gold’s goal which also included pulling the final defender away for Nagbe.
James Igbekeme (N/A) – Coming on in the 87th minute, Igbekeme stripped Fletcher of possession to give Columbus one final chance and helped the Crew salvage a point on the road.
Caleb Porter (7.5) – This was a good game for Porter’s men. They executed their game plan well to break through the Red Bulls' press with Nagbe and Artur. By bringing on Zardes, the offense found its rhythm and created high-percentage chances. The defense still has not allowed a goal from open play, but the set piece woes continue. Expect the Black & Gold to continue to work on this over the international break.