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Games Grades: Crew vs. San Jose Earthquakes

See how the individual Black & Gold performances were graded in a draw

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at San Jose Earthquakes Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

After a sizzling 4-0 victory to start to begin the 2022 MLS regular season, the Columbus Crew played a much different game against the San Jose Earthquakes in a 3-3 draw on Saturday evening. Columbus went down early, came back to gain a two-goal lead and then squandered it in the final 10 minutes.

Here’s how we graded the individual performances from the Crew.

Starters

Eloy Room (4.5) – On the ninth-minute penalty, Room got a finger to the Cristian Espinoza shot but it wasn’t enough to stop the strong kick from the spot. Room saw three shots on goal in the run of play and had one save. On the two other San Jose goals , Room didn’t get close to either chance. The first 84th minute saw the goalkeeper go down in front of a point-blank chance at a save, which would have been difficult to stop. At the sixth minute of second half stoppage, Room stayed still on a thundering header to cost the Black & Gold two pointw.

Pedro Santos (6.5) – Santos had his second straight solid performance for the Crew, as the new left back. Offensively, Santos sent in a couple of crosses, but he made a larger impact on the defensive side of the ball. Santos cleared the ball three times, blocked three passes and intercepted three pass attempts.

Jonathan Mensah (5.5) – In the run of play, San Jose didn’t have anything. Mensah did well defensively, but a fall in the box at the end of the match was big. It wasn’t a foul against Mensah, but the leaping Francisco Calvo was marked by Mensah in the match’s final moments.

Milos Degenek (5.0) – Agree with the penalty or not, Degenek’s foul led to the penalty kick in the ninth minute. The center backs’ studs went into the foot of midfielder Paul Marie, which would have been called a foul anywhere on the pitch. Overall though, Degenek had a solid performance that’s unfortunately highlighted by one mistake.

Steven Moreira (7.5) – Moreira had a fantastic game in Black & Gold. It was probably his best, which says a lot looking at how well he’s been since joining in late 2021. Moreira’s assist in the 40th minute came off two broken tackles running alongside the penalty area. Throughout the match, any rare chance in the offensive end for San Jose was met with strong pressing by Moreira.

Darlington Nagbe (6.5) – Nagbe had a game that’s expected of the midfielder. He completed 100 percent of his 43 passes and brought whistle-induced attention from the Quakes. Nagbe normally receives attention because of how well he keeps possession under pressure. In the 33rd minute, he was fouled by Jamiro Monteiro for a VAR red. In the 72nd, Nagbe was fouled on the edge of the penalty area leading to the Zelarayán free kick goal.

Artur (6.0) – Artur had a huge performance against the Whitecaps to start the season, but came down to earth a bit against San Jose. That’s not an insult by any means, but Artur wasn’t shooting and attacking on offense the same way against San Jose. Even so, Artur performed well in the midfield, not making mistakes and passing at a 91 percent clip.

Lucas Zelarayán (9.0) – This high rating is not only for his two goals, which were fantastic. Zelarayán was everything the Crew needed in a facilitator on offense. San Jose had no answer for his movement and connection with teammates could have led to more goals had defenders not gotten in the way of shots. The goals are definitely a part of the rating. Zelarayán first finish was one that Crew supporters saw going wide or high throughout the match from others. The free kick (his seventh since joining Columbus in 2020) was icing on the cake and ended up saving the Crew from losing all three points.

Yaw Yeboah (4.5) – Yeboah is reaching 90-minute fitness, and played just about every minute of the match, but the performance wasn’t there. The winger wasn’t nearly as active in the attack in the first half as in match day one. He found some footing in the beginning of the second half, taking a couple of shots, but with defenders in his way. In the 74th minute, Yeboah had his lone dangerous run of the match but led in a tackle that he hoped was a foul against San Jose.

Derrick Etienne Jr. (7.0) – Etienne’s grade would be much higher if his shots found the net. He cemented his spot as the starting left winger with dangerous passing, well-timed runs behind the defense and attempts on goal. Against a team that wasn’t sitting back, with only 10 men, those shots would have found the goal. He did add an assist to his season stat line though.

Miguel Berry (5.5) – Berry didn’t add dangerous chances on goal. His one strong chance came in first half stoppage time when Berry received the ball, turned to his left with time to shoot on goal but sent the ball wide. Berry showed visible frustration after the miss, but he still had positives. Connection with teammates in the final third was strong and was unselfish in times that it was called for.

Substitutes

Gyasi Zardes (6.0) – Zardes came into the match for Berry in the 65th minute. In the 68th, Zardes got on the scoresheet. Bringing in Zardes for Berry is a like-for-like change that gives the Crew no dip in performance up front.

James Igbekeme (5.0) – Igbekeme came in too late for supporters to see much from him in the first match of the season. Against San Jose, the loanee had time to show his skill on the field. He played well with the extra minutes, pressuring the Quakes midfield, adding an interception and getting a good shot that was deflected. Igbekeme did get a yellow card on a late foul that led to San Jose’s second goal.

Aidan Morris (N/A) – Morris came in at the 89th minute, playing seven minutes including stoppage time. He did earn the Crew a foul after being tackled near the goal line, showing the hustle that Morris is known for on the field.

Jalil Anibaba (N/A) – Anibaba received a yellow card in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time, just four minutes after he came onto the field.

Head coach

Caleb Porter (7.0) – Porter brought in the same 11 as the first match of the season and across the board, the team played a strong 75 minutes. Porter’s substitutes made sense. Artur is still building fitness, Zardes came in and scored a goal and Morris/Anibaba came in to help seal the game. Unless you’re hoping Porter gets into the box and man marks, there’s not much else he could have done to stop the final 10 minutes of the match.