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Game Grades: Crew vs. Philadelphia Union

A look at how the players performed in a second straight Black & Gold loss

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Following the team’s first loss of the season to Nashville SC last week, the Columbus Crew made it two straight defeats with Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the Philadelphia Union. A bobbled cross led to an early own goal from goalkeeper Eloy Room and while the Black & Gold dominated possession, they couldn’t find the back of the net.

Here is how the players performed in the narrow defeat.

Starters

Eloy Room - (6.5) Disregarding the own goal, Room had a good game. He had a few one-on-one saves, most notably in the 22nd and 82nd minutes, which helped to keep the Crew in the game. When he needed to, he was quick off his line and overall was a positive impact on the game. That one mistake was ultimately the difference in one point and no points on the road.

Pedro Santos - (7) The left back had arguably his best defensive game of the year, winning 100 percent of his duels and committing zero fouls. Other than counter attacks, the Union didn’t have many quality chances from the left side of the pitch, a nod to Santos’ defense.

Milos Degenek- (7.5) Degenek was the rock at the back for the Black & Gold on Saturday, winning 10 out of 16 duels on the day. He was as accurate as you could ask for as a center back, completing 91 percent of his passes and was arguably Columbus’ best defender in the game.

Jonathan Mensah - (6.5) The center back played well, a typical performance for the Ghana international. Not much, if anything, got past him. Throughout the game, Mensah had a few moments where his decision making was questionable or he was too aggressive in a challenge. But for the most part, Mensah held his own,

Steven Moreira - (6.5) Moreira was very good offensively, but he was tested defensively. The right back had two passes leading to a shot and missed a shot from 12 yards out. When coming back on defense, Moreira was out of position at times, which made it easier for Philadelphia to create more chances.

Darlington Nagbe - (6.5) Nagbe played a good game. He was consistent in his distribution and, in typical Nagbe fashion, didn’t lose the ball often. There isn’t much to critique in a quality game from the central midfielder.

Artur - (6.5) Taken off in the 62nd minute, Artur had a relatively good day. The midfielder did well to keep possession and didn’t lose the ball many times. While in possession, he kept the ball moving forward, which led to a number advantage in several counter attacks.

Derrick Etienne Jr. - (7) Etienne had a strong game. He was successful on the left side for most of the night, and his combination play with Santos gave the Union right back problems. He had one shot on target that was saved, but his crosses helped create some danger for the Crew.

Lucas Zelerayan - (7.5) While not creating any clear-cut chances, Zelerayan was the most dangerous player on the field for Columbus. His first half free kick caused Union goalkeeper Andre Blake to make a good save. In the second half, Zelerayan’s ball movement helped to get Yaw Yeboah and Etienne isolated on the wings.

Yaw Yeboah - (6) Yeboah was quiet in Philadelphia, only having one shot on target throughout the night. His relationship with Moreira and Santos is starting to become stronger with less communication from both the left and right side. One on one is where Yeboah thrives, but he oftentimes doesn’t get the ball off before the opportunity closes.

Miguel Berry - (6) Berry was taken off in the 72nd minute and didn’t do a whole lot in his time on the field. He often received the ball with his back to goal to lay it off to Zelerayan, Artur or Nagbe when they came to support. Overall, this was not the greatest game for the young striker.

Substitutes

James Igbekeme - (7) Coming into the game for Artur in the 62nd minute, Igbekeme played well in the time he was on the field. He found the gaps in the Philadelphia press that allowed the Crew to keep possession and get some dangerous attacks as well. Overall, it was a good performance for the loanee.

Gyasi Zardes - (5.5) The forward came into the game in the 72nd minute but didn’t have much of an impact. He had just five touches on the ball with only two completed passes on the night.

Alexandru Matan - (N/A) Alexandru Matan came in in the 84th minute and did not do enough to receive a grade.

Aidan Morris - (N/A) Along with Matan, Aidan Morris also came in the match in the 84th minute, not enough to accurately grade his performance on the night.

Head Coach

Caleb Porter - (6.5) Porter made two changes from the previous game, bringing in Berry and Yeboah into the starting lineup. Overall, the starting 11 seemed flat, causing many of the mistakes that cost the game. The substitutes that went into the game were a little late, so they didn’t have much time to make an impact.