Game Grades: Crew vs. D.C. United

The Columbus Crew went to the Nation’s Capitol City to face D.C. United this weekend on a two-game win streak. Those two wins both came at Field and the Crew was yet to win on the road.

After surviving early pressure from D.C., the Black & Gold got a break after a VAR review awarded them a penalty kick, which was converted and Columbus never looked back, finishing the game with the team’s second straight shutout and its third consecutive multi-goal win, defeating United 2-0.

Let’s take a look at how the Crew players graded in the performance.


Patrick Schulte (8.5) – Is there a goalkeeper controversy in Columbus? There may be after Schulte played his best game yet for the Crew, earning man of the match honors after his third straight start. Schulte made four critical saves, and his distribution was the catalyst for the Black & Gold’s quick transition and second goal of the evening. Schulte continues to grow in confidence with both his shot-stopping ability and his distribution. As Eloy Room continues to work his way back from a minor injury, Colubus can at the very least feel that the teams has a very competent backup over a long MLS season.

Mohamed Farsi (8.0) – What a pass! That’s all that needs to be said after an incredible run and pass by Farsi that hlped double the Crew’s lead in the 47th minute. However, beyond the assist, the right wing back had a strong defensive performance, contributing a tackle and two clearances. Farsi once again demonstrated his work rate, moving up and down the field throughout the night and making an impact on both offense and defense.

Steven Moreira (7.5) – The right center continues to make his presence felt on both the offense and defense, working high up the pitch to contribute to the Black & Gold’s attack while also contributing four clearances to keep United from finding success on the counter attack. His 88 percent passing accuracy helped Columbus dominate possession.

Milos Degenek (7.5) – Degenek quietly had another excellent performance for the Crew. Although he didn’t have any flashy plays, the center back anchored a stout defensive line that suffered more pressure than it had in the previous two games. D.C. chose its moments to attack and tried to break Columbus down on the counter. However, Degenek and the rest of the Crew backline kept the defensive shape and the ball in front, keeping United off the scoresheet through solid team play.

Gustavo Vallecilla (7.5) – The same that was true about the other center backs was true about Vallecilla’s performance. He also quietly had a strong game, contributing three tackles, and interception and two clearances. On top of their defensive stoutness, Vallecilla made several key long passes to spark the Crew’s offensive attack. Vallecilla has started every match of the Black & Gold’s three-game win streak and seems to have found a good fit in the backline that has only allowed a single goal over that stretch.

Will Sands (8.0) – Of course, the first thing that will come to mind was Sand’s goalline clearance in the 11th minute but the left wing back did much more than just keeping things level in the early going. Sands had his best game for Columbus, consistently finding space on the left side of the field and creating several goal-scoring opportunities. Defensively, Sands led the team in interceptions with four while also contributing two tackles.

Darlington Nagbe (7.5) – Nagbe had one of his better games this season against D.C. As he did against Real Salt Lake, the center midfielder played higher up the field and got himself involved offensively on a consistent basis. Nagbe had two shots and a team-leading 90.2 percent passing accuracy, while also contributing three tackles which helped the Crew keep the ball in United’s half for long periods of time.

Aidan Morris (6.5) – Morris proved this week that he’s human and that not every performance will be better than the previous. While he led the team in tackles with five (he still leads the league in tackles this season with 21), he was a little erratic at times, choosing to push up offensively at inopportune moents and losing the ball in key areas. Morris didn’t have a bad game and it was always going to be hard for the young player to live up to his last few performances.

Alexandru Matan (6.0) – After starting the season on fire, Matan cooled off the past two games. While the Crew hasn’t needed the attacking midfielder to be as dominant as he was early on, Matan’s creativity adds another dimension to the team and takes the pressure off others. By no means was this a poor performance, as he didn’t give up any huge defensive plays, but he didn’t create much, only recording one off-target shot. His biggest contribution was drawing the penalty that led to the first goal.

Lucas Zelarayán (8.0) – While Zelarayán likely wishes he could find more success in the run of play, his two goals in two games from the penalty spot have been critical for the momentum. Beyond his penalty spot prowess, Zelarayán was consistent in his remarkable ability to dictate the game, switching the field with dart-like passes and creating most of the game’s dangerous moments.

Christian Ramírez (8.0) – It was another excellent game from Ramírez. His goal in the 47th minute gave the Crew breathing room that allowed the team to sit more defensively throughout the final 45 minutes. He should have had a second goal when his header was parried away in the 74th minute but Ramirez has been critical to the Black & Gold’s recent success with star Cucho Hernandez still on the injury list.


Yaw Yeboah (7.0) – After scoring last week, Yeboah was eager to come on as a substitute and get involved in the attack. While he was able to contribute one shot, which was on target, the Black & Gold were more focused on securing the two-goal lead than pressing with him, limiting his offensive opportunities.

Sean Zawadzki (6.0) – Zawadzki, coming on in the 84th minute with the game well in hand, but was unable to contribute significantly in either the attack or defense. On the other hand, he didn’t make any mistakes, which helped keep D.C. out of the game.

Philip Quinton (7.0) – Subbed in with Zawadzki, Quinton was solid if unspectacular in relief, recording two clearances and an interception in his 10 minutes of play.

Jacen Russell-Rowe (N/A) – A time-wasting sub in the 90th minute, Russell-Rowe did not have enough time to be able to meaningfully contribute.

Head Coach

Wilfred Nancy (8.0) – Having guided the Crew to one of the team’s best starts (at least offensively) in club history, it’s hard to have any critiques for the new gaffer. Is his use of subs a little confusing? Yes. Will he have to manage an emerging goalkeeper competition? Certainly. But with three wins in the last three games, it’s all smiles for the Black & Gold right now.

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