Game Grades: Crew vs. LA Galaxy

The Columbus Crew came into Wednesday’s midweek match winless in the team’s last four games, having gone 0-2-2 in MLS play. However, the struggling LA Galaxy, who did not bring the team’s top lineup, offered an excellent chance for the Crew to return to winning ways.

Once the team went up 2-0 heading into halftime though, the demons of this past weekend floated around Field and the sellout crowd waited to see if the Black & Gold could hold onto their lead through the second half. Columbus handled its business professionally in the second half, and while it may not have been the most exciting affair, it was certainly effective as the team managed to hang on to win by the same 2-0 margin.

Let’s take a look then at how the individual players performed in this game.


Patrick Schulte (7.0) – It was a shutout for Schulte and the young Crew goalkeeper played well despite only facing two shots on target. Not only did Schulte save both shots, but his distribution was also superb, as he demonstrated plenty of skill with the ball at his feet.

Steven Moreira (7.5) – Two clearances and a tackle underplayed how well Moreira performed, as he had the best game of the Crew’s backline. His 91 touches led the team, showing the amount of control the center back brought to the team. He completed 66 passes that helped the Black & Gold circulate possession and helped Columbus kill off the game in the second half.

Philip Quinton (7.0) – Quinton continued to grow into his role as the central defender and added a degree of professionalism and control on the ball to his game in the second half. As the Galaxy turned up the pressure, Quinton calmly distributed the ball and his team-leading six clearances helped keep the Crew out of danger.

Gustavo Vallecilla (6.5) – Vallecilla played well until a 70th minute injury caused him to be substituted. The left center back did enough in the game to keep LA off the scoresheet, but with the Black & Gold already thin at the position, his injury could prove costly.

Malte Amundsen (7.0) – In his first MLS start for the Black & Gold, Amundsen certainly made the most of the opportunity. Not only did he score a goal, but his distribution and positioning created multiple scoring chances for Columbus. While his finish certainly wasn’t spectacular, the wing back’s goal was vital for the Crew to maintain momentum heading into halftime and provide some insurance for the team in the second half.

Alexandru Matan (7.5) – After struggling to regain the form that led to his fast start to the season, Matan has found his stride again. His assist in this match was well deserved after he helped create numerous chances with his movement both on and off the ball. Playing out of position at right wing back, Matan showed his versatility and skill with his ability to weave in and out of defenders, helping the Crew maintain possession and prevent the Galaxy from mounting a comeback attempt.

Aidan Morris (7.0) – Morris had a very consistent night. The central midfielder recorded 91 touches, was 71-of-76 passing and managed three tackles and three interceptions in an aggressive defensive performance that obviously annoyed Galaxy forward Riqui Puig, who picked up a yellow card in the 82nd minute for a frustration foul. On the negative side, early in the first half, Morris had two bad giveaways that led to opportunities for LA. Morris played significantly better after, but those turnovers could have been costly and need to be cleaned up.

Darlington Nagbe (7.5) – Nagbe has been brilliant for the Crew over the past few games, and he was no different on Wednesday night. The midfielder once again played higher up the field and that change has paid dividends for the Black & Gold. Nagbe was involved more in the offensive third and his control gave Columbus both a release valve and a key facilitator to work the ball around the opponent’s goal. On Wednesday, Nagbe was second on the team with five passes into the final third and led the team with 10 progressive passes.

Lucas Zelarayán (8.0) – While he only played a half, Zelarayan showed what he brings to the Crew and how big his absence is without him on the field. The midfielder’s goal was the culmination of his consistent movement off the ball and the relationship he has with his attacking teammates.

Cucho Hernandez (8.0) – While Hernandez didn’t score a goal, the forward contributed an assist that showed the vision and skill he possesses. There is a real joy in his play that is evident to watch and even when he is not scoring, he makes Columbus better with his movement. Hernandez’s 78 minutes on the field were effective and should leave him rested for an important game against FC Cincinnati on Saturday.

Christian Ramirez (6.5) – The Crew showed a different look with two forward, including Ramirez, starting. Ramirez, however, struggled some only contributing a single shot and not staying connected with the midfield, only completing 10 of his 13 passes in 65 minutes of play.


Mohamed Farsi (7.0) – Farsi was a useful substitute for the Black & Gold to help close out the game. Farsi’s substitution for Zelarayan allowed the team to play its more natural system and brought a more defensive player to the right wing back spot. Taking the ball to the corner, running back for defensive coverage, Farsi did exactly what was asked of him to help Columbus earn the win.

Sean Zawadzki (6.5) – Zawadzki came on in the 65th minute and played well, completing 16 of 17 passes.

Jimmy Medranda (6.5) –  Medranda also played well as a substitute coming on in the 71st minute for the injured Vallecilla, and helping the Crew finish well.

Jacen Russell-Rowe (N/A) –  While Russell-Rowe was substituted into the 78th minute, the forward only recorded eight touches.

Head coach

Wilfred Nancy (7.0) – Nancy got the Black & Gold back on track with this win. Columbus’ first half scoring has been impressive all season — the team’s 13 goals scored in the 45 minutes of matches leads the league — but this game proved that Nancy’s team can see out games. Nancy faces a big test this weekend as he faces his first Hell is Real Derby.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s