There were reasons for optimism heading into the first Hell Is Real Derby of 2022 after the Columbus Crew defeated the LA Galaxy during the midweek clash, Even though FC Cincinnati sat atop the MLS standings, the Black & Gold were hopeful as they headed down Interstate-71 for the all-Ohio rivalry match.
But despite battling back from behind to tie the game in the second half in front of a raucous crowd at TQL Stadium, it was the home side who took all three points in the derby for only the second time in MLS play, as Cincinnati came away 3-2 winners. Mistakes and a lack of clinical offensive play led to Columbus’ demise in a road game that was there for the taking.
As we look back on the match, here is how the Crew player performed.
Patrick Schulte (4.0) – While it wasn’t as poor of a performance as emotional Crew fans believed at the time, the young goalkeeper had his worst game for the Black & Gold at a bad time. Schulte’s error in the 67th minute led to the game-winning goal, unnecessarily coming way too far off his line. The other two goals scored by Cincinnati, including a penalty kick, were less directly the fault of Schulte but is still a reminder that the second-year pro began the season as the No. 2 for a reason. This game is will not be on Schutle’s highlight reel but it’s worth remembering the goalkeeper’s youth and potential.
Steven Moreira (6.0) – Moreira led the team in touches on the night, as the game flowed through him for large portions. The right center was so close to being the hero of the game from a Columbus perspective for the second straight year, as his one shot of the game was denied in the final moments.
Philip Quinton (4.5) – Like Schulte, the young center back bears the weight of his poor play on the evening. While the numbers show an average performance from Quinton, it is becoming clearer there is too much pressure on the shoulders of a 23 year old. Should he have done a better job on Dominique Badji’s cross that led to the opening goal? Yes. Should he have avoided contact with Badji for what was admittedly a soft penalty? Also yes. But right now, for one reason or another, the Crew don’t have another center back option and Quinton will need to learn from these mistakes in a situation such as a derby.
Gustavo Vallecilla (6.5) – Three interceptions, two clearances and a blocked shot for Vallecilla was a positive, especially after the center back appeared to take a knock in the midweek game against LA Galaxy. However, Vallecilla still had defensive lapses that led to goal opportunities for Cincy.
Malte Amundsen (7.0) – In his second start for the Black & Gold, the New York City FC transfer scored his second goal, as Amundsen is proving to be a more than adequate replacement for Will Sands. The left wing back was highly productive in the attack, but as has been consistent in the Crew’s tactics, his forward play has left the back line exposed. He finished the game without recording a tackle, which indicates a lack of defensive coverage.
Mohamed Farsi (6.0) – Farsi had a very average night in Cincinnati that was filled with as many positives as negatives. Defensively, Farsi contributed three tackles, an interception and a clearance but he also committed a team-leading five fouls. Offensively, Farsi was less involved and struggled to make an impact getting forward.
Aidan Morris (6.5) – The young midfielder continues to be very competent in his role even as his attacking proclivity has diminished due to what appears to be a tactical change. Even still, Morris had the second-most key passes for Columbus and he added two tackles and a clearance. His work rate really helped pick the Crew up when things were not going well and he helped gather the group after conceding to calm things down.
Darlington Nagbe (7.0) – It is clear there has been a change in the way the Black & Gold are using Nagbe with his willingness to push into the attacking third more in recent matches. This continued to be the case on Saturday as his combinations in the final third led to some of the Crew’s most dangerous attacking sequences. There is still more come from Nagbe’s offensive game but it’s good that he is finding his groove.
Alexandru Matan (7.0) – One of the better players for Columbus in this match, Matan put the Crew in dangerous positions, dribbling through multiple defenders. However, his failure to record a shot or get an assist was part of why the Crew failed to secure at least a point from thee road clash.
Lucas Zelarayan (8.0) – Zelarayan truly channeled his inner maestro against FC Cincinnati, kickstarting the Crew’s comeback and facilitating the attack. It’s obvious why teams continue to put two or three defenders on the attacking midfielder and yet he continues to find ways to create for his teammates and score himself as he did in this game.
Cucho Hernandez (7.5) – Hernandez was one of the offensive stars of the night for the Black & Gold. His assist on the first goal showed the striker’s class even when he’s not scoring . While he was unable to add a second beer catch to his collection, he continues to play well offensively.
Jimmy Medranda (7.0) – While it’s hard to make an impact after coming on in the 87th minute, Medranda did just that with a goalline clearance to keep Columbus in the game.
Jacen Russell-Rowe (6.0) – Russell-Rowe also had limited time to make an impact on the game, which was unfortunate because for the 10 minutes the forward was on the field, he showed great awareness.
Christian Ramirez (N/A) – A 91st minute sub, Ramirez was unable to impact the Crew’s attack.
Wilfred Nancy (5.0) – Nancy continues to dogmatically stick to his system and style, no matter who his players are, and there were times on Saturday when it seemed like this would pay off. The trust he put in his players, young and old alike, was rewarded with a two-goal comeback. At other times though, the players try and play outside of their ability to fit the system and it costs the team. It’s easy to see that this style and approach has the potential of paying dividends down the road, but in the short term, it cost the Crew points.
2 thoughts on “Games Grades: Crew at FC Cincinnati”
There is absolutely no way you give Amundsen a 7. He was responsible for the first FCC goal by being slow and lazy and failing to mark his man as he jogged into the box. Offensively he is showing good promise, but his lack of defensive mindedness cannot be tolerated in Nancy’s system.
In my opinion, Gustavo Vallecilla had a terrible performance. I would score him in the 4.5 range. He was consistently slow to respond to counterattacks and had his typical giveaways when distributing from the back.
I think your assessment of Malte Amundsen is harsh. He was one of our top performers. I’d score him in the 7.5 or 8 range. I don’t think we should expect him to be a defender in this system. Farsi isn’t either, for that matter. Amundsen’s role is to get forward and attack. He did that very well.
Finally, I can’t say Nancy underperformed. A 5 is harsh. It’s not his fault we have two reserves starting in defense and absolutely no other options available. Degenek is hurt. Josh Williams is hurt and Tim B. has swung and missed twice, (at least) on adding someone to our back line. This is what we have until people get healthy and/or the July window opens, assuming we can do something with that transfer opportunity that, for whatever reason, we couldn’t do earlier this year.