It was a perfect away performance - solid defending mixed with efficient counterattacking and full of hard work. Here's my take on Saturday's 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium in which few individuals stood out but the team did what was needed:
Clint Irwin - 7
Didn't have much to do despite the amount of possession and shots Columbus Crew had. Made an error that went unpunished in the first minute trying to come out to close down Jairo Arrieta who was through after a long ball over the top. Good save in the second half from a Ryan Finley header.
Brian Mullan - 8
Another excellent job at fullback from Mullan. He's performed admirably out of position again and made tackle after tackle. He does get caught out of position at times but he seems to get back and make the recovery tackle. Gaven did nothing all game because of Mullan's tenacity.
Drew Moor - 7
Can't really complain. He was found wanting once when he got done by Arrieta in the first half but fortunately he smashed it over the bar (although he wasn't exactly gonna beat Clint Irwin was he?). Drew seems to be striking up a lovely partnership with Shane O'Neill too which is promising.
Shane O'Neill - 8
Another excellent performance from Shane O'Neill who is turning out to be some talent. I'm really impressed by this lad - he's physically imposing and reads the game well yet seems to have so much more to learn. He made a few timely interceptions on Saturday and wasn't found wanting at any point.
Chris Klute - 7
Didn't see much of him. But we kept a clean sheet so can't give any defender anything less than a 7.
Nathan Sturgis - 9 (MOTM)
Absolutely first class performance from Nathan Sturgis. I pinpointed Higuain and his movement being the biggest danger in my scouting report and that we needed our defensive midfielder to be completely on his game to win. Well Sturgis, considering he's standing in for Hendry Thomas and hasn't had much playing time so far this season was totally dominant. Higuain didn't have a sniff of a chance all game and Sturgis was everywhere, his tackling and distribution being superb.
Dillon Powers - 7
Nothing special from Dillon on Saturday. He has had an excellent start to the season but these last two games he has been pretty quiet. That's to be expected though especially after the storming opening to his Rapids career; he's allowed to have a quiet couple. His strike for the goal was a decent effort on goal and I'm sure he'll be claiming that one.
Martin Rivero - 7
Unspectacular but effective from Martin who will grow into this season once he gets a few 90 minutes under his belt. He kept the midfield ticking over and played a few important balls forward. He was on the receiving end of a lot of dirtiness from Crew players though including Matias Sanchez who had a few pops at him.
Atiba Harris - 7
Really great lay-off to Buddle for the first goal but offered little else in the game. His first touch is generally too poor but his work-rate makes up for it. I do like how he puts himself about though... aggression is good!
Edson Buddle - 8
Top class forward. Exactly what we need up top to do well in this league with the other creative players we have. We look far more of a threat going forward with him in the team (just think of how impotent we looked in the past few games). Took his goal well and his hold-up play was vital in bringing others into the game and relieving the pressure that Columbus were putting on our defence.
Danny Mwanga - 6
Nothing special. His touch and dribbling ability are useful though but it is his decision-making that lets him down. He had a hand in the goal too, playing the ball into Harris' feet.
Deshorn Brown- 6
Got about 25 minutes to sharpen him up after a few games out. Threatened a few times with his pace but nothing major.
Pablo Mastroeni - 6
Like Brown, only had a few touches on the ball but they were good enough.