Major League Soccer

Columbus Crew 0-1 Nashville SC: Player ratings as Alex Muyl delivers vital win

Chris Smith
Columbus Crew have lost for the first time this season.
Columbus Crew have lost for the first time this season. / Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville SC picked up three important points as they won 1-0 away at the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening.

Gary Smith's men have struggled since switching over to the Western Conference, winning just one of their opening four games of the season prior to this one.

But they always looked threatening at Field and despite narrowly avoiding giving away a penalty in the 27th minute, Nashville raced down the other end and made it 1-0 with Alex Muyl heading home a Taylor Washington cross.

The Crew grew into the game in the second half and regularly tested Joe Willis as the minutes ticked by. But the Nashville goalkeeper stood tall and kept the hosts at bay with a little help from a solid defense in front of him.

The victory now moves Nashville onto seven points from five games, while Columbus lose for the first time this season.

Read on for full player ratings:

Columbus Crew player ratings

1. Goalkeer & defenders

Room couldn't stop Muyl's header.
Room couldn't stop Muyl's header. / Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Eloy Room (GK) - 5/10 - Could do little to stop the goal but was bailed out by his post from a Mukhtar effort that he simply watched go by him.

Steven Moreira (RB) - 6/10 -
Gave Washington too much space to cross on Muyl's goal but otherwise did okay. Should have had an assist when he provided Berry with a free header.

Jonathan Mensah (CB) - 7/10 -
Stood his ground and defended with poise and composure, made a few vital blocks inside his own box.

Milos Degenek (CB) - 6/10 -
Battled hard at the back in what was an intense game.

Pedro Santos (LB) - 4/10 -
His unfortunate slip allowed Muyl a free header for the goal. Ruined what was a vibrant performance from the Portuguese, who could have been awarded for a penalty after a clash with Muyl.

2. Midfielders

Darlington Nagbe (CM) - 6/10 - Squeaky clean on the ball as always but unable to provide enough thrust in the midfield until late in the game.

Artur (CM) - 5/10 -
Put in some hard defensive yards but couldn't get going in possession.

Lucas Zelarayan (CAM) - 6/10 -
Grew into the game as it went on and looked dangerous in the second half, but was unable to save his team.

3. Forwards

Derrick Etienne Jr (LW) - 5/10 - Struggled to impact the game and was taken out after an hour.

Gyasi Zardes (ST) - 5/10 -
Battled hard against a compact Nashville defense and created a couple of openings, but didn't register a single shot himself.

Luis Diaz (RW) - 5/10 -
Tidy on the ball and should have been awarded a penalty after being dragged down by Washington. But far too quiet on the whole.

4. Substitutes

Miguel Berry (for Zardes, 60 minutes) - 4/10 - Missed a golden opportunity shortly after coming on, putting a free header wide inside the box.

Yaw Yeboah (for Etienne Jr, 60 minutes) - 6/10 -
Added some excitement to the Columbus attack but couldn't find the breakthrough.

Alexandru Matan (for Diaz, 78 minutes) - 5/10 -
Didn't have enough time to get into the game.

Nashville SC player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Willis made some important saves to frustrate the Crew.
Willis made some important saves to frustrate the Crew. / Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Willis (GK) - 9/10 - Rarely called into action in the first half but made a handful of vital saves after the break.

Eric Miller (CB) - 6/10 -
Kept it simple with the ball and defended with strength.

Jack Maher (CB) - 8/10 -
Very clean on the ball and barely anything got past him at the back. Growing into a solid MLS center-back.

David Romney (CB) - 7/10 -
Another strong, reliable defensive performance.

6. Midfielders

Alex Muyl (RWB) - 8/10 - Constantly looked to drive down the right flank and popped up with the all-important winning goal.

Sean Davis (CM) - 6/10 -
Clean on the ball and got through plenty of running in the middle. Just as solid as ever.

Brian Anunga (CM) - 7/10 -
Made tackle after tackle and was always on hand to mop up loose balls.

Taylor Washington (LWB) - 7/10 -
Very lucky not to give away a penalty but made up for it with a wonderful cross to set up Muyl's goal.

7. Forwards

Randall Leal (RW) - 5/10 - One or two dangerous moments but had to spend more time defending.

CJ Sapong (ST) - 7/10 -
Battled hard against those robust Columbus defenders and used his strength and skill to create some good openings.

Hany Mukhtar (LW) - 8/10 -
Once again the danger man for Nashville, leading counter-attacks and bamboozling the Crew defense with some dancing feet.

8. Substitutes

Walker Zimmerman (for Miller, 71 minutes) - 7/10 - Made some vital clearances to kepe the Crew out.

Anibal Godoy (for Anunga, 71 minutes) - 6/10 -
Added a bit of calm and balance to the Nashville midfield.

Ake Loba (for Sapong, 81 minutes) - 5/10 -
Very isolated with all the play down the other end.

Luke Haakenson (for Leal, 81 minutes) - 5/10 -
Didn't get into the game.