After a short(ish) hiatus, players ratings are making a comeback this week. It's a good week to return in. A two-goal victory and a clean sheet at home highlighted a complete performance from the San Jose Earthquakes over the Columbus Crew. Being up a man for most of the match didn't hurt, of course.
Really, before the red card, the Quakes still looked rather threatening. There was a good fluidity about their attack in the final third. The major concern was the lack of an end product. Chris Wondolowski finally broke through in the 55th minute with his first goal at Avaya Stadium. Shea Salinas capped a great performance with the second goal on the night.
Ultimately it was hard to criticize most of the players with the work they put in tonight. As Coach Dominic Kinnear mentioned following the match, all of the players looked 'up for it' tonight. Columbus still looked good early, and the red card definitely took the sting out of the Crew's game. But credit San Jose with appropriately dominating after gaining the man advantage.
G David Bingham, 9 - Although rarely called upon after the red card, Bingham came up huge for the Quakes numerous times in the first half. At 11 men the Crew is a dangerous team. Federico Higuain and Justin Meram had chances, but Bingham was there to stop all of them. Only area he might have improved was distribution, as he missed a couple of opportunities to get the ball out quickly and spring a counterattack.
D Marvell Wynne, 8.5 - Another excellent performance from the side back. He may have been the best outfield defensive player on the night. Owned his wing side and made a couple of key shot blocks to prevent Columbus chances. After the red card, he got forward with typical gusto. He did get oddly frustrated a couple of times in the second half, and probably should have been booked for some extra contact.
D Clarence Goodson, 7 - Started out the game very well. Anticipated the Crew's passes and stepped in front to intercept on multiple occasions. Struggled with some of Columbus' quicker attacking moves, although the Crew's skilled frontmen could give anyone problems.
D Victor Bernardez, 7.5 - A relatively quiet game for Victor, which is a rarity for him. Did an admirable job along with the rest of the back line at keeping Columbus quiet. Handled in-form Kei Kamara and didn't allow the former Quake many chances. Following the red card he didn't have to do too much.
D Jordan Stewart, 9 - It's certainly nice to have him back. It's tough to appreciate the contributions Stewart makes until you see what it's like without him. Brings much more physicality and defensive toughness to the pitch than the alternatives. Was a nuisance going forward, and laid the cross to Wondolowski on a platter for the striker to deflect in.
M Fatai Alashe, 8.5 - It says a lot that Kinnear will put Alashe out there as the lone defensive midfielder in the lineup, behind two extremely attack-minded midfielders. With a mixture of tackles, headers, and pure positioning, Alashe did very well to win back and keep possession from a deep-lying role. Since the beginning of the season his confidence in possession has significantly increased. It's getting hard to remember that he's still just a rookie.
M Matías Pérez García, 9 - The only thing we can really hold against MPG on this night was his inability to score a goal. But besides forgetting his striking boots, he was spectacular. Rarely made a wrong decision with the ball, and often popped up out of nowhere to be the outlet going forward. Was also not afraid to shoot, which cannot necessarily be said of his previous performances. His goal will come if he continues like this.
M Chris Wondolowski, 7.5 - Fantastic to see his first goal at Avaya Stadium. Wondo got himself in good positions throughout the night. He probably stood to benefit from the red card more than any other player. It allowed him to stay advanced and look for his shot more often. He got his goal but could have had more. On a night when so many players did well, Wondo was just not quite at his best.
F Sanna Nyassi, 6.5 - Not a bad performance from Nyassi by any means, but he could have been sharper. Some of his crosses were disappointingly overhit. He did well to lead a number of counterattacks, but then failed to put together the correct end product. Still, didn't do anything egregious to really hurt the team.
F Shea Salinas, 9 - Off the mark on the season with a beautifully worked goal. Shea's movement and linkup play was exceptional all game. He played on the left wing but scored his goal from the right of the penalty area, and had a couple other chances from the same spot. This movement was key to breaking down the Crew, who, despite their numerical disadvantage, looked tough to break down.
F Adam Jahn, 7.5 - Did a great job winning headers all game on cleared balls and crosses into the box. Despite not having any shots, his layoffs set up numerous chances for his teammates in the area. Starting to develop into a very good ball-playing forward.
F Cordell Cato, 6 - Came in for Nyassi late, and never really looked to get into the game. Made a couple of turnovers.
M Khari Stephenson, N/A - Didn't have enough time to really make an impact one way or the other.
M J.J. Koval, N/A - Last minute sub.