The 31-year-old was handed his 10th start of the campaign as the Black and Gold registered a 1-0 home win at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
USA international of Ghanaian descent Gyasi Zardes netted the only goal in 53 minutes.
"I liked that. We rely on Harrison [Afful and] some of the older guys," Berhalter said, as reported by his club's official website.
"He was the oldest one in the lineup - we relied on him heavily to set the tone for the group.
"Being such a young group, they needed some guidance, and I was glad to see him do that.
"I think he played a good game, but more importantly I think was a good role model for performance."
Afful has been a key part of the Black and Gold's set-up this season, having featured in 10 of Crew's 11 games played thus far.
He lasted for the entire duration of all the matches, and has a goal to his name.
The full-back joined the Black and Gold from Tunisian outfit Esperance in 2015.