A classy chip from Federico Higuain last Saturday was just the thing to finish off the New York Red Bulls, and more than enough to win the Columbus Crew playmaker his first AT&T Goal of the Week award of the season.
Higuain’s goal captured nearly 41 percent of the vote for the Week 24 award, easily outpacing a crowded field and second-place winner Felipe Martins of Montreal.
The goal – which was the subject of MLSsoccer.com’s Anatomy of a Goal series this week – capped the Crew’s 2-0 upset win over the Red Bulls at Crew Stadium, in front of a euphoric crowd and new team owner Anthony Precourt.
Final Votes - Week 24 (online poll and text vote):
1. Federico Higuain (CLB): 40.74%
2. Felipe Martins (MTL): 17.68%
3. Camilo Sanvezzo (VAN): 16.73%
4. Kei Kamara (SKC): 12.99%
5. Landon Donovan (LA): 11.86%
PLENTY OF ONE-GOAL GAMES IN THE SERIES
The last five meetings between the Crew and Toronto FC have resulted in one-goal affairs ... the Crew is 4-1-0 in those matches and has shut-out Toronto twice in those matches ... the contests have been close, though, as the Crew has scored two goals twice in those four matches and have been held to single goals three additional times.
LOOKING FOR BACK-TO-BACK WINS
The Black & Gold will try to accomplish something they haven’t been able to do all season -- capture back-to-back victories ... although the club won the last match of the 2012 season and the first tilt of 2013, the last time the team won back-to-back contests was last season on August 29, (2-1 win) at Philadelphia and September 1, (2-1 win) against Montreal.
Federico Higuain scored two goals against New York on August 10, as the Designated Player recorded his third career brace and first since October 28, 2012 at Toronto in the 2012 season finale ... Higuain’s sixth and seventh goals this season pull the Argentine closer to the team lead for goals this year, trailing only Dominic Oduro (nine goals).
... AND THE CAPTAIN IS MONEY FROM THE SPOT
With his penalty kick goal on Saturday against New York, Federico Higuain is now 5-for-7 from the spot this year ... his five converted goals ties a single-season club record, tying Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2010, 5) and Andres Mendoza (2011, 5) ... Higuain is now third on the club’s all-time list for career penalty kick goals with six overall (five in 2013), trailing Schelotto (13), Brian McBride (11) and Jeff Cunning- ham (8) ... Higuain also set a new single-season career high in goals with seven now through 23 matches ... he scored five goals in just 13 appearances in 2012 after joining the Black & Gold halfway through the campaign.
DOWN TO TWO CLUBS THAT ARE NOT SEEING RED...
Through the first 23 matches this season, the Black & Gold have benefitted from smart soccer and a shortage of send-offs ... in fact, the Crew is one of two remaining teams in MLS this year -- joining D.C. United -- that have not been issued a red card ... last season through 23 matches, the Crew was issued just one red card: a Cole Grossman straight red in the 19th match of the season at Sporting KC on July 28, 2012.
... AND CHASING A RED CARD FAMINE RECORD
If the Crew can continue to avoid an ejection, the club could be on its way to matching a club record for fewest red cards in a season ... the record of zero ejections -- set in a 32-match season in 1999 -- has been relatively untouched in the years since ... the closest the team has come to matching the record were four seasons with two red cards (2000, 2003, 2004, 2012) ... on the flip-side of the ejection argument, the club record for most red cards in one season -- seven in 2009 -- for now seems to be safe for another campaign.
With a 1-0 Crew win on May 18 followed by a 2-1 Toronto win on July 27, the regular-season series enters Saturday split 1-1-0 ... the team awarded the Trillium Cup presented by Scotts will be the team with the greatest number of points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss) after the conclusion of the regular season series between the two clubs ... in the event that two teams finish the season series with an equal number of points, the following system will be used to break the tie:
- The team with the greater goal difference (goals-for minus goals-against) in Trillium Cup matches shall be the winner. [Entering Saturday: Crew: 2GF-2GA=0, TFC: 2GF-2GA=0].
- If still tied, it shall be the team scoring the greater number of total goals in Trillium Cup matches [Entering Saturday: Crew: 2GF=2, TFC: 2GF=2].
- If still tied, the procedures described in 1 and 2 shall be applied only to a per-game average of all Trillium Cup games played on the road [Entering Saturday: Crew: 2 road goals, GPG= 1.00, TFC: N/A].
- If still tied, the procedures described in 1 and 2 shall be applied only to a per-game average of all Trillium Cup games played at home [Entering Saturday: Crew: N/A, TFC, 2 home goals, GPG= 1.00].
- If still tied, it shall be the team with the fewest combined team disciplinary points in Trillium Cup matches [Entering Saturday: Crew: 4 yellows, TFC: 4 yellows].
- If still tied, the team that is currently in possession of the Trillium Cup from the previous year retains it for another season [Entering Saturday: Crew].
WHAT IT ALL MEANS
A win captures the Trillium Cup presented by Scotts for either team ... that said, should the match end in a draw, fans should look at the final scoreline to determine which club gets the trophy ... if the match ends in a 0-0 draw, then technically tie-breaker scenario three states that the per-game goal-scoring average on the road is applied, and the Crew’s 1.00 per/game average would top the one match of zero goals on the road for the Reds, giving the Crew the trophy ... a 1-1 draw would bring TFC’s road goal average back to a level playing field, meaning tie-breaker four (home goals per game average) would be applied, however, the Crew’s one home goal in this scenario would match Toronto’s 1.00 home goals per game average (zero on May 18, two on July 27), forcing tie-breaker five -- which is disciplinary points ... both teams enter Saturday with four cautions a piece in the current series
WHAT ABOUT A 2-2 or 3-3 DRAW?
While a 0-0 draw gives the Crew the regular-season victory on technicalities and 1-1 draw would send the tie-breaker down the line of scenarios [potentially leading to a look at disciplinary points], should Saturday bring a barnburner draw to Crew Stadium, a 2-2 draw or a 3-3 draw would actually work against the Crew in its quest to retain the Trillum Cup in Columbus for another year ... two or three road goals for Toronto would then become their road goals average, giving them the advantage in tie-breaker three scenario of goals per game on the road.
Saturday’s victory over New York was Head Coach Robert Warzycha’s 69th career regular-season win as Crew boss. Warzycha’s next victory will be his 70th regular-season win, an important coaching milestone in MLS. Only 13 other coaches since 1996 have recorded 70 regular-season wins in their coaching career, and only four active coaches in the League have 70 or more wins (Sigi Schmid, 182; Bruce Arena, 154; Dominic Kinnear, 123; and Jason Kreis, 86). A 70th win for Warzycha would also tie the coach with Tom Fitzgerald (1996-2001) for most wins as a Head Coach of the Black & Gold as Fiztgerald won 70 games in 144 contests as the man on the sideline.
The Crew hosts Toronto FC in the third -- and deciding -- match of the 2013 Trillium Cup presented by Scotts on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / TICKETS). Before the Black & Gold welcome their rival to the North, here is a look back at the meeting in Toronto back on July 27.
With a chance to clinch the Trillium Cup, the Crew gained an early lead from Dominic Oduro's strike from outside the box in the 17th minute. That score would hold for most of the match, but late goals from Jonathan Osorio and Andrew Wiedeman would earn Toronto FC its first win on home soil over the Black & Gold. The Reds' 2-1 victory makes Saturday's game all the more important as the Crew aims to retain the Trillium Cup.
Crew Brand Ambassador Frankie Hejduk spent Monday at Fort Campbell, Kentucky with Fox Sports 1's Road to Launch tour that kicked off in San Diego last week and will conclude in Boston on Saturday. The club legend along with UFC Fighters Jake Ellenberger and Liz Camouche, former NHL player and Nashville Predators announcer Stu Grimson and others in the FOX Sports Salutes the Troops Event at the base. Hejduk and the others also participated in physical training with troops, obstacle challenges and air assault school (repelling from a 40-foot building) throughout the day.
FOX Sports 1 launches on Saturday, August 17.
On Saturday, Crew forward Dominic Oduro shocked fans with a freshly dyed Ghana-themed fro-hawk. The red, yellow and green 'do certainly turned as many heads as Oduro's blazing speed on the pitch typically does.
Does Oduro have the "most interesting" hair in MLS? Watch the slideshow above and be the judge!
Crew Captain Federico Higuaín and veteran defender Chad Marshall were named to MLSSoccer.com's Team of the Week for their roles in the Black & Gold's 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls. Higuaín scored both goals in the match, while Marshall anchored the Crew backline to the shutout. The Black & Gold joined the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City as the only clubs with multiple players on the Team of the Week.