Higuaín managing expectations, spreading confidence
In just 193 minutes played in Black & Gold, Designated Player Federico Higuaín has already made an instant impact in the Crew attack with three goals and two assists. Even Major League Soccer has taken notice, naming the Argentine the Player of the Week after his performances against Toronto FC and the New England Revolution last week.
With such a remarkable first few appearances, fans might wonder may wonder how the forward is managing the expectations that come with the precedent he's set thus far.
The humble Higuaín says there is still work to be done.
"I have to be smart," Higuaín said after his workout in Obetz Monday morning. "This is just the beginning of my time with the Columbus Crew. I need to keep working. I need to keep trying to understand the players on my team and the players need to understand me. I'm trying to do what's best for the team based on what the coaching staff tells me to do."
The Argentine's presence on the field has helped to build the confidence of the players around him, most notably striker Jairo Arrieta.
"Federico gives us a lot of confidence. You can see that Arrieta is playing better as well," head coach Robert Warzycha said. "You can see that the guys around him are playing better. That's what we've always said: being a good player, if [Higuaín] can make the player around him play better and raise the level, I think we can be a very, very good team."
Down 2-0 after 20 minutes on Saturday night against the Revolution, the strike tandem of Higuaín and Arrieta gave the team a confidence that perhaps hadn't been there previously.
"It's great, the form that [Higuaín and Arrieta] are in right now and the way they've been scoring goals," Captain Chad Marshall said. "It's not something we've had in the past. It's nice that on Saturday when we went down two goals, we still felt we were capable of coming back. It's fun."
Though Higuaín and Arrieta combined for all four goals in Saturday's victory, the Argentine says the Crew's current run of success has been a total team effort.
"This is teamwork," Higuaín explained. "It's not one or two individuals doing something. We need everybody ready. From what I've seen so far, I think the team is playing very well-- even when I watched [the Crew] against LA. That's what is most important."
He finished, "If we play as a team, we're going to be successful. If we play as individuals, there's going to be trouble."