Takeaway Points: Montreal
The Crew moved into the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference player with Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact. Here are three key factors in the win:
1. "NEVER SAY DIE"
Trailing 1-0 after 79 minutes against the Impact, it seemed as if The Crew's five match unbeaten run might come to an end. However, a Lamar Neagle foul on Justin Meram set up a Federico Higauín free kick. Higuaín came up huge, just as he had many times before since joining the Crew in mid-August, finiding the forehead of Crew Captain Chad Marshall for the equalizer.
Later in stoppage time, it was Higuaín providing the magic once again with a well-placed cross into the box to find Emilio Rentería for the Venezuelan's first tally since May. The victory marked the Crew's third come-from-behind victory in as many games, and second-straight winner in added time.
The win was the Crew's fourth consecutive victory to remain unbeaten following the sixth match of a seven games in three weeks stretch. The three week spell will end Wednesday in New England.
"I know guys are tired, but we have that “Never say die” attitude and we’re somehow managing to get three points,” Marshall said after the match.
Higuaín's two assists moved the Argentine into sole lead in the Crew's assist column. In just five matches, Higuaín has chipped in six assists and three goals.
The Designated Player's confidence has spread to his teammates in dire situations.
“Federico is a quality player," Rentería said through a translator after the match. "He’s a player that the Crew needed in the midfield. People like myself, [Jairo] Arrieta and all the forwards here, need a player like him who plays balls where they are needed, who is always ready to give assistance from the midfield. It’s almost inexplicable, but he’s a great player who is able to feed you great balls.”
Added Marshall, "[Higuaín] brings a lot of energy on the field and, as I’ve said before, he has that class and is capable of changing the game at any moment. You saw it tonight, two beautiful services, and we get out with three points.”
3. EL TORO
2012 has been a frustrating season for Emilio Rentería as he's been in-and-out of the Crew starting lineup all season long. The Venezuelan made the most of his 13 minutes on Saturday night, nearly connecting on a rebound from a Justin Meram shot in the 90th minute before heading home the winner a few minutes later.
The striker was happy to return and contribute to the victory.
"I’m very happy we won the match at the last minute," Rentería explained. "Even when someone doesn’t play often he has to be ready to come in and make a difference on the field with his teammates.”