Upon the news of the Crew signing Designated Player Federico Higuaín, TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett caught up with Technical Director Brian Bliss, who just returned stateside after helping coach the Unites States U-20 Men's National Team in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup for his thoughts on the Argentine forward:
Cody Sharrett: Congratulations on getting the deal with Federico Higuaín done. Explain the pursuit of Higuaín. I know he's a player you've had interest in for a while. Talks stalled with him earlier in the summer, and you were forced to consider other options. What changed between now and then?
Brian Bliss: I think it's showed a couple of times, you need motivated parties involved. Maybe in the winter, back in December and January, the club wasn't motivated or maybe the player wasn't motivated either. I think this time around, we've got the Crew motivated, the player motivated, and the club, so I think you need all three of those in order to get a deal done and I think that was a big part of it.
CS: Higuaín is the third DP in Crew history, what is it about his skill set that makes him worthy of that distinction?
BB: I think he's got a lot in his skill set. He's quick. He's fast, very skillful on the ball. He's got an eye for the pass. He can certainly eliminate players off the dribble. He's got the ability to chip some goals in as well. I think all those factors or all those skill sets sort of made him "the one." I think he's worthy of being a DP and we're happy to have him.
CS: How do you see him fitting in with the Crew's style of play and how do you see him complimenting his new teammates on the field?
BB: I think we're a pretty ball-oriented type of a team in terms of the passing and playing the ball on the deck or on the ground. I think that game suits him in terms of the passing and things like that and off the ball movement because of his mobility. I think that's the kind of stuff he's going to bring to the table. We expect him to bring leadership and work rate. Certainly, at 28, he's got what we would say a good voyance as well.
CS: We've seen a lot of other team's in the Eastern Conference improving whether it's New England with Jerry Bengtson, Montreal making a plethora of overseas signings, or just today, the Fire trading for Alvaro Fernandez. Do you feel this signing was necessary to stay in the playoff hunt?
BB: I don't want to say it was necessary because it's still yet to be proven that all the signings that you get at a DP level necessarily bring you a championship. However, sometimes when you're sitting idle, things pass you by. The opportunity was there for us to get something done that was in our profile, but we certainly weren't going to rush a decision because other teams were doing something in order to say we got a signing. I think this is a good thing for the Crew because we were patient, we stayed the course, and we were able to get our guy.
CS: Obviously, the transfer window closes today, but do you forsee any more changes occurring with the Crew roster before the freeze date on September 15?
BB: Never say never. Obviously, we can make trades within the league and we can still sign players that are free agents up until that point. Never say never, because there's still a lot of time left before that final deadline. We'll have to wait and see.
CS: Thank you for your time and good luck in the U-19 National Championships with the Crew Juniors.
BB: Thank you.