The Crew earned three much needed points and retook the Trillium Cup with Wednesday night's home victory against Toronto FC. Here are three reasons why:
1. WINNING, EVEN IF IT ISN'T PRETTY
Wednesday night, by far, wasn't one of the Crew's top performances of the season, but the three points at the end of the night were all that mattered for a team in need of a victory to stay in the playoff hunt. It could be argued that the Black & Gold had played better in a loss to Sporting Kansas City back in July or in last week's draw with the LA Galaxy.
However, style points don't matter. A win is a win.
"I think we struggled a bit with the offensive game, passing was not accurate and we gave the ball away too many times," Head Coach Robert Warzycha said in his post match press conference. "Sometimes this game is funny, you don’t play your best game and win and sometimes you play very well and lose.”
Midfielder Milovan Mirosevic agreed, "Of course, we’d like to play better, but if you ask me, I want to play like this and win and not play like [against] LA and tie.”
To get a win out of a lackluster performance, gives the Crew much to improve upon.
"At the end of the day, this was a game the team had to win," Eddie Gaven explained. "We were able to find a way to do that even though we didn’t play our best. That’s definitely a good sign and something we can build off of.”
2. EARLY CONFIDENCE
Eddie Gaven gave the Crew a little breathing room for error with his opening goal in the fourth minute. The early strike put TFC on its heels to help Columbus secure the victory.
"It was nice being able to come out early with a goal," Gaven said. "It was huge. It kind of put them a little bit on the back foot so to speak."
Gaven's fourth minute tally was his 32nd regular season goal in Black & Gold. Since joining the Crew in 2006, the club is 23-1-7 in the 31 games in which Gaven has scored. Columbus hasn't lost a match in which Gaven has scored since October 2007.
The always humble Gaven had no explanation for the extraordinary stat after the match.
"I think it's just dumb luck," the veteran said. "I don't think there is anything to it."
3. THE REAL DEAL
In just over 120 minutes played since joining the Crew last week, Designated Player Federico Higuaín has already provided a punch to the Columbus attack. The Argentine forward picked up his second assist in as many games, both on Eddie Gaven goals, and netted the game winner in the 58th minute to open his scoring account in MLS.
"You can see [Higuaín's] quality on the field and I’m sure he’s going to help his team," Robert Warzycha complimented the new addition. "I think that his passes are right and I think he is picking out the right guys as they make their runs. I think the guys around him are going to play better because he’s a smart player.”
Higuaín and his new teammates will have to regroup immediately as it will be another quick turnaround for the Crew as the club hosts the New England Revolution on Saturday night.