COLUMBUS – Federico Higuaín was less than an hour removed from the completion of a personally successful shortened first season for the Crew but was already looking ahead toward 2013 after scoring twice in a 2-1victory over Toronto FC on Sunday.
Although the Designated Player had five goals and seven assists in 13 games (11 starts) since debuting Aug. 19, the Crew (15-12-7) did not make the playoffs for the first time in five years.
“I expect next year to have even a better year and help the team make playoffs and reach any goals the team tries to reach,” he said through a team translator.
He couldn’t have done much more in the match played in miserable conditions with a biting rain and a wind chill in the 30s.
His first goal in the 17th minute came after Jairo Arrieta, another summer addition, forced Toronto into a turnover. Higuaín made a sharp move around a defender and fired into the right corner.
“Jairo was fighting the defenders like he normally does and found me,” Higuaín said. “I took a touch beating one defender and then hit it with my left foot across the body because the goalie was going the other way.”
After Andrew Wiedeman tied the match in the 27th, Higuaín repeated his move to draw a penalty from Terry Dunfield in the 62nd.
“It was a pretty similar play,” he said. “I controlled the ball, faked it to shoot, cut it and the defender grabbed me from behind.”
His sterling play and that of Arrieta (nine goals and four assists in 17 games) gives the team hope for better days.
“You give those guys 34 games and who knows what those guys can do,” defender Josh Williams said.