ORLANDO, FLA. - The Black & Gold put an exclamation mark on their 2014 preseason campaign on Saturday night by claiming their first piece of silverware in 2014, as Gregg Berhalter’s side dismantled reigning MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City 4-1 in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic Final. The emphatic victory caps an unbeaten preseason run for the club, with the team finishing 4-0-1 overall.
Over its past two Disney Pro Soccer Classic matches the Black & Gold recorded eight goals, with Jairo Arrieta, Bernardo Anor, Justin Meram and Federico Higuain finding the scoresheet on Saturday night. It was a comprehensive performance from Berhalter’s players, with Arrieta putting the Crew ahead 1-0 through a spot-kick in the 20th minute of action. Higuain played a through ball into the path of Hector Jimenez, who subsequently drew the foul in Sporting’s area.
Bernardo Anor doubled the Crew’s advantage in the 69th minute of play, heading home a Jimenez cross. Jimenez proved to be an offensive catalyst once more five minutes later, assisting on Justin Meram’s tally, as the Michigan product displayed his abilities by rounding Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg for a smooth finish.
LISTEN: Anor and Parkhurst discuss tournament title
The goal of the night came in the 84th minute of play, when Higuain flashed a signature chip goal to cement the victory. Similar to his fantastic finishes against Toronto FC and New York in 2013, Higuain caught Kronberg off his line from distance, looping the ball into the back of the net from roughly 30 yards.
Claudio Bieler pulled one back for Sporting three minutes from fulltime, before Crew players took the field to hoist the Disney Pro Soccer Classic trophy. The Black & Gold return to Columbus on Sunday to begin preparations for the 2014 regular season, beginning with Eastern Conference rival D.C. United on Saturday, March 8.
CLB - Jairo Arrieta (Penalty) 20'
CLB - Bernardo Anor (Hector Jimenez) 69'
CLB - Justin Meram (Hector Jimenez) 74'
CLB - Federico Higuaín (Justin Meram) 84'
SKC - Claudio Bieler (Mechack Jerome) 87'
CLB - Wil Trapp (Caution) 18'
CLB - Michael Parkhurst (Caution) 45'
SKC - Graham Zusi (Caution) 56'
Columbus Crew: Steve Clark; Josh Williams, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst ©, Waylon Francis; Hector Jimenez (Adam Bedell, 86'), Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani, Bernardo Anor ; Federico Higuaín, Jairo Arrieta (Justin Meram, 64').
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Patrick Slogic, Agustín Viana, Matt Walker.
Sporting Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Chance Meyers (Mechack Jerome, 64'), Aurelien Collin (Erik Palmer-Brown, 66'), Matt Besler (Ike Opara, 66'), Seth Sinovic (Josh Gardner, 7'); Oriol Rosell (Lawrence Olum, 66'), Paulo Nagamura, Claudio Bieler; Sal Zizzo (Jacob Peterson, 61'), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi (Adnan Gabeljic, 66').
Substitutes not used: Andy Gruenebaum.