COLUMBUS, Ohio – Federico Higuaín has not been around all season to hear Columbus Crew head coach Robert Warzycha's all-too-frequent lamentations on the team's lack of composure in front of goal.
And with the third-worst offense in the league, it was no wonder management was so dogged in finally getting Higuaín signed as a Designated Player on July 27.
The investment is already reaping benefits.
The Argentine forward showed with his goal in the 51st minute to give the Crew a two-goal lead en route to a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.
GOAL: Higuaín makes it 2-0
The Crew had a sequence of passes that ultimately placed the ball on his right foot for a calmly-struck finish that beat goalkeeper Freddy Hall from 12 yards, a play that often ended with an errant finish prior to Higuaín's arrival, as evidenced by the Crew's 23 goals in 22 prior games.
“I had some time to look at the goalie and finish,” Higuain said through a translator.
Prior to his first goal in his second game with the club – he had an assist in 45 minutes on Sunday at Houston – he had spurned one chance.
Emilio Renteria started the play with a ball across to Eddie Gaven – who was the early benefactor of an Higuaín assist in the fourth minute – who then headed the ball to to the 27-year-old, though his initial shot fell to Jairo Arrieta.
“I got it on my left leg,” Higuain said. “I couldn’t kick it the way I wanted but luckily the ball went to Jairo and he very generously passed the ball back to me and I was able to score.”
Arrieta said through a translator, “Federico took a shot. The ball bounced. It went to me. I saw Federico in a better position so I laid it off to him. He had a really good finish.”
That the Crew were able to possess the ball so well inside the penalty area did not go unnoticed.
“It was nice to get four or five guys getting a little touch on the ball,” midfielder Eddie Gaven said.
Higuaín has now has contributed to three of the Crew’s past four goals in only 121 minutes of play.
“I’m happy for the goal but happier for getting the goal that got us three points,” he said.