In the midst of what many would call a disappointing season, Jairo Arrieta finally found a way to contribute for the Columbus Crew in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire.
While the box score might not show his efforts, the forward was involved in each of the team's goals, as well as forcing the game-changing red card for Chicago. Though he didn't show up on the scoresheet, Arrieta says he though the match was his best showing in some time, and said that his workrate was what made the difference.
“It's important to always fight and do your best,” Arrieta told MLSSoccer.com through a translator after Saturday's match. “I think you guys saw the effort I put in today, and I think as long as the team benefits from it, even if it's other teammates putting it in, it's a good thing.”
Crew Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss said that Arrieta forced the coaching staff's hand Saturday, and that they couldn't take him out of the match during such a performance.
“We were saying on the bench, 'should we take him out, should we keep him in?' We wanted to reward him, and we kept him in there longer because he was part of all of those goals, especially the first two and drawing the red card and drawing the PK,” Bliss said. “He was very active, and the back line had to contend with that all night.”
After a promising 2012 season with the Crew, Arrieta has managed only two goals and four assists in 2013, despite taking 54 shots, and his time away from the club with the Costa Rican national team certainly hurt the striker's rhythm.
But despite the lack of results, Arrieta says that he is not concerned about the goals returning, and seemed confident that his chances will come as the team's surprising run of form continues.
“It's important for me to play well, and as a forward you always want to score, but it's not always possible,” he said. “But if I keep working hard and putting in the work, the goals are going to come.”