With a week to go until the regular season begins at D.C. United on March 8, the Crew ended its preseason firing on all cylinders to capture the Disney Pro Soccer Classic crown over defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City.
Jairo Arrieta put the Black & Gold up early, converting from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after Hector Jimenez was taken down in the area by Sporting defender Josh Gardner. The Crew tripled its lead with counter-attack goals from Bernardo Anor and Justin Meram in the second half before Federico Higuaín put the icing on the cake with a deft chip of Kansas City 'keeper Eric Kronberg in the 84th minute. Sporting forward Claudio Bieler would get one back in the 87th, but it was too little too late as the result stood at 4-1 in favor of the Crew after 90 minutes.
"It was a fantastic effort by the whole team," defender Michael Parkhurst said after the match. "We played really well. Defensively, we were really solid. We hit them on the counter-attack four times. It was a really, really good effort by the whole team."
"The performance of the team was spectacular tonight," midfielder Bernardo Anor echoed. "We did exactly what we have been practicing for the past two weeks.
"It was a great test for us to see where we are at and we showed today that we are a team that can do whatever we setup our minds for," Anor added.
The win left the Crew undefeated through the 2014 preseason. The lopsided scoreline against the defending champion will surely boost the Black & Gold's confidence looking ahead to next week's season-opening tilt at D.C. United.
"[The win] gives us a lot of confidence going into the first game," Parkhurst admitted. "We just have to make sure we're not complacent.
"There's a lot of work that needs to be done, but it's a great start and it's going to put us on the right foot going into D.C."