TEAM OF THE WEEK | Steffen, Pipa earn nods in final week

Week 34 of the Major League Soccer regular season was electric. It was a Decision Day, presented by AT&T, filled with goals and playoff-seeding drama — including Columbus Crew SC's thrilling 2-2 draw at New York City FC to secure the fifth seed in the MLS Cup playoffs.

MLSsoccer.com named its Team of the Week for Week 34, placing Crew SC midfielder Federico Higuain and goalkeeper Zack Steffen on the bench for the honorary list.

Against NYCFC at Citi Field on Sunday, Higuain closed his 2017 regular season with his 13th and14th assists. The first came in the form of a sublime chip onto the feet of Ola Kamara before he 1-timed the game-opener in the 11th minute. The 58th minute set Higuain up for a corner-kick delivery on the nodding forehead of Josh Williams for the equalizer. Pipa's 90-minute shift saw him finish with 61 successful passes, four shots and three on-the-mark crosses. Higuain finished 2017 with six Team of the Week honors.

Steffen closed the season as Crew SC's keeper from minute 1 of game 1 through the entire regular season. Against NYCFC, he recorded a career-high seven saves — including a result-preserving penalty-kick save on David Villa's attempt in the third minute of stoppage time. Steffen completed 28 successful passes and five throws. Steffen finished with two Team of the Week honors.

Columbus Crew SC is set to open the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on Thursday, October 26 at 7 p.m. ET by traveling to face Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

 

As announced by Major League Soccer, the match is set to be televised nationally on Unimas and ESPN 2. The match also airs locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English and on La Mega 103.1 FM in Spanish.

Should Crew SC defeat Atlanta United FC at Mercedez-Benz Stadium on Thursday, the Black & Gold would advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Winners of the Knockout Round advance to the two-legged, aggregate-goal series Conference Semifinals.

Crew SC returns to the postseason for the third time in four seasons under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. 2017 marks the club’s return to the postseason for the first time since the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, when Crew SC won the Eastern Conference Championship. This is the 14th all-time postseason berth for the Black & Gold as well as the seventh berth for the club in ten seasons, a streak that began in 2008, a year that Crew SC won the first professional championship for Columbus by capturing that season's MLS Cup.

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