Higuain scores twice as Crew rout D.C. United

FedericoHiguainColumbusCrew1-DCUnited2014 (AP)

By MITCHELL NORTHAM

WASHINGTON – It may have been the season opener for Columbus Crew and D.C. United but it was Columbus who looked to be in mid-season form Saturday night at RFK Stadium.

Led by Frederico Higuain’s brace, the Crew notched a 3-0 away victory over a helpless D.C. United team in Gregg Berhalter’s debut as Crew head coach. Jairo Arrieta also added a goal for Columbus.

Higuain, who is in his third season with the Crew, was a key part in the Crew’s impressive season opener.

“[Higuain] is a guy that has that ability,” Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “It was great to get him started quickly.”

The Argentine DP scored his first goal of the season and the Crew’s second of the match after Columbus was awarded a controversial penalty kick.

Referee Andres Pfefferkorn’s pointed to the spot midway through the first half when D.C. midfielder Perry Kitchen was called for a penalty after tugging on the jersey of Crew defender Michael Parkhurst near United’s goal.

“I think it was a decision that was made too quick,” D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid said. “At first glance I didn’t think it was a foul. I thought that was normal tug and touch and feel in the box; that happens on every set piece and every corner kick. But, [the referee] saw it differently.”

Higuain fired his shot right past Hamid and into the upper right corner of the net, giving his team a 2-0 lead. The PK came 14 minutes after Arrieta received a near-perfect pass from teammate Josh Williams and buried a goal past Hamid.

On that play, and throughout the night, Columbus was able to take advantage of D.C.’s slower back line by using speed and one-touch passes to create scoring opportunities for their offense.

Columbus added a late insurance goal when in the 90th minute Higuain scored thanks to an assist from Justin Meram, who entered the game in the 73rd minute as a substitute for Bernando Anor.

In addition to the three goals from the offense, the Crew were able to shut out a rebuilt D.C. attack centered around Eddie Johnson. Like D.C. United, the Crew had a large roster turnover from the previous season with five new starters including goalkeeper Steve Clark.

“I think it shows you that good players can play together without a lot of time,” Clark said of the clean sheet win. “The other thing I’ll say about this team is that there’s not one ego in this room.”

Clark, who is playing in his first season with Columbus, competed with Matt Lampson for the starting keeper job all preseason, but believed he would be named as the starter for the season opener.

“I think I expected it,” Clark said. “When [Coach Berhalter] told me I was starting it was about a minute meeting, I shook his hand, said thanks and moved on.”

Both D.C. United and the Columbus Crew will head into their first bye weeks of the 2014 season now; one team will try to keep the momentum and one team will try to build it, but both team’s admit they have work to do.

“We want to keep building this. We could use this week to really work on things,” said Berhalter.

“We got to work on a lot,” D.C. captain Bobby Boswell said. “It’s a work in progress all over the field.”

After a week off, D.C. United will travel to face Toronto FC while Columbus will host the Philadelphia Union on March 22.

 

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14 Responses to Higuain scores twice as Crew rout D.C. United

  1. jay nt says:

    everybody elses “work in progress” looks better than ours

    sad that none of the players could get up for the first game at HOME

  2. Citronomics says:

    For folks who saw the match, any bright spots for DCU? Were there some moments of fluidity and cohesion?

    For as much as there were legit personnel issues in 2013, too many mental lapses on D and lack of offensive fluidity plagued DCU and that has to also be placed on Ben’s shoulders. Hope he starts to get more out of this squad and quickly.

    • Razor_Ramon says:

      DCU looked really bad despite a few opprtunities. Olsen was terrible w/ his subs. The midfield is a total waste land. They can’t string 3 consecutive forward passes together. Arnaud is not a starter. Porter was the better option on the wing. Parke is slow mentally and physically. Also the team quit after the 1st goal. Higuain is a class player despite all his annoying antics. DC doesn’t have that type if player in the center of the park.

      • jay nt says:

        ramon is correct

        no cohesion (the weak midfield is to blame)

        positives? crossing was more accurate than last year

  3. isotope says:

    Huh…” after Columbus was awarded a controversial penalty kick”

    Bias much?

    Parkhurst was yanked down in middle of PA, going after the ball, and it’s “controversial” ??

    The ref’s reaction was immediate and correct. What game were you watching, btw?

    • Trent says:

      Yup. Textbook PK.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      nah, it was controversial because, in the box, a minor tug on the shirt (with neither player likely never getting to that ball) is never called.

      it may have been “textbook”, like trent says below, but that doesn’t mean that refs always (or even usually) call it.

  4. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Agree, the pk was legit. Precious few positives from DCU.

  5. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Im not sure Ben Olsen knows what he is doing

  6. MiamiAl says:

    I was also at the game. DC United looked terrible across the board, and Higuain looked absolutely brilliant. He completely controlled the game. His passing and ball handling and clinical finishing was reminiscent of when El Diablo Etcheverry roamed RFK.

  7. Rich D says:

    It will be interesting to see how Columbus stack up to other teams with their pressing defense and possession offense. It looked like they were putting on a clinic at times and DC United looked like they were practice cones.

  8. catfish says:

    Would have been nice to watch it but Crew brass screwed fans with a terrible TV deal. I didn’t miss a game on TV or in person last season but won’t get to see any on TV and as a result will lose interst in team and attend maybe 1-2 games this year. Team looks to be good this year – shame fans are mad and threatening not to attend games. Feel bad for team – but Crew Prez should lose job.

    • Frank says:

      I’m right there with you…it would have been nice to watch the game after I got home from a father-daughter dance. Instead all I got to watch were a few video clips on the iPad.

  9. Frank says:

    It is Federico, not Frederico.