August 17, 2013 - Watch Kia Game in Six Minutes.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - With his third and fourth goals in two games, including another Goal of the Week-caliber strike, Federico Higuain and the Columbus Crew won consecutive games for the first time all season, as they defeated Toronto FC 2-0 Saturday.
The win earned the team its fifth Trillium Cup trophy in the contest's six-season history, and moved head coach Robert Warzycha into a tie for all-time Columbus wins with Tom Fitzgerald (1996-2001) at 70. Warzycha joined just 13 other MLS coaches, four active, to have reached the mark.
Higuain broke the game open in the 19th minute, giving the Crew a 1-0 lead after driving home a deflected shot by Bernardo Anor. Fullback Chad Barson found space on the wing, and put a cross directly on Anor's foot. The Venezuelan fired a shot into Toronto keeper Joe Bendik, and Higuain flew into the box to slot the rebound past the displaced goalkeeper.
His first goal seemed to energize Higuain, who spent the remainder of the match making plays all over the field. With the recently-altered Columbus formation giving him more ability to roam free without being out of position, Higuain was dangerous on his own and in creating opportunities for others.
The Argentinian added to his tally in the 67th, when he sized up Bendik, who was only steps off his line, and floated a perfectly-placed chip past the Toronto keeper to give the Crew a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. The strike was Higuain's ninth goal of the season, tied for Dominic Oduro for the team lead.
Anor, in his advanced midfield role, and wingers Justin Meram and Oduro were beneficiaries of Higuain's creativity, finding themselves in scoring areas more often than in recent memory, including multiple attempts on goal that were kept out from good goalkeeper play by Bendik.
Toronto winger Bobby Convey, who assisted both stoppage time goals in Toronto's comeback victory over Columbus on July 27, found little of the same success, as the Crew fullbacks seemed intent on shutting down service from the wings. Overall, Toronto's attack sputtered, as they only managed two shots on target all night, and rarely connected on final balls in the box. However, Bendik had a strong match despite allowing Higuain's goals, as he made five saves, and helped keep the visitors' hopes alive.
Newly-acquired forward Maximiliano Urruti made his MLS debut for Toronto, coming on for the final 25 minutes of the match, but he could not make an immediate impact in his first action with his new team.
The win brings the Crew to 29 points on the season, still good for just eighth place in the Eastern Conference, while Toronto remains at ninth place in the conference, nine points back of Columbus. Toronto is back in action next Saturday as they travel to RFK Stadium to face D.C. United.
CLM – Federico Higuain 18’
CLM – Federico Higuain 67’ (Jairo Arrieta)
TFC – Richard Eckersley 36’ (caution)
CLM – Will Trapp 50’ (caution)
CLM – Danny O’Rourke 80’ (caution)
TORONTO FC RECORD: 4-12-8 20 POINTS
COLUMBUS CREW RECORD: 8-11-5 29 POINTS
Toronto FC – Joe Bendik; Richard Eckersley, Steven Caldwell ©, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan; Alvaro Rey (Reggie Lambe 55’), Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba (Jeremy Hall 79’), Bobby Convey; Jeremy Brockie, Robert Earnshaw (Maximiliano Urruti 65’)
Substitutes not used: Stefan Frei, Gale Agbossoumonde, Jonas Elmer, Andrew Wiedeman
Columbus Crew – Matt Lampson; Josh Williams, Chad Barson, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana; Justin Meram (Danny O’Rourke 66’), Federico Higuain © (Konrad Warzycha 89’), Dominic Oduro, Will Trapp, Bernardo Anor; Jairo Arrieta (Ethan Finlay 83’)
Substitutes Not Used: Daniel Withrow, Ben Speas, Kevan George, Ryan Finley