Yes, The Other Higuain scored two fantastic free kicks…
But let’s show some love for the birthday boy!
Jairo Arrieta celebrated his 29th birthday by scoring the game winner for Columbus as they erased a 2-0 first half deficit against the New England Revolution and went on to win 4-3. The Costa Rican striker saved what would have been a disastrous result had New England’s late PK goal held up.
Even though I found myself sighing in relief, it seemed like Saturday night was going to be Columbus’ night the moment Federico Higuain netted the first of two free kick goals to cut an early 2-0 deficit in half. As always, there was much we can learn from Saturday night’s contest. Let’s start with the negative…
-The backline continues to struggle. Chad Marshall is getting up there in age, but he also can’t seem to find a suitable partner in the center of the defense.
-Carlos Mendes has missed a large portion of this season with a hamstring injury and he had to leave in the middle of the first half for…a hamstring injury.
-Andy Gruenebaum also had to check out due to a lower back contusion.
-While the PK call was incredibly soft, Julius James did have his arms draped around his man in the box. James is constantly flirting with danger, whether it’s fighting for a loose ball in the box or simply trying to clear a cross. I’d feel better if Mendes was healthy.
-Until Higuain’s first goal, it looked like Columbus was going to fold under the weight of heavy legs. This schedule has been incredibly taxing and you wonder if it will continue to take it’s toll on Wednesday night at Philadelphia.
-Higuain single handedly saved the night for Columbus with not one, but two incredibly well taken free kicks. He wasn’t necessarily brought in to score goals, but he’s done a terrific job so far and one can only hope he can continue to stay hot down the stretch.
-Because Higuain is not the go-to goal scorer, it was great to see Arrieta net twice. I really enjoyed his first one in particular as he just seemed to vent all his frustrations into one powerful shot. He’ll need to be “The Guy” up top if a playoff run is in the cards.
-Eddie Gaven and Dilly Duka looked to be very much in sync with the Dynamic Duo of Arrieta and Higuain. The biggest issue for Columbus has been the lack of a consistent Starting XI, but I think we’re finally close to seeing one.
-Three points are better than one. Especially when DC United loses 3-0 at the hands of a lesser foe. There’s still much work to be done, but the significance of Columbus winning instead of drawing cannot be overstated.
Federico Higuain is excellent at free kicks.
No, the biggest takeaway is that the Crew have managed to avoid a loss so far in this brutal six game stretch. Wednesday means a trip to Philly and that is a very winnable match given their current roster woes. A draw would be incredibly disappointing. While the backline continues to struggle, there seems to be a bit of magic in the air (possibly courtesy of the late Kirk Urso) that has this team getting results when they need them the most. MLS is required to have one team get hot in August and September and sneak into the playoffs and while I tend to despise such a team, this year it seems Columbus are headed in that direction. It would only be fair given their epic collapse right around this time last season.