US Open Cup: Will Columbus Crew star Federico Higuain play vs. the Dayton Dutch Lions?
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Designated Player appearing in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match for the Crew is rare and playing in the third-round – as could be the case Wednesday for forward Federico Higuaín when the Dayton Dutch Lions visit -–is unheard of.
Yet, Higuaín is lobbying coach Robert Warzycha to help avenge last year's stunning 2-1 defeat to the USL PRO club when they meet again on Wednesday at Crew Stadium (7:30 pm ET, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday afternoon that he is undecided if the player everyone calls Pipa will debut in the century-old tournament – renamed for the Crew founder in 1999, three years before Columbus won their only Open Cup title.
Higuaín joined the Crew in August of 2012 and missed the loss to Dayton, which occurred one year ago Wednesday.
"If you talk to Pipa, he wants to be on the field," the coach said. "He told me a long, long time ago he wants to play the Open Cup. He knows what happened last year. He said if I need him, he'd be more than happy to play."
Higuaín stated his case via Twitter following a 2-2 tie at New York on Sunday:
Today was not possible to gain but much to play ... On Wednesday we have to win ... Lets Go Crew
— Federico Higuaín (@FHiguaín_33) May 27, 2013
The Crew's two previous Designated Players had varied success in the tournament.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto's only appearances in seven opportunities over three full seasons with the Crew came in the semifinal (he scored) and final of the 2010 tournament, although it should be noted he was the DP for only the 2009 season. Andrés Mendoza played 12 minutes off the bench in the 2010 final but the following season when he became the DP he did not play in a third-round loss to the Richmond Kickers.
Warzycha must balance fielding as strong a team as possible to having healthy bodies for the next MLS match Saturday at home against the Houston Dynamo.
Still, defender Chad Marshall (hamstring), midfielders Wil Trapp (US. U-20s), Agustín Viana (hamstring) and forwards Jairo Arrieta (Costa Rica) and Dominic Oduro (thigh contusion) will not play Wednesday.
Midfielder/defender Kevan George may not be available after taking stitches in the face following an elbow by New York's Thierry Henry and midfielder Danny O'Rourke might sit after returning from an ankle sprain for the Red Bulls match. Meanwhile, defender Glauber served a suspension for the New York game so he might see time vs. Dayton.
"He's the same as Pipa," Warzycha said. "It's difficult to keep those guys off the field. They just don't want to play. They want to win."