COLUMBUS – Federico Higuain had a penalty and an assist and Jairo Arrieta made a triumphant return to the first XI as the Crew did all their scoring in the first half for a 3-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday night in a match delayed 50 minutes at the start after a fire in the video board at Crew Stadium.
The teams were warming up when the blaze broke out on the top of the video board above the south stands about 25 minutes before the scheduled kickoff.
Fans were cleared from the area and the players were forced to stop warming up. No one was injured and spectators in the sections below the board, including D.C.'s traveling supporters La Barra Brava, were moved elsewhere for the match.
There was no sound system for the match and the Nordecke supporters section led the crowd of 14,090 in singing the Star Spangled Banner.
Once the game began the Crew (3-2-3) sent D.C. to their fifth straight loss and extend a winless streak to 0-5-1.
Arrieta was back in the starting lineup for the first time in five matches and the Costa Rican forward had a part in all three goals by setting up Dominic Oduro on the first; drawing a corner kick that led to Williams' score and earning a penalty that Higuain converted.
After returning from national team duty, Arrieta lost his first XI berth but quickly paid dividends vs. D.C. by setting up Oduro's fourth goal in the 15th minute.
He took a cross from by Eddie Gaven on the left side of the box and dribbled toward the endline before cutting a pass to the middle where Oduro buried a shot to give the Crew only their second goal in the first half this season.
D.C. shortly thereafter thought it had tied the match but, as they did in losing 2-1 to the Crew at home on March 23, they had a goal disallowed much to their chagrin.
In the first meeting, Kyle Porter was ruled offside before scoring while this time Perry Kitchen was called for a foul as he headed the ball into the goal. Saturday's decision in the 23rd minute became even more pivotal when Williams scored for the second time this season vs. D.C. just moments later.
After failing to earn a corner kick in losing 1-0 at Chicago the previous match, the Crew struck on their first try in the 26th minute as Higuain found Williams 10 yards in front of the goal. The defender's sidewinder was his third goal of the season.
The Crew made it 3-0 in second minute of first-half stoppage time when Gaven heeled the ball to Arrieta, who was taken down from behind by Brandon McDonald.
Higuain converted the PK after a stutter-step for his second goal, adding to D.C. 's 0-5-1 run in Columbus since 2007.
The Crew will play their sixth straight Eastern Conference foe when they host New York on May 4. D.C. United hopes to be healthier for their next match May 8 against Houston at RFK Stadium.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jairo Arrieta (CLB)||The Costa Rican made sure his manager doesn't think of sitting him any time soon. Was a man possessed vs. DC, and catalyst on all three goals.|
|2||Dominic Oduro (CLB)||Shifted to right midfield vs. DC to make room for Arrieta, Oduro wreaked havoc on the visitors and scored a goal. His mere presence brings best out of Crew attack.|
|3||Danny O'Rourke (CLB)||Gets the deserved standing ovation on a late substitution, honoring 90 minutes of hard work and hustle all over the field. Set the tone for the Crew's asphyxiating pressure.|