COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the second match in a row Saturday, a Federico Higuain brace highlighted by a sublime chip gave the Columbus Crew a 2-0 home win. The victory over visiting Toronto FC marked the Crew's first winning streak of 2013, and earned the club a second consecutive Trillium Cup.
"It feels great. Two wins in a row is a great confidence booster for us," midfielder Wil Trapp said in the Crew locker room after the match. "It's huge. Two wins at home to get the fans back into it is something we can definitely build off of."
Higuain stole the spotlight with his two goals on the night. The Argentine opened the scoring in the 19th minute, when he gathered a deflected shot to give Columbus a 1-0 lead, and his floating chip over the outstretched arms of Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik in the 67th brought the match to its final 2-0 score.
"His second goal was an unbelievable goal," Columbus Head Coach Robert Warzycha said after the match. "It's not something he does every day; goals like this are nice to see in the stadiums."
Despite the second straight Goal of the Week contender, Higuain says he can't take credit for the team's success.
"They're all important, especially when they help the team win," he said to a group of reporters through a translator after the match. "Since I got here, I've always said the same thing, it's 18 players who get together on the day of the game, 30 players who train during the week, 11 players who come out on the pitch, so the responsibility falls on the whole team and it's the whole team that gets these victories."
Higuain's brace takes his tally to nine goals on the season, tied for the team lead with Dominic Oduro. Despite the flurry of scoring, the forward says he hasn't altered his game or played more aggressively, but rather that his individual success reflects the work of the team.
"It's just happened. I've had games in the past where I've felt that I had a lot of good chances and they've hit the post or they've been close, but they haven't gone in," he said. "Right now it feels like things are happening for this team, not just in front, but also for the defense and for midfield."
While their star player is grabbing headlines, Warzycha and the Crew are more concerned with the end of their unfortunate summer trend. After losing two matches in stoppage time amidst a 1-6-0 run, the team seems to have regained its ability to close out vital matches. Warzycha said that the key was staying aggressive, and Trapp echoed his coach's sentiment.
"I think if you look at the past two games, what we've done is we didn't settle for just one goal," Trapp said. "We went out and got that second one, and that gives us that space where the other team starts to kind of quit on it a little bit and we can close the game."