By DANIEL KARELL and KEVIN KOCZWARA
For the second straight season, the Columbus Crew have wound up with the Trillium Cup.
The annual trophy competed for by Toronto FC (4-12-8, 20 pts.) and the Crew (8-11-5, 29 pts.) stayed with the American club after Columbus beat Toronto on Saturday, with Crew forward Federico Higuain scoring a brace in a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium. Toronto has only won the cup once in its six year history.
The win gave gave the Crew back-to-back wins for the first time this season. And it’s no coincidence that Higuain had a major part in both wins, scoring four goals in two games.
The Argentine opened the game up in the 19th minute after putting home a rebound after Bernard Añor saw his attempt on goal saved by Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik, who did well to stop Añor’s first chance. But Bendik had no chance to stop Higuain’s rebound.
Higuain, who enjoyed plenty of space and was Columbus’ creative fulcrum in the match, added an audacious chip to his growing list of Goals of the Week candidates. Bendik found himself a few steps off his goal-line when Higuain chipped the the Toronto keeper, giving the Crew a 2-0 lead. The goal was the Argentinians’ ninth of the season, tying him for the team lead with Dominic Oduro.
Columbus wouldn’t give up their lead and let Toronto get in any sort of attacking rhythm. The Reds only managed two shots on net all night.
On a positive note for Toronto, newly acquired forward Maximiliano Urruti made his debut for the Reds in the final 25 minutes of the match, but the Argentine was unable to help Toronto get on the scoresheet.
The win was Robert Warzycha’s 70th while in charge of the Crew, tying him with Tom Fitzgerald for most all-time among Columbus coaches.
The Crew moved within two points of the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference standings and seven points behind the Houston Dyanmo for the final playoff spot. Toronto remains in ninth place with the loss, seven points ahead of last-place D.C. United.