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Higuian Brace Kickstarts Crew Season

by Neal Sayatovich
Mar 09, 2014 10:58 AM EDT



http://www.football.com...ts-crew-season/

With the preseason in our rear view mirror, the regular season kickoff is now here. Any performance in the prior month may as well be forgotten. As many of you know, I have supported the Crew and have predicted them to do well this year. Many critics disagreed with me and before the match, not one predicted a Columbus victory.
My faith was well rewarded in the season opener when Columbus shut out DC United 3-0. Both sides fought a great battle until the 18th minute when Jario Arrieta booted in a great pass from Josh Williams. Looking back, Arrieta might have been offsides.
Many of the fans were in an uproar about the replacement refs and disagreed with many of their calls. This was only intensified nine minutes later when United defender Perry Kitchen grappled and knocked over Crew center back Michael Parkhurst leading to a penalty opportunity.
Federico Higuian lined up to take his shot and booted a laser through the top right of the net in the 27th minute. Every DC fan fell into silence as Columbus celebrated on the pitch and every United player looked demoralized. Both sides battled back and forth with a number of yellow cards being handed out to Crew players during the first half.
Once the second half started, United started pushing the tempo. Nick Deleon created the only genuine chance for United. Deleon booted a cross that Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark knocked back towards his own goal. Parkhurst was there to clear it, however, and Columbus were back on the offensive.
Justin Meram put his laces through a shot that was stopped thanks to a great save by Bill Hamid in the 87th minute. Minutes later Meram passed to a wide open Higuain. The Argentinean's shot was well out of Hamid's reach.
With the first game in the books, the Greg Berhalter era starts out with a well executed win. With a bye week coming up for both teams, there is a opportunity to build on the good, or try an fix the bad. DC United will have a chance to reverse the poor run of form against Toronto FC. Columbus has its home opener against Philadelphia Union on the March 22.