It was an ugly Sunday game. Not that the playing was bad, but the weather in Columbus for the last Crew game was … well anything but desirable for the last game they would play of the season.
And even though the players in black & gold were done after the match and had to look to 2013 a bit sooner than any of us really wanted, there was still a bit at stake during the match against Toronto FC. That something was the Trillium Cup. The Crew had a chance to sweep the series with the Canadian side and I know I was definitely expecting no less than a win for the Crew.
Things started good, got sketchy, but then came back. And despite it all, the Crew won, 2-1 off a brace from Higuain.
Now I’ve said this a time or two, but now that Columbus’ season is officially over I think it’s important to make the point again. Higuain will be the man to watch next season and the one that I think is that piece the Crew have been missing from their attacking puzzle. He’s the designated player now and he’s definitely more than ready to fit into that role. And as defender Josh Williams said Sunday about Higuain and Jairo Arrieta, “You give those guys 34 games and who knows what those guys can do.” I have a feeling what they will do will be great for the midwest team.
I also have to commend keeper Andy Gruenebaum this season. I mean, holy crap man. For a guy that came in on the fly after regular keeper William Hesmer was out with injury, Andy has proven how kick ass he can be between the posts for the Crew. He’s not called “The Hammer” for nothing. He’s been a strong force this season and I do hope he continues to feature in Crew line ups. He’s certainly worked and earned it.
Also, he’s up for MLS Keeper of the Year, and with a league-leading 124 saves … well come on, he deserves the honor.
So the Crew have 1.) swept the Trillium Cup, 2.) have a great future ahead with Arrieta and Higuian, and 3.) have Andy Gruenebaum at their back. What other awesomeness came from Sunday’s game and the 2012 season? Homegrown winger Ben Speas started the game and was a hell of a threat on the attack. The kid had three shots on goal and had tons of confidence to boot. That’s definitely a positive for the team.
So Crew fans, our season is over too early, but we can look back and know it wasn’t all bad. And we’ve got a hell of a jump on next season.
Sit back, enjoy the highlights of 2012 and starting counting down to Kick off 2013!