Columbus clawed past Orlando City last night in the final group game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic 3-2. The Crew secured the three points behind set piece goals from Agustin Viana and Josh Williams. Federico Higuain scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 89th minute.
While a win is always expected, the team had several goals last night. With the season kicking off just two weeks away, Robert Warzycha sent out most of the starters for a full game. Gláuber, Tyson Wahl, Dominic Oduro, Eddie Gaven, Higuaín, Jairo Arrieta all went the full 90 minutes.
The team also wanted to get through the game unscathed, but Chad Marshall was knocked in the jaw early in the game and had to be lifted in the 7th minute. Warzycha told the Dispatch's Adam Jardy that the substitution was precautionary and that Marshall would be ready soon.
While the Black and Gold controlled the game, they did show worrying signs of leaking goals again. A poor Gláuber backpass gave Orlando City their first goal off of a Jamie Watson poaching effort in the 57th minute. They kept up the pressure and forced an own goal even being down a man in the 79th minute.
There still were very positive signs. Higuain was very sharp on set pieces. With towering targets such as Viana, Gláuber, Marshall, Wahl, and Williams, the Argentine has a lot of options on corners and free kicks.
The Crew also showed some solid ball movement. The Viana/Matias Sanchez midfield pairing is stout, but also technical. They played several one touch passes and quickly found Higuain, Gaven, or Oduro to press the advantage.
Higuain also looks in midseason form. He drifted all over the field, finding seams in the defense and linking up well with the rest of the attacking peices. He is surrounded by technical players who are quickly adapting to his style of play. It's reminicent of when the 2007 Crew team started to click with Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Columbus now has a full week off before the Championship Game next Saturday at 8pm against the Montreal Impact. After a busy week, the Crew will now start settling into a normal pattern with the regular season right around the corner.