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Game Day 1: Columbus Crew at Chivas USA

The Crew open the MLS Regular Season in Los Angeles against Chivas USA.

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Crew Down Chivas 3-0 to Win First of the Year

For a half, it looked like any other Crew game against Chivas USA in Los Angeles, struggling to put connect on their chances with the threat of the home team taking all three points. However, Federico Higuain would rip up the old script and write a new ending, spurring the Crew to three second half goals.

The Black and Gold started brightly in the first minute with Higuain sending in a long free kick that Josh Williams volleyed and forced an acrobatic save from Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to keep it scoreless.

The Crew would continue to probe the struggling Chivas lineup with Dominic Oduro getting in on goal in the 12th minute, putting his shot high. Another Higuain free kick in the 16th minute was headed wide.

The next chance would again fall to the Black and Gold in the 21st minute with Higuain sending a floating ball that Jairo Arrieta volleyed right at Kennedy.

Chivas would have the best chance of the first half in the 26th minute when a Danny O'Rourke pass would be cut out and give Giovani Casillas the ball in the Crew third. Casillas's pass would find Julio Morales on a breakaway. Andy Gruenebaum would come up large to block the shot.

Morales would have another chance a couple minutes later when Casillas again found him behind the Crew defense. He took a touch a bit long past a diving Gruenebaum, but would go down as he passed the Crew 'keeper. Referee Chris Penso waved play on.

Columbus would withstand early second half pressure as Chivas came out with a couple early chances, but it was the play of Higuain in the 51st minute that would turn the game. The Argentine would take a pass from Arrieta in space from 30 yards out and drill a rocket that would kiss off the upright and carom in to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.

The Crew would withstand the mounting pressure of a disjointed Chivas attack by laying deeper and trying to spring off the counter. Head Coach Robert Warzycha withdrew Arrieta and Higuain in the 77th minute with both players picking up several knocks from the overzealous Chivas defenders.

The much desired second goal would come just over 10 minutes later as a Crew counter ended up in a corner kick. Eddie Gaven's bending service found Williams, who volleyed the ball home, for his first goal of the season.

Oduro would seal the result by causing a turnover in the defensive third and breaking out, running 80 yards, and rounding Kennedy to give the Crew a third goal in second half stoppage time.

The Crew have struggled at the Home Depot Center against Chivas USA, even when the Goats have been bad. They didn't fall victim to playing down to the level of the competition and broke through after a half of struggles. The defense didn't give up any goals and looked solid against an offense that is a work in progress.

Chivas USA may not be the best measuring stick the Crew face; they are a franchise in disarray. Upcoming opponent Vancouver will be a sterner test next Saturday evening. The Whitecaps finished in the playoffs in 2012 and defeated a tenacious Toronto team this afternoon. Today, however, the Crew are momentarily top of the league.

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The Crew open the MLS Regular Season in Los Angeles against Chivas USA.

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