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Columbus v. Toronto (Game Recap)

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Gaven and Higuain's goals led the Crew to victory to keep pace in the playoff race.
Gaven and Higuain's goals led the Crew to victory to keep pace in the playoff race.

The Crew were facing a must win home game against a cellar dwelling Toronto FC team. Columbus is chasing D.C. United for the final playoff spot and any slip up at home would be devastating for their playoff chances. While it wasn't pretty at the end, the black and gold got the job done behind the inspiring play of Federico Higuain.

The Crew struck quickly against the visitors and Higuain was the catalyst. He picked up the ball after drifting to the left side. He then cut in, drawing the Toronto defense to him before dropping the ball to Eddie Gaven. Gaven's shot took a deflection off of Toronto defender Andrew Wiedeman and wrong footed TFC keeper Freddy Hall.

After the goal, neither team would find a good offensive rhythm the rest of the half. Both teams would find stretches of possession but really wouldn't significantly test the opposing goalkeepers. The teams combined for 7 shots all half.

Both teams would again struggle to find an offensive flow early in the 2nd half, but it would be the Crew that would nearly take a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute. Emilio Renteria would feed Chris Birchall. Birchall's shot from 20 yards would ring of the left post. Arrieta would grab the rebound, but he was offside, killing the play.

Columbus would finally extend their lead five minutes later with a team effort, an savvy play by the DP, and a breakdown in the Toronto defense. Renteria was again finding space on the right and would flight a cross over the Toronto box. Gaven nodded the header to Higuain who quickly played to Arrieta. Arrieta bounced the ball back to Higuain who coolly finished to make it 2-0.

Toronto would scratch a goal back off of a Luis Silva goal in the 71st minute. Quincy Amarikwa nodded down a long ball to Eric Hassli to start the play. Hassli slotted a through ball past the collapsing Crew defense to Silva. Silva calmly shot past a stranded Andy Gruenebaum.

After the goal, Toronto would pile on wave after wave of pressure in the final 20 minutes but the Crew defense bent as far as it could without breaking. Toronto would fire five shots while keeping most of the possession, but the Crew defense held firm and Gruenebaum would come up with a couple key saves to hold on to the three points.

The 2-1 win secures the Trillium Cup and more importantly moves the Crew to 9-8-6 and 33 points. They are still 7 points behind D.C. United and 8 points behind the Fire and the Dynamo. The Crew have another chance to make up ground with New England coming to town on Saturday night. Kickoff is at 7:30pm.