For the second straight week, it was Federico Higuain conjuring magic to lead the Columbus Crew to victory. Higuain scored his second consecutive brace, including another beautiful chip as the defense recorded another shutout to blank Toronto FC.
The Crew would strike first off the buildup from a throw-in midway through the first half. Chad Barson would drive in a rightsided cross from near the right touchline. Bernardo Anor would meet the service and fire off consecutive shots, the first blocked and the second parried by keeper Joe Bendik. Higuain was there to thread a shot between a sprawling Bendik and his defensive help on the line to make it 1-0 in the 19th minute.
Columbus would continue pushing for a second goal throughout the rest of the half. Oduro got free to force a Bendik save. Moments later, Anor would force another save late in the half with a blistering shot off a Justin Meram no look pass. Meram would create his own shot just before halftime, but Bendik would cover.
After a slow opening to the second half, Dominic Oduro would get a chance one on one with Bendik in the 53rd minute. Anor drove a splitting pass that Oduro ran on to. The Ghanian's shot however was parried by Bendik.
After Oduro's shot, Toronto and the Crew proceeded to trade possession as the game opened up. Neither side was able to significantly test the opposing goal. Columbus was holding onto the lead, but the visitors were threatening.
It would be another miraculous individual performance from Higuain to extend the lead. The Argentine received a pass from Jairo Arrieta. Toronto gave Higuain space and he uncorked a driven chip from 20 yards. Despite Bendik being just four yards off his line, the shot was perfectly placed to beat the keeper and give the Crew the insurance goal in the 67th minute.
Toronto would push for a goal, but would only put two shots on target the whole night and only a Jeremy Brockie shot from 25 yards that Lampson easily saved in the 78th minute after the Crew went up 2-0.
It ended up being a complete win against a Toronto team that looked as bad as expected most of the night. The Crew peppered Bendik with 19 shots, 7 on goal with Toronto mustering 8 with only two on goal.
With the win Crew moved to 8-11-5 and 29 points, but remain seven points behind the Houston Dynamo for fifth place and final playoff spot. They have a couple tough tests in the weeks ahead. They head to Salt Lake City to take on first place Real Salt Lake and then face the Seattle Sounders at home. Win both of those, then talk about playoffs.
Correction: This article originally referenced the first goal coming off of a set piece. The goal came from a cross by right back Chad Barson.