Columbus Crew SC finished off a trip to Hawaii with a victory over Japanese club Iwaki FC, 5-3. Gyasi Zardes, Federico Higuain, Lalas Abubakar, Edward Opoku, and Luis Argudo scored for the Black & Gold.
Iwaki FC played a high-tempo pressing game from the opening whistle. Columbus struggled to build under the constant pressure. The team had few chances through the first half hour as Iwaki had the better of play.
Crew SC took the lead in the 34th minute behind another Zardes goal, his third of thr tournament. Higuain slipped the ball for Pedro Santos to run onto. The winger fired a quick cross that Zardes poked into the goal from close range.
Iwaki FC responded with a quick goal a minute later as Tsubasa Hisanaga beat goalkeeper Zack Steffen and a softening Crew SC defense.
Columbus would take the lead again early in the second half on a 48th minute penalty kick goal by Higuain. Santos clipped in a cross that was handled, giving Crew SC the chance to convert from the spot.
The third Crew SC goal came quickly in the 53rd minute. Higuain sent in a corner that Zardes sent on goal with a strong header that the keeper could only parry high. The second corner was buried with close range header from Abubakar, giving Columbus a two goal advantage.
Iwaki FC stuck around and would get an easy goal to cut the lead to one after a ricocheted Hector Jimenez clearance fell kindly to Masahide Hiroka who beat a stranded Logan Ketterer, the second half goalkeeper, in the 66th minute.
Rookie Edward Opoku restored the two-goal edge in the 73rd minute. New addition Eduardo Sosa slipped a pass through the Iwaki defense to setup Opoku for the close range score to make it 4-2.
Iwaki came back again with another second half goal by Atsushi Yoshida to make it 4-3 after the defense failed to pressure.
As Iwaki pushed for the typing goal, Crew SC put the game beyond doubt with a five-on-two counter late in the game. Sosa settled over the ball and picked out Hector Jimenez on the far left. He zipped in a cross that rookie Luis Argudo poked home to make it 5-3.
Steffen (Ketterer 45’), Afful (Maloney 60’), Mensah, Abubakar (Crognale 60’), Valenzuela (Jimenez 45’), Artur (Clark 45’), Trapp (Abu 45’), Martinez (Argudo 45’), Higuain (Sosa 60’), Santos (Argudo 60’), Zardes (Jahn 60’)