With speculation of 2017 being the final season for Federico Higuain in Black & Gold, fans began to worry about the direction of Columbus Crew SC‘s attack if the playmaker departed.
Higuain has played an important role for the Columbus for so long that it became difficult to think about life after the Argentine. In six seasons, the Black & Gold’s No. 10 has contributed 48 goals and 49 assists in 149 Major League Soccer games.
Luckily for fans, Pipa signed a one-year contract extension with Crew SC in October to remain in Central Ohio.
Last season, following a disappointing 2016 that saw him miss much of the year with injury, Higuain experienced a renaissance, tallying a career-high with 14 assists and adding nine goals. As Higuain gets older, can he continue to defy father time?
Apparently head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter thought the same thing as the Black & Gold acquired 21-year-old Venezuelan midfielder Eduardo Sosa this winter. The young midfielder joined Crew SC after spending the previous five seasons in Venezuela playing for Zamora FC.
While with Zamora, Sosa scored eight goals and recorded six assists in 59 appearances. He also helped his Zamora win three Venezuelan first division titles during his tenure with the club, making him an exciting addition to the club.
“Eduardo is a player who at an early age has already proven he can compete at a high level,” Berhalter said when the signing was announced.
While Sosa has only been with Crew SC for about a month, the team likes what it’s getting out of the young player.
Featuring largely with the second unit in the preseason matches, Sosa demonstrated the abilities Berhalter and his staff saw in scouting him, even drawing come comparisons to Higuain along the way.
“Eduardo’s been doing well,” Berhalter of the Venezuelan. “The thing I like about Eduardo is that he has been improving every single session, every single game. His level of improvement has been outstanding so far. We see him as an attacking midfielder, very similar to the role Federico Higuain plays and his able to give final passes and create goal scoring opportunities for his teammates and himself.”
That’s exactly what Sosa has been doing, Sosa’s confidence increases with each appearance in the Black & Gold. It reminds fans of the rapid growth that midfielder Artur demonstrated over the course of last season. Sosa is still a raw talent, but the potential is there.
Sosa hasn’t done much yet, but his movement reminds me a lot of what Higuain does off the ball, which is good news. #CrewSC— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) February 21, 2018
With the season now just a few days away, Sosa and the rest of his teammates are back in Columbus, training for the opening match with Toronto FC on Saturday.
Like any young player traveling to a new league for the first time, it will take Sosa time to adapt to a new country, a new language and MLS. But with Higuain still kicking for the Black & Gold, he will have that time to settle in, while showcasing his abilities in relief of the veteran playmaker.
“This is tough, it’s been very demanding, it’s very different from Venezuela” Sosa said of his time with Crew SC. “I had to get used to the cold, they expect a lot more out of you, but little by little I’ve been getting used to it. As I get to know my teammates, I know it’s going to get easier.”