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Report: Higuain to sign with Crew rivals D.C. United

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The Black & Gold’s midfielder isn’t going too far.

MLS: Knockout Round-Columbus Crew SC at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Former Columbus Crew SC midfield maestro Federico Higuain’s career isn’t done. After tearing his ACL in the early portions of the 2019 season, the Black & Gold did not re-sign Higuain and he has since been looking for a job, as opposed to retiring.

That search has apparently come to an end, and Crew fans may not be too pleased with where Higuain will end up.

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff is reporting that Crew legend Higuain is about to sign for Eastern Conference rival D.C. United. He was spotted sitting in the stands last Wednesday during a preseason match against Nashville SC and it has been reported he already has had a physical.

Most Crew supporters have been wondering what their former talisman has been doing since his contract wasn’t renewed by the club this offseason. At 35, most people assumed Higuain would retire. But this new opportunity with United has given Pipa a new lease on life. According to Goff, D.C. United is offering him a contract worth, in the neighborhood of $100,000 – far below the $1.1 million the Crew paid him. The interesting aspect of the deal is that he will also serve as an assistant coach.

This is a low-risk move by D.C., who’s attack was severely hampered when Paul Arriola tore his right ACL, basically ending his season before it got started. Most Crew supporters would agree that Higuain’s legs are a bit shot. But his game was never predicated on speed. His soccer IQ is what United is after. He will most likely be a spot starter, and not see too many 90-minute shifts.

Pipa scored 55 goals and dished out 63 assists in his eight seasons with the Black & Gold after leaving his home country of Argentina. The Crew signed him for a then-record fee of $650,000 from his former club Colon in his home country of Argentina. For the last eight years, Higuain was Columbus’ No. 10, creating goals in the midfield. But injuries piled up and the Black & Gold elected not to bring Pipa back for 2020.

This offseason, Lucas Zelarayan, the Crew’s new No. 10 signed for a reported transfer fee of $7 million from Mexican side Tigres to replace Higuain. Zelarayan has some big shoes to fill. Higuain led the Crew to the MLS Cup Final in 2015 and was the fulcrum of the Black & Gold’s attack for most of the last decade.

The signature Nordecke chant of “EE-gwa-EEN” with overhead thunder claps mixed in as he lined up for a corner kick will be missed around MAPFRE Stadium. But what will the Crew supporter reaction be when he dons the black jersey of D.C. United when he visits on June 20? I would assume it will be 99 percent positive. This legend will most likely land in the Crew ring of honor. He deserves it.