Columbus, OH – The Columbus Crew have been relatively futile in front of goal this season, but that needs to change if they want to improve their odds of making it to the playoffs.
Columbus occupies seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 30 points on the year, seven points adrift of a postseason berth. It is a misleading position given the games in hand Columbus has over other postseason hopefuls, but should the club finish the regular season level with opposing teams, the first tiebreaker is goals scored.
That does not bode well for the Crew, who have produced an Eastern-Conference low 23 goals through 22 games.
According to head coach Robert Warzycha, Columbus must find a way to create and finish more scoring opportunities.
"That's how it is," Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com recently. "We don't have to agree with [the tiebreaker rule] but that's what it is going to be. We have to score more goals."
The scoring effort will commence on Wednesday when the Crew host lowly Toronto FC, and the home side will lifted by the addition of Designated Player Federico Higuain.
The Argentine has played just 45 minutes for Columbus but has already made an impact, assisting on Eddie Gaven's goal in the club's 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
"He was very active, all over the field making runs," Gaven told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. "That's what we need from our forwards. He's going to be a huge asset for us."
Higuain will have the dubious task of going up against Toronto newcomer Darren O'Dea, who made his MLS debut on Saturday despite experiencing some fatigue as a result from a taxing travel schedule.
The defender played all 90 minutes for the Republic of Ireland in Serbia last week and still managed to go the distance in Toronto's 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City. O'Dea impressed enough to draw praise from TFC interim head coach Paul Mariner.
"When you factor in his [traveling], how many miles has he flown and then a quick turnaround, playing against one of the best teams in MLS, I thought he acquitted himself unbelievably well," Mariner told MLSsoccer.com. "He's talking at the back, he's commanding the line. He's everything I want, absolutely everything."
Toronto, bottoming the Eastern Conference with just 20 points on the season, will be looking to snap a four-game winless run on Wednesday.