Columbus, OH – The Columbus Crew's prayers have been answered as they finally have a promising scorer to lead them into the playoff chase.
Federico Higuain has made just two appearances in MLS, but he has already tallied a goal and two assists to help the Crew take four points over their last two games.
Now the designated player will lead the Crew against the New England Revolution on Saturday in a match with three crucial points at stake.
Columbus entered its midweek clash with Toronto FC having scored just 23 goals, fewest in the Eastern Conference. But Higuain set up Eddie Gaven early on before scoring what turned out to be the game-winner in the second half, giving the Crew some much-needed creativity and composure in front of goal.
Gaven says that Higuain bringing teammates into play is a major difference.
"It was nice to get four or five guys getting a little touch on the ball," Gaven told MLSsoccer.com.
The statistics don't lie; in only 121 minutes, Higuain has had a hand in all three of the goals scored when the Argentine has been on the pitch.
But despite its poor run of form in recent months, New England could have an answer to come away from Crew Stadium with a positive result.
The Revs have lost four in a row and are winless in their last seven matches, going 0-6-1 over that stretch. Their last win came on July 8 when they beat Red Bull New York, 2-0, at Gillette Stadium.
Jerry Bengston, signed as a designated player just days before that match, scored his only MLS goal in New England's most recent victory.
He has gone on to feature in just three more league matches as his time with New England has been cut short due to his participation in the Olympics. But after Honduras saw its run come to halt in the quarterfinals, Bengston is ready to get back into the swing of things with the Revs.
"It was a great thing for me to score three goals at the Olympics, but I am sad that I haven't been able to step right in and start scoring goals with New England," Bengston said. "Now that I am back in with the team and working hard, my goal is to come in and score goals with the Revolution."
For struggling New England, its best hope to beat Columbus on the road may be a strong offensive output, something for which Bengston is certainly well- equipped.