For his two-assist effort to lift the Crew to a comeback victory over the first-place Montreal Impact, Argentine playmaker Federico Higuaín has been selected as Soccer by Ives' Player of the Week after missing three matches due to suspension and injury. Higuaín currently leads the Black & Gold with eight helpers on the year to go with nine goals this season.
Higuaín and the Crew remain four points out of a playoff spot with five matches left in the season, starting with the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Crew Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET / TICKETS).
Described as the “crown jewel” of the Crew Youth Academy by Columbus Crew Technical Director, Brian Bliss, Homegrown Player Wil Trapp has been the subject of some high praise recently.
Following his MLS debut, where he started and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Portland, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha had equally high plaudits for the 20-year-old.
“We knew that when it was time he could step on the field and do a good job. He’s a good player,” said Warzycha postgame last Sunday. “He played for the Academy and we signed him because we knew what he could do and what kind of player he is.
“He grew up here, in Columbus, so we knew when it was time he could step on the field and do a good job. He's a good player.”
Playing as the lone holding midfielder, in a slightly altered Crew formation, Trapp impressed in his MLS debut. He completed the highest percentage of passes of any player on the pitch (86.0%) and won the ball back for the Crew twice as many times as conceded possession (17 wins to 8 losses). The new formation perhaps suited Trapp, who had a similar role while Portland’s Head Coach, Caleb Porter, while at the University of Akron.
Porter is not surprised that Trapp has continued to impress in his young career since leaving Akron. “He’s got a bright future. Obviously I had him on my radar, recruitment wise, for a long time, being at Akron, and being that he was an Ohio guy. I knew he would do well at the professional level.”
“He’s a very technical player. He’s a player that tactically gets it,” said Porter of his former midfielder postgame. “He’s a smart player. Technically and tactically he’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever been with.
Trapp demonstrated his tactical awareness and that despite his age, the Gahanna product is able to perform on the big stage. In two seasons at Akron, Trapp started all 55 matches, tallying one goal and eight assists from his deep-lying midfield role. Perhaps his greatest attribute, however, is his ability to control the midfield. His strength and positioning on and off the ball allows for his teammates in the midfield more freedom to operate.
In his two seasons at Akron, midfielders scored almost half of the team’s goals as the Zips found 40 of a total 94 goals (42.6%) from midfielder contributions. So it should come as no surprise to Crew fans that in Trapp’s first MLS start, a midfielder scored as winger Bernardo Anor netted his second tally in as many contests.
Trapp’s return to Columbus comes on the heels of U-20 World Cup experience in Turkey, where he started all three matches and captained the United States in the clash against France. While on international duty, Trapp has made a strong impression on U.S. Soccer, as he is the only U-20 men’s player to make an appearance in every match in 2013.
Time will tell how Trapp is utilized in Warzycha’s lineup, but Sunday was a strong demonstration as his debut in front of the Black & Gold fans earned the rookie “Barbasol Man of the Match” honors.
Crew broadcaster, Neil Sika, catches up with Black & Gold midfielders Kevan George and Ben Speas ahead of the matchup with the LA Galaxy.
U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team midfielder and Ohio native Wil Trapp talks about his early start with soccer, working his way into the Columbus Crew system and playing a significant role on Tab Ramos' U-20
squad in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
When mentioning Dominic Oduro to any Crew supporter, they usually think of two things – his blistering pace and his love of Papa John's pizza. Today, while his speed was not on display, Oduro managed to share a few slices of his favorite pizza with a group of appreciative supporters in front of Crew Stadium.
“I took off a half-day to come down here”, said Chris Welsh, who enjoyed a piece of pizza with his wife and fellow Columbus Crew season ticket holder, Heather. Oduro joined the couple shortly after they were seated, thanked them for their support and encouraged them to grab another slice.
Oduro, who is not shy about relating his fondness for Crew supporters and his own fans alike, remained humbled by the opportunity to give back after working a personal endorsement with the official pizza of the Crew and Crew Stadium.
“I appreciate the fact that some people are coming from work just to be here for a bite – that really makes me feel happy and proud,” said Oduro at the event, which previewed the special $11 Crew Pie – an extra-large pizza conveniently priced after Oduro’s jersey number – set to launch next week.
“I want to thank Papa John's for making this thing happen.”
Even though the turnout was impressive, as more than 150 slices were distributed in the lunch-hour event, Oduro insisted that he was happy with the idea of a low-key event, for the fans.
“I just want to show my appreciation, at the end of the day, to all of the fans out there. It doesn’t matter how many are in the crowd,” said the 27-year-old Ghanaian. “I’d be excited if just one person showed up.”
Complementing the pizza party, the Crew’s leading goal-scorer also made a personal donation to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank as the culinary-based event called for recognition of helping the less fortunate.
“I’m just trying to give back to the community – it’s just another way for me to try and carry it forward. Hopefully my donation to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank can help to feed a couple of people out there. My hope is that people will see what I’m doing and try to do the same.”