MLS Newcomer of the Year Nominees: Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuaín
The Crew attack was bolstered in the second half of the 2012 season by the acquisitions of Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta and Argentine Federico Higuaín. Through the first half of the year, Columbus was averaging just one goal per game. Since the arrivals of Arrieta and Higuaín, the Crew's goals per game mark has increased to a 1.5 clip, with both players combining for a lethal 14 goals and 11 assists.
Joining the Black & Gold in mid-July, Arrieta has proven to be a pure finisher for Robert Warzycha's attack. In just 18 games, the Costa Rican striker has scored nine goals this season to tie Eddie Gaven for the team lead. In addition to Arrieta's prowess in front of net, the striker has chipped in four assists on the year.
The Crew added more firepower in mid-August after signing playmaker Federico Higuaín. In his first six MLS matches, the Argentine scored three goals and supplied six of his seven assists this to lead the Black & Gold to a 4-0-1 record in that span. The effort resulted in back-to-back MLS Player of the Week honors.
What others are saying about Arrieta and Higuaín:
"It cannot be emphasized enough that Federico is not the Columbus Crew’s third designated player because of his brother’s influence; he is a special player who has worked tirelessly to earn his reputation."
- Eric Beard, The New York Times
"No midseason additions completely changed the dynamic of a team like Higuain and Arrieta... While big-name acquisitions like Tim Cahill, Alessandro Nesta and Kenny Miller have taken time to acclimate to MLS, Arrieta and Higuain look like they have been playing together for years and immediately earned teammates' trust. " - Alecko Eskandarian, SI.Com
"The Crew badly needed some attacking difference-makers, and now they have two in Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta." - Ives Galarcep, FOXSoccer.com