The Maestro’s 62nd Cavatina

Federico Higuain - Durkin - 5.8.19 - LA Galaxy

It had been building up since his overture in 2012.

The Maestro’s 62nd Cavatina -

With a deft touch of his right foot, the Maestro unlocked a defense for the umpteenth time (or 580th-time if you go by Opta) since joining MLS, allowing Robinho to set up Gyasi Zardes to score the Crew’s opening goal of the night.

But after setting up yet another goal, it was back to conducting the Black & Gold attack for the Argentine playmaker. There was no time to rest on his laurels.

If you watched the helper, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was just one more run-of-the-mill assist in a long-list of helpers for Higuain. After all, the Maestro breaks lines with his passes about as often as an office worker sends an e-mail.

But when examining the Crew history books a little closer, one uncovers the fact that the assist on Saturday night  – Higuain’s 62nd  in regular-season action – was a unique moment in Black & Gold history, as it unearthed a milestone, making Higuain the Club’s all-time assist leader, surpassing a record held by Robert Warzycha for nearly two decades.

Additionally, the assist made the Argentine one of only three active players in MLS to register 62 or more assists in regular-season action, as well as one of only 24 players in League history to achieve this feat.

And yet, when asked about what it meant to him, Higuain responded that while he was honored to be the Club’s all-time assists leader, he was happier about what it meant to the team as a whole.

“I mean of course, it’s an honor, but I never go very deep in the stats, you know?” said Higuain. “I believe more in an idea of collective football. I really believe in the confidence that I have on my teammates, the confidence they give me to play football."

Pipa – as Higuain’s teammates affectionately call him – has never been someone to bask in the glow of personal glory. Already the only player in Crew SC history to have tallied at least 50 goals and 50 assists, perhaps the most remarkable thing about Federico is that he makes those around him play better.

“[Federico Higuaín] is incredible, he knows where all of his teammates are every time he gets the ball and I’m just thankful to be here for that huge accomplishment of his,” said Gyasi Zardes after the match. “I’m looking forward to more, more of his assists and goals."

In music, a cavatina is a short and usually simple melody performed for a soloist that is part of a larger piece. Likewise, Higuain views his goals and assists not as standalone moments that add to his place in Crew history, but rather as small efforts that contribute to the greater cause that is helping the team.

In addition to providing an assist, Higuain scored the game-winning goal for the Black & Gold against the LA Galaxy, putting away a ball played to him by scorer-turned-provider Zardes.

Without missing a beat, when he was questioned about the importance of scoring that goal, he made sure to underline that the goal was important not because he had scored it, but because it helped bring some “calmness to the team”.

“You come from, a bad last three weeks, you want some calm[ness], you know? So, scoring a second goal was very important for all of us, and much more the third one. So, I’m happy, very pleased,” shared Higuain.

Now in his eighth season with the Club, Higuain shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, he’s contributing as much as ever, something that does not go unnoticed by Head Coach Caleb Porter.

“He’s a really, really special player,” stated Porter. “I’ve said it and on top of that, he’s a really special guy. Great character. One of the best pros I have worked with. Top notch. Honest. Works hard, shows up every day and that’s pretty rare for a talent like him.”

With more than half of the 2019 regular season left, El Maestro will continue to conduct the Black & Gold attack. Make sure you watch. There are plenty of cavatinas yet to come.

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