Gyasi Zardes buried the 94th minute spot kick to secure all three points for the home side, cementing his brace in his home debut. Federico Higuain scored his 50th career regular-season goal in Major League Soccer to open days’ scoring, also from the spot, before Zardes added Crew SC’s second before half time.
In just the 12th minute, Higuain stood poised to make individual history. Following a corner kick that saw Lalas Abubakar fouled inside the 6-yard box, the Argentine midfielder faced Montreal’s Evan Bush from 12 yards away. He pocketed the dinked ball into the back of the net for his 50th career regular-season goal — the 32-year-old is now just one assist away from joining MLS’s elite 50-goals/50-assists club.
He’d be the 19th player to join the exclusive attacking club, following reigning MLS MVP Diego Valeri on August 12, 2017. Saturday’s contest was Higuaín’s 151st regular-season MLS match. Columbus legends Jeff Cunningham and Brian McBride are already on the list.
For the second time in as many weeks, Zardes followed a Higuain goal with one of his own. In the 15th minute, the Black & Gold’s newest frontman found the ball at his feet just inches from the line. He tapped in the Pedro Santos free kick that was deflected off the crossbar for his second goal of the season in his second goal since Crew SC in the offseason.
Zardes’ most impactful touch of the ball was also his last. Deep into the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, 2018 MLS SuperDraft selection Luis Argudo surged into the Montreal 18-yard box before seeing his run dismantled by Impact rookie Ken Krolicki. Zardes stepped up for the Club’s second spot kick, 82 minutes after the first, and burst his blast into the top corner of the net.
Columbus travels to face the Philadelphia Union in another Eastern Conference showdown on March 17 at 2 p.m. ET before returning to MAPFRE Stadium on March 24 clash against D.C. United at 6 p.m. ET.