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Scouting Report: Columbus Crew

PUBLISHED

06:00 23rd July 2014


As we look ahead to Crystal Palace’s first match of their American tour, NBC Sports reporter Joe-Prince Wright gives cpfc.co.uk his expert opinion on the Columbus Crew. 

The Manager
Gregg Berhalter, the former Palace defender, spent most of his playing days in the Netherlands and Germany, with stops at Zwolle, 1860 Munich and Sparta Rotterdam to name a few. 

Following his retirement from the professional game in 2011, by which time he played for LA Galaxy, Berhalter cut his teeth as a manager at Hammarby in Sweden.

In doing so, he became the first ever American to manage a professional team in Europe, but he lasted only a year in the job. 

Berhalter is currently in his first season at the helm with Columbus.

The Captain
USA international defender Michael Parkhurst has taken the armband since returning to MLS from the Bundesliga. 

Parkhurst, 30, spent four years playing in the Danish league with Nordsjælland, then played for Augsburg – Palace’s pre-season opponents next month – for two seasons. 

A leader who can operate at right back or centre half, Parkhurst was named on the USA’s initial 30-man roster for the 2014 World Cup, but didn’t make Jurgen Klinsmann’s final squad. 

Star Man
Federico Higuain. Recognise the surname? Yep, that’s because he’s the brother of Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain. 

The Argentine playmaker has been a revelation in the MLS since joining the Crew in 2012. 

He possesses a mean free kick, plus the ability to carve open opposition defences with a clever pass. 

He’s scored some stunning goals this season and is a real fans favourite, not only in Columbus, but across the league. 

At the time of writing, Higuain has scored six goals and added five assists this term. 

Style of Play
Their team logo depicts three blokes in hardhats with their arms crossed – that tells you all you need to know. 

Over the years their motto as “the hardest working team in America” has been evident. 

However, with players like Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Higuain, they also have flair players who can change the game in an instant. 

Current Form/League Position
W 2-1 v Montreal Impact
L 2-1 v Sporting Kansas City
L 1-4 v New York Red Bulls
D 1-1 v Colorado Rapids
D 0-0 v FC Dallas
L 2-4 v Chicago Fire

6th in the MLS Eastern Conference

Follow Joe on Twitter: @JPW_NBCSports