Higuaín was signed from Colón in Argentina as the Crew’s third Designated Player back in July. He made his debut in Houston on August 22nd, coming on as a substitute and picking up an assist as he helped the Crew to a 2-2 tie.
In the next four games, Higuaín scored three goals and dished out five assists, earning him back-to-back MLS Player of the Week honors. Higuaín lead the team to a 4-0-1 record during that span, greatly increasing their odds of making the playoffs. A minor toe injury derailed both his momentum and the team’s, but the little magician still ended the year with five goals and a team-high seven assists in only thirteen games.
Playing as a withdrawn forward, fans were quick to compare Higuaín to Guillermo Barros Schelotto, another short Argentinian playmaker who played for Columbus. The comparison does not come without immense pressure to perform, as Schelotto is often revered as the club’s best ever player. Higuaín’s gorgeous set pieces and creative play are incredibly reminiscent of Schelotto, and, even better, Higuaín is only 28 years old. Combined with fellow 2012 addition and 29-year-old forward Jairo Arrieta and the ever-consistent, 26-year-old midfielder Eddie Gaven, the Crew’s attack is hopefully set for years to come.
The Newcomer of the Year was voted on by the clubs, media, and players. Higuaín earned over thirty percent of the vote from the media, far more than anyone else. However, San Jose’s Honduran defender Víctor Bernárdez and Vancouver’s South Korean fullback Lee Young-Pyo earned a higher percentage of the players’ votes. The three categories were added up for a weighted total, in which Higuaín beat Bernardez by a little over seven points. The complete chart for the votes which decided the winner can be found here.