The Columbus Crew celebrated team legend Federico Higuain before its match against Nashville on April 2. Inter Miami CF fans know "Pipa" as Heron designated player Gonzalo Higuain's brother and a first-year assistant coach with MLS NEXT Pro's Inter Miami CF II, but Crew faithful remember him as "the Maestro," a masterful playmaker and scorer. A number of current and former goalkeepers will remember him for his "Pipa chip" goals arcing gracefully over their outstretched arms and into the net.
Although he rarely had opportunities to display his creativity in Miami, it defines his legacy.
“Pipa is an artist, a romantic poet driven by language and expression. That carries over to the way he wants the game of soccer to be played,” former Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter was quoted in The Columbus Post Dispatch as saying of Higuain. Berhalter managed the Argentine star in Columbus before taking his current job as coach of the U.S. Men's National Team.
He played eight years in Columbus, directing the Crew's attack in 193 matches between 2012 and 2019. He holds the club's all-time record for assists (63) and is third in regular-season goals (55). After brief stints at D.C. United and Inter Miami CF, Higuain ended his playing career at the end of last season. On Saturday, April 2, he signed a one-day contract with the Black & Gold in order to retire as a member of the Crew.
The Crew won more than 100 matches during Higuain's tenure and qualified for the Major League Soccer playoffs in four of his eight seasons, including runners-up in the MLS Cup in 2015.
Higuain, the 2012 MLS Newcomer of the Year, also played in MLS at D.C. United and Inter Miami CF. He scored 3 goals and assisted on four others in 2021 after joining the team late in the 2020 season. Pipa appeared in just 29 matches for the Pink & Black. He also scored 31 goals in 75 caps with the Argentina national team.