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“Welcome change” for Columbus playmaker Federico Higuain

Federico Higuain

Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuain (33), of Argentina, receives a pass during an MLS soccer game against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Chester, Pa. The Crew won, 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)


There is a line in this morning’s New York Times feature on Columbus Crew playmaker Federico Higuain that describes his move to MLS as a “welcome change.”

Mark that line down as “brilliantly understated.”

Based on the story, too many of the fans in Higuain’s native Argentina are bat-s crazy.

The story begins with Higuain talking about the family-friendly atmosphere in MLS grounds, a stark contrast to some of the venues in his native Argentina, where fencing necessarily separates opposing fans.

And that’s the tame part of this story. Dig, if you will, this picture, as painted by Eric Beard in this morning’s piece in the Times.

Last May, the Colombian midfielder Giovanni Moreno of Racing Club – one of the Cinco Grandes (Big Five) teams in Argentina — was afraid to leave his apartment because he was held at gunpoint by his club’s fans after losing, 2-0, to Boca Juniors at home. Moreno said the hooligans threatened to “blow off” his leg unless his performances improved. Since that encounter, Moreno’s agent has flown him to the other side of the world, and he now plays alongside Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua.

Holy fanaticism, Batman!

Anyway, Higuain and his Columbus Crew travel east this weekend to face the Red Bulls in one of the feature matches on an MLS night brimming with them.

Higuain – and another summer transfer into Ohio, Jairo Arrieta, who would be getting more headlines if it weren’t for the wow-wow Argentine attacker gobbling up so many of them – running the offense on one side, with Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill shooting and scooting on the other side?

Yes, give me some of that.

Kickoff on that one tomorrow is 7 p.m. ET.