Mirosevic set for Columbus debut in home opener

Milo making his debut in front of the home crowd

OBETZ, Ohio – It’s a measure of Milovan Mirosevic’s reason for coming to America that even on the topic of the unusually hot March weather in Columbus, he’s still focused on the Crew.

“It’s nice,” he told MLSsoccer.com this week, before quickly addressing the matter at hand. “We just need to win.”

In other words, spending time outside with his wife and child who recently arrived from his native Chile will be more enjoyable if the Crew can erase the memory of a season-opening loss in Colorado with a victory at home Saturday vs. Montreal (4 pm ET, WATCH LIVE ONLINE).

The game marks the first official appearance for the Crew’s most notable offseason acquisition, although he dazzled the smattering of fans in Crew Stadium last Saturday by scoring two goals in an exhibition win against Michigan State.

“Hopefully we can give them a nice game so they continue to follow us more and more at the stadium,” he said.

The Crew will rely heavily this season on the 31-year-old Mirosevic, as he is expected to provide the field leadership and playmaking that has been lacking since the departure of Guillermo Barros Schelotto after the 2010 season.

“As soon as he came, he talked to every single guy and tried to see how we already played so he can understand how the team plays,” midfielder Bernardo Anor said of Mirosevic. “He also helps you to position yourself better to help move off the ball, with the ball. He manages the middle of the field. That’s good. That’s something we need to take us to a better result.”

Getting the man they call “Milo” more involved will be one of the keys to the Crew’s success, because he’s an attacking threat and helps keep possession helps defensively.

Mirosevic feels everything will come together soon and the team will be able to relax.

“We just need to win,” Mirosevic said, “and to start breathing normally again.”

Anor and Ethan Finlay, meanwhile, are the top candidates to replace injured midielder Dilly Duka (ankle) against the Impact, while incumbent goalkeeper William Hesmer has recovered from an ankle sprain and may supplant Andy Gruenebaum.

There’s also a chance Olman Vargas could pair with Emilio Rentería up top against the Impact, potentially forcing Tony Tchani to the bench. Rentería alone up top proved ineffective against the Rapids in the Columbus’ season opener, and head coach Robert Warzycha is pleased with Vargas’ progress this season.