Crew look to open 2012 home campaign with three points
The Crew didn't start off the 2012 season in Colorado on March 10 like it had hoped. The Black & Gold only managed five shots in ninety minutes in the 2-0 defeat to the Rapids.
Columbus had a bye week to regroup with exhibitions against college teams and now has a chance to record its first points of 2012 with a home showdown against the expansion Montreal Impact.
A key cog in getting the Crew attack going will be offseason signing Milovan Mirosevic. The Chilean attacking midfielder will be counted on to not only create chances, but to also score goals. Mirosevic had two of the five shots against Colorado and recorded two goals in last Saturday's 5-1 victory over Michigan State.
"(Mirosevic) is a very smart player," Warzycha said after Thursday's training session at Crew Stadium. "He usually has a very good sense of where the ball has to go and the weight of the pass."
The Crew's Number 10 will look to challenge a Montreal back line that is still in the process of meshing.
"We have to pressure them a lot," Mirosevic said. "We have to make them understand that they are playing away, that they are playing in our house."
Home field advantage is something the Crew hasn't had in a while. Going back to last season, the Crew has played its last four MLS games on the road, including a Wild Card playoff loss in Colorado. A welcome return to Crew Stadium may be just what the team needs.
"We had a good record at home last year and many years before," Warzycha said. "Playing at home in front of the fans for the opening game, I think we'll have the energy to overcome whatever (the Impact) throws at us."
Last week, it was Montreal that experienced the power of homefield advantage as the Impact drew the Chicago Fire 1-1 in front of a record-breaking 58,912 fans at Olympic Stadium. Jesse Marsch's team will be riding the confidence from that draw into Columbus on Saturday.
"It will be a hard game, but we have confidence in our team," said Crew defender Sebastián Miranda. "It's time to show that."
VUKOVIC ARRIVES IN COLUMBUS
New signing Nemanja Vukovic was at Crew Stadium Thursday for his first training session as an official member of the Crew. Vukovic spent time as a trialist with the club in Columbus and Charleston, SC, impressing the Crew front office. The Montenegrin defender will create competition with Shaun Francis and Carlos Mendes for the left back position.
"I am very happy to be in Columbus," Vukovic said after training. "This is a very good team and I hope I can help this team to be better this season."
With Vukovic's ability to attack out of the back, head coach Robert Warzycha is happy to have another weapon in his arsenal.
"(Vukovic) is a pretty good passer," Warzycha said of the new acquisition. "He is a dead ball specialist. He can hit the ball from corners and free kicks. He is going to add some very good service to what we have already."