LEWIS CENTER, Ohio – The temperature in Chile was 60 degrees warmer than in Columbus, but Chilean defender Sebastián Miranda isn’t going to let frosty conditions and snow detour his goal of playing in MLS.
Miranda arrived in Columbus on Sunday and trained with his new team for the first time on Monday – indoors, of course, even though the city was experiencing a heat wave at 26 degrees.
“I am ready for [the cold weather]," he said through a translator. "I knew what to expect but it doesn’t affect how I play on the field.”
The Crew’s highest-profile offseason acquisition to date is expected to replace captain and US World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk at right back.
“[Miranda] can play right, left and even center,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “He is a good one-on-one defender. He’s not going forward that much but he picks his spots. I would say he has a good cross. When he goes forward, he delivers the ball where it’s supposed to be.”
Miranda, 30, was signed Dec. 30 after spending all but a few months of his career in Chile. He had a short stint at SV Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian First Division in 2005, but played the past three years with Unión Española of the Chilean first division.
“I was doing very well in Chile,” he said. “I was captain of my team but I decided to come to Columbus, which is a team that always fights for championships and is in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF. It’s a new and interesting challenge. You have to do things in your career to get better. You have dreams.”
The 5-foot-8, 154-pounder said he likes the speed in MLS.
“I am a player who never stops running, never gives up on any ball,” he said. “I hope to bring that here and show it on the field. I want to show my experience and help get to our objectives we set this year.”
Although he speaks little English, his transition should be smooth given his teammates from Venezuela and Peru, not to mention Argentine assistant coach Ricardo Iribarren.
“It’s so helpful there are other players who speak Spanish,” Miranda said. “It helps with knowing my teammates a lot faster. We can also bring those different experiences we’ve grown in the different countries and bring that experience here.”
Miranda has just over four weeks to prepare for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match against Real Salt Lake on Feb. 22, but Warzycha is not worried about his new right back.
“He’s played that position for a long, long time,” the Crew coach said. “He’s going to have to learn some habits of the players. For him to be effective and successful is not going to take that long. He has a lot of experience, so he’s going to be ready.”