Columbus snap their cold spell in style with historic firsts

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After going two straight games without the scoring a goal, there were premonitions all around Columbus Crew camp this past week.

Francis Meram had a feeling his younger brother Justin (above) was going to score his first MLS goal.

Sebastián Miranda had scored regularly during his nearly 10 years playing professionally in his native Chile, but never using his head. He told teammate and countryman Milovan Mirosevic recently that his luck had to change.

HIGHLIGHTS: Columbus 2, FC Dallas 1

Turns out that those hunches were accurate. Both events happened as the Crew broke a five-game winless streak with a 2-1 win against FC Dallas on Saturday.

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Trailing but threatening after FCD’s Zach Loyd was sent off with a second yellow card in the 63rd minute when he elbowed Meram, the “victim” got revenge when he laced the ball from 35 yards in the 67th minute to tie the match.

It was his first career goal in his 19th game after being drafted out of the University of Michigan in 2011. The midfielder/forward was injured late in the preseason and fell down the depth chart despite numerous injuries on the roster.

Meram didn’t make his season debut until last weekend’s match at Portland, so a pick-me-up from his big bro was welcomed.

“My brother sent me a link today of my college goals,” Meram said. “He said, ‘Do what they drafted you to do. If you get a chance, take it. You’re going to get your chance today.’ He sent me the link. ... It was good.”

Miranda also got his first Crew goal in his 43rd match since joining the team last season. The Chilean defender snapped a long header off Nemanja Vukovic’s corner kick toward the goal from just outside the penalty area that even FC Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez called “unbelievable.”

OPTA Chalkboard: Momentum swings Crew's way after Loyd sent off

Besides that, it was the first time Miranda buried one using his head.

“We practices some plays, but maybe not like this,” he said of the set piece. “The idea was from the middle, outside the box. I was alone. I shot as hard as I could.”

As it turns out, he and his longtime friend Mirosevic had a discussion on goals.

“We were speaking about that two or three weeks ago,” Mirosevic said. “He told me, ‘I’ve never [gotten] one that way in my career still. I’m 31. It’s time to get one.’ I’m very happy for him, but most importantly, the team.”