COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Crew’s high profile offseason signees Milovan Mirosevic and Olman Vargas scored against short-handed Montreal for a 2-0 win over the expansion Impact in the club's home opener at Crew Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mirosevic made it 1-0 on a penalty kick in the 30th before Vargas, a Costa Rican striker making his first start, snapped a header off a Shaun Francis cross from the left flank in the 66th minute to seal the result.
Columbus leveled their record at 1-1-0, recovering from a 2-0 loss at Colorado on March 10.
The Impact, 0-2-1 with one goal scored, suffered a blow when defender Jeb Brovsky was issued a red card in the 19th minute for an elbow to the back of the head of Mirosevic.
An eventful first-half left the Impact upset and down a goal after Mirosevic converted the PK for his first Crew score in the Chilean’s second game.
Columbus forward Emilio Rentería drew the call with a bull rush on the right side of the box that resulted in a scissors tackle by Felipe Martins in the box. Mirosevic stepped up to drill the ball to the upper left corner with authority.
Ten minutes later, the Crew nearly doubled their lead when Eddie Gaven’s boot from 30 yards forced Montreal netminder Donovan Ricketts to make a save.
Then, it was the Impact’s turn as Justin Mapp plastered the crossbar from 35 yards a minute later.
It would have been a massive lift if the Impact could have brokered a draw at the break after playing down a man from the 19th minute. Until that point Montreal was in better form as Mapp effectively worked the left flank against Crew defender Sebastián Miranda.
In the 16th minute, Sanna Nyassi headed a Mapp service that Andy Gruenebaum punched away with both hands but Nyassi got the rebound only to be denied a second time by Andy Gruenebaum. The Columbus goalkeeper made six saves, including one on Martins in the 87th minute.
Impact manager Jesse Marsch made two halftime changes: Collen Warner came in for Patrice Bernier in a midfield exchange and a forward swap involved Bernardo Corradi replacing Nyassi.
The moves nearly paid immediate dividends when Justin Braun targeted the goal, but Gruenebaum made another fine stop in the 50th minute.
Both teams are on the road on March 31: Montreal play New York and Columbus face Toronto FC.