COLUMBUS, Ohio – Don’t start comparing Milovan Mirosevic to a certain former Crew playmaker from South America just yet.
In the wake of Columbus announcing the signing of Mirosevic on Wednesday, coach Robert Warzycha warned it's premature to measure the Chilean against former Crew great Guillermo Barros Schelotto, even though the two play similarly. A better comparison would be current Crew defender and fellow Chilean Sebastián Miranda.
Miranda came to Columbus last season and immediately established himself as a leader and dependable player, starting every regular season and playoff match. The Crew also relied on him in signing Mirosevic, as the players were teammates at Universidad Católica in the Chilean first division.
“Sebastián knows [Mirosevic] well, and what we heard from everybody is he’s as professional as Sebastián,” Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday following the acquisition of the 31-year-old attacker. “He’s very serious about what he is doing. He’s a leader. He brings experience that we need.”
Mirosevic served as captain of Universidad Católica and scored 46 goals in 108 games over the past three seasons, including a league-best 19 goals in 2010. He also has 25 caps for the Chilean national team, with two coming in World Cup qualifiers in November.
“He can be a midfielder or he can be behind a forward because he is a very good finisher,” Warzycha said. “Not only is he a set-up guy, he can score the goals.”
That sounds a lot like what Schelotto did during his four seasons in Columbus before the Crew opted not to bring him back for the 2011 season.
Schelotto, of course, was the league and MLS Cup MVP in 2008 when he had 19 assists, leading the Crew to their only league championship in team history. In his final two seasons, he had 12 and nine goals, respectively.
“[Mirosevic] is going to be one of the most dangerous guys in the box, whether it’s a corner kick or a free kick,” Warzchya said, “but I don’t want to compare him to Guillermo or anybody else in the league.”
What he is hoping for, though, is that Mirosevic will find a way to fit in as quickly as Miranda. Mirosevic already speaks English; Miranda had a basic knowledge when he arrived in February 2011 but four months later was able to conduct interviews in his second language.
“It didn’t take Sebastián any time to jell with the team and basically adjust to everything, and we hope it will be the same for Mirosevic,” Warzycha said.
The club pursued Mirosevic last season but did not have the funds to complete a deal. When the contract of Designated Player Andrés Mendoza was not renewed, the Crew showed further interest.
Mirosevic will not be a DP and Warzycha said several other players are being targeted for that slot.