Vargas, a 20-year-old attacking midfielder from Chile, has scored in two straight 1-0 wins for the Impact, who bounced back from losing their first two games with a win against rivals Toronto in their home opener and a road win in Seattle on Saturday.
With Montreal striker Matteo Mancosu injured, Vargas has connected up front on the right side with Ignacio Piatti, who set up both of his goals. For his part, Piatti and defender Victor Cabrera, both from Argentina, have helped the youngster settle into life in Montreal since he signed a one-year contract on Jan. 22 with an option for two and a half years.
“Yes, it’s not easy,” Piatti said. “He’s 20 years old and he arrived here and he doesn’t speak any English or French, so I was there behind him, Victor and I, for everything that he needs. To join the team and play three games and score two goals, that’s very important for his confidence, for that mentality, because he has to say, ‘I have to continue like that, to work.’ I’m happy for him that he has started like this, and it’s very good for us.”
Before scoring his second goal of the season in the 60th minute in Seattle, Vargas forced Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei to make a spectacular diving save on his curling free kick 16 minutes in. Impact manager Remi Garde noted that part of his game while reviewing video and researching him after he signed, saying it's a skill that they'll work to develop.
“I saw that he took a lot of free kicks, a lot of corners,” Garde said. “He was more successful with his corner kicks than his free kicks. I don’t think he has scored yet on a free kick as a professional, he’s hit the crossbar a couple of times. But I took note of his abilities and we started to work on that in training with our goalkeepers and [goalkeeping coach] Joel Bats. He has an aptitude for it so free kicks are something you have to work on.”
Vargas had one goal in 11 league games last season with Chilean club Universidad Catolica, where he was on loan from Italian side Bologna, who signed him in July 2016 and are owned by Impact owner Joey Saputo. Prior to that, Vargas scored nine goals in 24 appearances and helped Universidad Catolica to a Chilean Primera Division title.
Garde finds the newcomer's youth to be "refreshing."
“Jeisson is a young and enthusiastic player who loves to play,” Garde said. “He’s like a kid, which is refreshing, particularly in his case. And when I say he likes to play, I don’t just mean just play a game of football, he is a young player who is discovering the intricacies of the game. He doesn’t have many seasons under his belt so I think he has to work a lot because he’s a player who will feel even better if he is physically fit.
"He’s discovering a new way of life here so we have to be careful, he, myself and my staff, that he stays focused on the goal and what he is capable of doing.”