A new season brings new players, and with the influx comes a period of fan familiarization. Who are these guys? Where do they fit in? How long ’til we separate the Silvio Rudmans from the Guillermo Barros Schelottos? In the home opener, new acquisitions are walking question marks.
On Saturday, Olman Vargas made himself known.
In case the Costa Rican’s thunderous header — the one that careened past Montreal Impact goalie Donovan Ricketts for Vargas’ first career MLS goal, the one that doubled as the Impact’s death blow in a 2-0 Crew victory — wasn’t enough, Vargas made a break for the Nordecke, turned around and showed off his nameplate before getting mobbed by teammates.
“The idea was for everybody to know my name,” Vargas said through a translator. “It wasn’t disrespectful. Being the first game at home, being the new guy, I wanted to make sure they knew my name.”
Vargas, 26, had history with the Crew that only the most meticulous super-fan would recall without the help of a press release. In 2009, Columbus defeated his team, the storied Costa Rican club Saprissa, 1-0 in Champions League play. Vargas came off the bench and just missed an equalizer in that game, the first victory by an MLS club at Saprissa’s famous “Monster’s Cave” stadium. He said the match put the Crew on his radar, but it didn’t influence his decision to sign with Columbus three years later.
“That was a long time ago,” Vargas said.
He’s still acclimating to the more physical, less finesse-oriented style of play in MLS, but Vargas felt right at home burying Shaun Francis’ towering cross.
“It was a great play,” Vargas said. “We played out of the back. We connected a lot of passes, simple passes. It was a great cross by Frano.”
Seems he’s amiable to spreading the credit around after all.