Crew: Leandre Griffit
First impressions don't come much better than the one Leandre Griffit made Saturday.
The French midfielder wasted no time introducing himself at Crew Stadium, where he scored in the 90th minute to cap off a 3-0 win against Houston just two minutes after entering the match. No player in Crew history has scored more quickly in their league debut.
"When you come in, you have, like, five minutes," Griffit said. "You have to do something special."
If Griffit seemed to burst out of nowhere with Saturday's strike, it was actually the culmination of much patience by the 26-year-old. After playing in the English Premier League with Southampton and competing in the UEFA Champions League with Swedish club IF Elfsborg, he figured he would crack the Crew's starting lineup in no time.
Instead, Coach Robert Warzycha made him wait, a decision Griffit now appreciates because his first few months in the States required some adjustments.
"The food was different for me. The weather it was hard for me to breathe," Griffit said.
He suffered some humorous bits of cultural confusion, too. During his first week in the country, when a friend invited him to the bar to watch the NCAA men's basketball tournament's Sweet 16, Griffit was puzzled, thinking his friend meant the MTV reality show "My Super Sweet 16."
Although he grew up in Paris and spent time living in London, Griffit has been impressed with life in Columbus.
"Every weekend when you go Downtown, something's going on," he said.
Now that he's got his bearings in this country and has shown he can make the most of opportunities on the pitch, Griffit is hoping to see more playing time. He spent time as a left winger on previous clubs, but he prefers the central attacking midfield role.
"I like to score goals," Griffit said.
If he keeps up his current pace, Griffit will be scoring a lot of them.
Leandre Griffit's favorite things
Musician: Lil Wayne
Movies: "Wedding Crashers" and "Training Day"
Athlete: LeBron James
Columbus Crew at Chivas U.S.A.
10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 31