Ahead of Montreal Impact's home opener, injury concerns stack up in midfield
MONTREAL – For once, it’s not the Montreal Impact defense that has the supporters chewing their nails during the week.
Injury and uncertainty made for countless back fours in 2012, but now it looks like it's the wide midfield spots that'll take their turn being unsettled ahead of Montreal's Rivalry Week clash at the Olympic Stadium between Toronto FC (4 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS LIVE in USA).
Left midfielder Justin Mapp, who departed early from the Impact’s 1-0 win in Seattle two weeks ago with a calf knock and has been training on the sidelines, was joined there by Andrea Pisanu earlier this week. The Italian has since rejoined the main group, but head coach Marco Schällibaum has yet to make a final decision in his case.
“We could see today that it went well for him,” the Swiss coach told reporters on Friday. ”I think I can count on him for tomorrow, but we’ll still talk after training. If he’s not 100 percent ready, then he has to be at least 90 percent ready. But from what I’ve seen before, he’s ready to play.”
Montreal fans will hope that he is indeed ready, as they have yet to see him live. Montreal were in Florida for their preseason games and began the MLS season on the road.
They have also not had the opportunity to get acquainted with Andrés Romero. The Argentinian made quite a splash in his debut last week in Portland, delivering an assist for Felipe’s game-winning goal with his very first touch of the ball after coming off the bench. The usual introductions could happen this Saturday.
“There’s a good chance [Romero might start],” Schällibaum said earlier this week. “I liked what I saw. With him, my goal was always the first home game. He’s not fully fit yet, so it’s best that his first game happen here.”