Canadian Championship: Montreal Impact look to spread playing time across the roster

MONTREAL – Thus far, Marco Schällibaum has been up to the test of managing the Montreal Impact roster.

Truth be told, Montreal’s 4-1-1 start to the 2013 season hasn’t given him much reason to go berserk on his starting XI. Yet despite the fact that he has given starts to only 14 players, all but four outfield players in his current roster have played minutes this season.

And as a former player himself, Schällibaum sympathizes with the players he has seldom called upon.

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“It isn’t always easy for someone who doesn’t play,” Schällibaum told reporters on Thursday. “I’ve always said that I need everyone, but according to the rules, I can only play with 11 and substitute three.”

Truisms aside, Schällibaum has yet to determine his team for the Impact’s next outing, in the Amway Canadian Championship at Toronto FC on April 24. Changing the whole XI seems out of the question, but a number of those rarely seen players might get a chance.

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On Thursday, 11-v-11 drills looked nothing like starters vs. reserves. For Schällibaum, it appears that the forthcoming lineups will be about striking the right balance.

“We’re going to mix things up a bit since we play on Wednesday, then on Saturday, and so forth,” Schällibaum said. “We have to find the right combination in order to be competitive. And we also have to find some rest in order to be ready.”

Added perennial starter Patrice Bernier: “With many games coming up, everyone will get a chance to prove their worth, and the team will get a chance to show that we have a roster that can hold strong until the end of the season. If it all leads to a Champions League spot, we’ll have a team that can fight on both fronts.”