Temporary grass field in New England eliminates one potential headache for Montreal Impact

Alessandro Nesta vs Seattle

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USA Today sports

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact approach this Sunday’s match in New England (7:30 pm ET; MLS Live) with a few worries, but they did dodge something of a bullet this week.

He struggled to complete last Saturday’s 0-0 draw in Philadelphia with an apparent adductor injury, but center back Alessandro Nesta will indeed be available for selection against the Revolution. The Italian defender, who’s had three straight superb outings, has trained comfortably this week and looks physically geared up for another shift, all the more so given that he will be avoiding the usual Gillette Stadium turf.

Next Tuesday’s friendly between Brazil and Portugal required the installation of natural grass in Foxborough, and the Impact couldn't be happier.

“A week’s rest allows Nesta to play on turf, but in his case, it remains a somewhat risky prospect,” head coach Marco Schällibaum told reporters on Thursday. “I’m glad we have this natural grass.”

Schällibaum’s real puzzle lies higher on the field. Andrés Romero started the last three games on the left side of Montreal’s formation, but he is currently in Argentina, getting acquainted with his newborn twins. Romero is expected back in Québec next week.

In his absence, the likes of Andrea Pisanu and Sanna Nyassi have enjoyed tryouts on the left flank during the week in different setups.

“It’s always important to have a good mix of players. I tried four formulas, I put two aside. There are two possibilities for Sunday. But I can’t tell you what they are,” Schällibaum said with a giggle.

Schällibaum is also leaving options open in the middle of the park, where Collen Warner or Davy Arnaud could be called upon instead of the injured Hernan Bernardello.

But no matter what Schällibaum decides will best neutralize a Revolution front five he is quite wary of, the 0-0 tie against the Union has boosted morale going into a second straight game away from home. The players also know, however, that the Revolution’s 5-1 win against that same Union team has given Jay Heaps’ side a great deal of confidence.

“Going on the road, you have to weather a little bit of a storm, because you know that teams are going to come out flying, and you have to be solid defensively,” team captain Arnaud said. “It’s not a game where you’re going to maybe score three, four or five goals like we did at home.

"We have to be solid defensively and maybe steal a goal with a chance, or a half-chance, or something off a set piece. There’s nothing wrong with winning games 1-0 on the road.”