MONTREAL – Bernardo Corradi will be available to play for the Impact on Saturday – the arrival of his International Transfer Certificate guarantees that much.
The question now is whether or not Jesse Marsch will be quick to throw the 35-year-old Italian into the Fire, literally, when Montreal open their home slate against Chicago (2 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in US).
Asked if he had made a decision about Corradi’s place on Saturday’s gameday roster on Friday, Marsch didn’t waver. What he didn’t do, however, was spill the beans to the pack of reporters that had gathered around him on the Olympic Stadium pitch.
“Yes, I have,” Marsch said, pausing before delivering a punch line that elicited scattered laughter. “You’ll find out tomorrow.”
Corradi stayed mum as well, although he looked sharp playing with the second team in a small-sided game during the Impact’s final training session before they play their first home game in front of a crowd that could reach 60,000 depending on late ticket sales.
“I don’t know [what role I will play],” the Italian striker told MLSsoccer.com. “I just know that I’m able, so anything that Jesse asks me to do, I will do for the squad and for my teammates.”
According to Marsch, what he can do should he find his way onto the field is hold up the ball and slow the game down for a group of players that are still coming to grips with each other after an offseason of roster building. And, of course, Corradi can put the ball in the back of the net, something that would a blessing for a Montreal side that failed to score against Vancouver last weekend.
At this point, the biggest roadblock to Corradi’s inclusion in Montreal’s 18-man roster – other than his fitness – seems to be his lack of high-level games in the recent past. His last game with his previous club, Udinese, came in May 2011, which March said is something he’ll have to consider.
“That’s a variable in the decision,” Marsch said. “But with all of his experience, I think he’s shown that even for a 35-year-old – almost 36-year-old – guy who hasn’t played much, that he’s still got a lot of fitness to him. He’s still pretty sharp. I know he’s going to continue to get better as time goes on.
“There are a lot of little factors – how it balances out what our other options are with our team and making sure that we feel like were going to get 11 and then 18 guys that are going to give us the best chance to win.”
If Corradi does make an appearance on Saturday, it will almost certainly be as a substitute – the result of his lack of game fitness and an established forward pairing in Sanna Nyassi and Justin Braun, who partnered up top with the first team on Friday.
But no matter how the chips fall, Corradi said he just wants to contribute to the Impact in any way he can and – hopefully – stick around Montreal long enough to extend the short-term deal he signed with the club this week.
“I just want to help the squad and put myself in a position to stay a little bit longer than the three months that I signed with [the Impact],” he said.