MONTREAL – No one has made an impact off the bench for Montreal this season quite like Sanna Nyassi. This Saturday, though, for the first time in two months, he will likely get the chance to make one right from the start.
Nyassi will, in all likelihood, be given the nod on the left side of Montreal’s midfield on Saturday as the Impact travel to Toyota Park to face the Chicago Fire (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). It will be a first start in seven games for the Gambian international, who nonetheless scored twice and registered an assist in the 134 minutes he played off the bench in the meantime.
Having a hand in a goal every 44.6 minutes is a decent run of form for any player, and Nyassi is fairly pleased with his recent performances. Despite this, getting back to the starting XI feels like a bit of a relief.
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“Sometimes, the coaches come up with different ideas, different tactics, so they’d rather put me on the bench and I’d come off the bench, helping the team,” Nyassi told MLSsoccer.com on Friday morning. “But it’s been pretty good, the last couple of games coming off the bench. I’m looking forward to this start.”
So is Jesse Marsch, whether talking about Nyassi specifically or his whole starting lineup. Every game feels like a make-or-break situation for the Impact these days, and getting a result in Chicago against the Fire is an important objective, to say the least.
Using pace to force the opposition to keep a deep defensive line could be a key tactical battle for Montreal, and Sanna Nyassi can certainly bring that quality to the game, Marsch feels.
“And when they do sit deep, in one-on-one situations, you know that he’s good at creating a little bit of space for himself,” Marsch said. “That can open up space for Marco [Di Vaio], Felipe and others. I think it’ll be good to have him on from the start.”
On the bench where Nyassi has been sitting, meanwhile, Marsch should be able to count on a variety of attacking and defensive options. With the international break giving the Impact an opportunity to heal a number of wounds, the past week of training figures among the most productive yet this season.
“The two-week break really helped us,” Nyassi said. “We’ve been doing a lot of fitness, and I think that every guy, right now, is at his best. It's all about being consistent. During games or at practice, you make sure that you stay sharp, and when they call on you, you’re ready to deliver.”