However jetlagged the Montreal Impact players feel on Thursday, it will all go away for at least 90 minutes as they play the first of two games against Italian Serie A opposition, beginning with a match against Bologna FC at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
It will certainly be a special day for forward Marco Di Vaio, who will reunite with the Rossoblù faithful he left six months ago after a four-season spell. It will also be quite a unique day for interim head coach Mauro Biello (above).
The 40-year-old put some extra pressure on his own shoulders during a media conference call on Wednesday, as he made his interest in the Impact's head coaching job public. This tour of Italy, Biello said, is an audition for him ahead of the 2013 season.
“They asked me to be interim coach for this trip and going forward,” Biello said. “For me, obviously, I’ll be under evaluation. I’ll try to work as hard as I can, organize this team the best I can and show what my qualities are. Hopefully it’ll help me and put me into consideration to become the head coach of this team.”
Luckily for Biello, the preparation for his first game in charge was made somewhat easier by Di Vaio’s input. The staff analyzed Bologna’s last three games, but the former Italy international came up with some useful information.
“They played in a certain way then, but Marco told me that they might play in a different way tomorrow,” Biello explained. “The players need to be organized from the start. They will have to work hard as a defensive block.”
Di Vaio “surprised” by Marsch’s no-comment
By their own accounts, the Montreal players were caught by surprise when Jesse Marsch’s departure from the Montreal camp was announced. Di Vaio was among that group, and the Impact striker expressed another kind of surprise when he was asked on Wednesday to comment on his former coach’s refusal to discuss his relationship with the Italian contingent in the squad.
“Even up to a week earlier, we were talking about strategies, coaching, stuff like that,” Di Vaio said in his native Italian through an interpreter. “I came here to do a job, which is to score goals and help the team win. We didn’t make the playoffs this year, so our job is to make them next year. I was surprised a little bit, but I don't know why he didn't comment.
“We have a job to do and we worry about our own. The whole situation with Jesse happened more on the management side.”