MONTREAL – Alessandro Nesta wasn’t going to throw in the towel on the Stade Saputo opener.
An adductor muscle injury kept him out of the Impact’s last two games altogether, but the Italian veteran will be available for selection on Sunday afternoon as the Columbus Crew pay the Montreal Impact a visit at what should be a chilly, but noisy Stade Saputo (noon ET, TSN2/RDS2 in Canada, MLS Live in USA).
This week has been a productive one, preparation-wise, for the 37-year-old Nesta. The sharp turns and the unshakeable confidence are back, supporting the player’s assessment that he feels “100 percent.”
“I think that I’ll be ready tomorrow,” Nesta told reporters on Friday afternoon. “After two weeks' rest, I feel very good.”
Nesta had sustained the injury on the Olympic Stadium turf, in the early goings of the Impact’s home opener against Toronto FC on March 16. Yet there had been no blatant warning signals in the previous two matches at Seattle and Portland, also played on an artificial surface.
The 2006 World Cup winner now recognizes, having previously dismissing the issue, that he can hardly withstand playing on turf regularly.
“Turf is not good for my body,” Nesta admitted. “I’m older. My knees are not perfect, and sometimes I get injured. But there’s no problem. I’m ready now.”
The knock means that Nesta has only played 12 minutes this season at home, where the Impact wish they could keep hold of the ball better, with playing the ball out of the back effectively being key to that goal. Assistant coach Mauro Biello, who will take the place of suspended head coach Marco Schällibaum in the technical area this weekend, is hopeful that Nesta can be key in achieving that
“He organizes our defense well and he’s very comfortable with getting the ball out of our area with his feet,” Biello explained. “With his experience, the players feel even more confident when he's there. He doesn’t panic with the ball. He always finds the midfield with the right pass.”