MONTREAL – A return to Italy did Marco Di Vaio a world of good, but he’s now focused on his work again.
The Montreal Impact striker recognized on Thursday morning that he felt “more peaceful” having travelled back to his homeland last week to address a family issue. Di Vaio has been training normally again since Tuesday.
Humble as ever, Di Vaio seemed slightly embarrassed when told of the nice words his teammates have had for him this past week. Several of his colleagues confessed to having missed playing with him and sharing his company.
“I’d rather the team won without me,” Di Vaio told reporters. “But I know that the team did play very well on Saturday. It was a great match against a great team.”
Montreal’s defensive effort was commendable indeed in the 0-0 draw against an FC Dallas side which admittedly sat back to a degree. They will need more of the same this Saturday against East-leading Sporting Kansas City (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live), who haven’t lost since the Impact’s valiant outing in a 2-1 win at Sporting Park.
“It’s great timing,” assistant coach Mauro Biello said of Di Vaio’s return. “He’s our key player, the one who scored the most goals for us. Considering our current stretch without many goals, it's good to see him back.”
But will Di Vaio link up with Daniele Paponi in attack or step in for his compatriot, who played alone up front last Saturday?
The presence of a strike partner has gotten the better statistical return out of Di Vaio, who has scored seven goals in 10 games playing 4-4-2, but "only" four goals in eight outings as a lone central forward.
Yet Montreal have picked up half of their 32-point tally with the latter system.
“It’s a matter of mentality,” Di Vaio said of the lone striker system. “You can also play three up front, but if you're thinking defensively, the other team has it easier.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com.