MONTREAL – A day after Montreal Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum expressed cautious optimism about the status of the injured Alessandro Nesta and Hernán Bernardello, assistant coach Mauro Biello quieted comeback talks on Tuesday.
Both players trained with their teammates on Tuesday – a first in more than a month in Bernardello’s case – but they could still skip Friday’s game in Houston (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live) and focus on a return against the New England Revolution at home on Oct. 12.
Nesta missed last weekend’s trip to Chicago with an adductor injury, which has been a recurring problem for the Italian defender this season. Bernardello, for his part, has been out since Aug. 31 with an ankle sprain after several encouraging displays in MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League following the midfielder’s late-July acquisition.
“We don’t want to take any chances in both cases because, in the end, a setback could hurt us all the way to the end of the season,” Biello told reporters on Tuesday. “We want to play it safe with these two important players.”
Asked whether Nesta would make the trip to Houston, Biello wouldn’t give a definitive answer.
“We’re going to discuss it, but it’s leaning a bit more towards a no,” he said.
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Another opportunity could thus spring up for 23-year-old center back Wandrille Lefèvre, who made his first MLS start last Saturday in Chicago. Lefèvre’s play greatly satisfied Schällibaum, who deemed it a “confirmation” of his good showing earlier that week in a 2-0 win against CD Heredia in the CCL.
“Without Alessandro, we were a bit short in the middle of defense, but Wandrille has, from the start, made a lot of progress,” Schällibaum said on Monday. “He’s very solid mentally. His defensive play is tidy. He restarts the play. It’s good. I’m happy for him. He’s with us often [in the 18] but he hasn’t played a lot.”