MONTREAL – An early playoff exit against the Houston Dynamo and, on top of that, a three-game ban. For five months, Marco Di Vaio has been away from competitive action, and it’s been eating at him.
This Saturday, at last, Di Vaio – as well as midfielder Andrés Romero, his co-culprit in last year’s dust-up in Houston – will be available for selection Saturday in Philadelphia against the Union (4 pm ET; MLS Live), a team Di Vaio has scored four goals against in as many games.
After Di Vaio’s 20-goal season, the Impact’s 0-3-0 start may have made his suspension seem longer than it actually was. But after the Montreal's closed-door training session on Thursday, the Italian forward pleaded for patience.
“I read that everyone is waiting for me and Romero to come back and grab points, but for me, that’s not how it works,” Di Vaio told reporters. “Two players aren't going to change things. We've worked a lot, we've worked really well, and the team played some good games – less so against the last [opponent, the Seattle Sounders, a 2-0 loss], but for me, it’s not [a matter of] one or two players.”
Calm as ever, Di Vaio said he felt no extra pressure to score, as he hinted at a belief that his job should be judged less on the stats and more on the process.
“It’s the same thing,” Di Vaio said. “Last year, we won the first two games. I didn’t score. It’s the same thing. I have to try and do my job and score. I don’t know how many, but I have to try to score and be dangerous like Andrew [Wenger] successfully did in the games he played.”
It can only help Montreal overcome the setbacks they’ve suffered in March. But more than goals, head coach Frank Klopas believes that the attitude of the players – which he’s already encouraged by – can overcome setbacks.
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And if a five-month break showcases anything, it’s attitude.
“I think that, if you ask him, it doesn’t matter; goals are only important to him if he helps the team win,” Klopas told reporters earlier this week. “But, for sure, he’s a quality player that’s going to add a lot to our group. And it’s good to have him because the mentality he has, his work rate, I mean, you can see in training that he’s a competitive guy that never wants to lose, and I think that kind of [spreads among] everyone.”