MONTREAL – On the very day that the MLS Secondary Registration Window opens, the Montreal Impact will give Designated Player Marco Di Vaio his first start.
And the timing couldn't be better, as archrivals Toronto FC are in town for a Wednesday night clash at Stade Saputo (7:30 pm ET; TSN, RDS in Canada; MLS Live in the US).
Ahead of his MLS debut, Di Vaio (above, center) has been studying his first opponent, who knocked the Impact out of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals in their last meeting. Based on video sessions and on a recently televised TFC game, Di Vaio is expecting a physical team on the Stade Saputo grass but reckons the Impact will respond.
“They’ll be a tough team, it won’t be easy,” a serene Di Vaio told reporters on Tuesday. “But we’re playing at home so we have to play a good, physical game and go for the win.”
Head coach Jesse Marsch, who in his playing days was known for his physical approach, agrees with his new star signing.
“They’re going to make it their business to make it hard on him, for sure, just like any good player,” Marsch said, “but I still think that the things that Marco does fit well within our team in the way that we move and play. He’s going to fit in well with that and is going to make us stronger as a group.”
Having made his way back from his June vacation a few days early, Di Vaio took part in a few extra training sessions over the past few days. That could eventually make the difference in terms of team organization on Wednesday, as well as sharpness in front of goal. The Impact have scored 24 goals so far this season – good for the fifth-best attack in MLS – but there is obvious pressure on the club’s first-ever DP signing to fill the nets.
It's nothing that would bother Di Vaio, though.
“It’s my everyday job, scoring goals," Di Vaio explained. "Everyone wants me to score tomorrow, [and] so do I. I don’t know what will happen during the game, but I certainly hope I’ll help the team. Scoring would be good for me and for everyone, but the important thing is to win tomorrow and keep on collecting points. It’s good for our mentality.”