MONTREAL — Daniele Paponi made his Montreal Impact debut on Wednesday in the Amway Canadian Championship. On Saturday, the on-loan striker may make his league debut, too.
The 25-year-old forward looks set to join forces with his former Bologna captain, Marco Di Vaio, for the first time since September of 2011 when the Impact face the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo (4 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, NBC Sports Network in US; LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Paponi played 30 minutes against Toronto FC on Wednesday, but he admitted the next day that he wasn’t feeling 100 percent fit yet. Starting against Frank Klopas’ side might be a stretch, but he has been sending good signals to the Impact staff.
“We had a chat after the [Toronto] game and he said he was feeling fine,” Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello told reporters on Friday. “Needing time to adapt when you join a team is normal. He’s in shape, he works very hard and, if he was able to play 30, then he can give us more going forward.”
Di Vaio has been enjoying a strong start to his second MLS season, hitting the back of the net three times and constantly playing with opponents' minds with his positioning.
The opposition understandably marks Di Vaio tighter with each game, and a strike partner like Paponi would likely take pressure off Di Vaio or at least enjoy more space. Biello did admit that Montreal needed more options to create chances and score. But whether or not Montreal play with one or two forwards from the start, defender Hassoun Camara said, what matters is actually making plays.
“You can put five forwards on, but if they all keep the same line, the same shape, there’s no movements, no angles,” Camara said. “How we will make plays going forward will be interesting tomorrow. The coaches did their job. It’s up to us, players, to respond tomorrow and play the game as we should.”