MONTREAL – All of a sudden, congestion in the Montreal midfield has been relieved.
Impact president Joey Saputo announced during his midseason news conference on Wednesday that midfielders Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Calum Mallace have been loaned to NASL side Minnesota United FC until the end of the MLS season.
Ubiparipovic, 29, struggled with a calf injury earlier this season and found few opportunities to pick up match fitness. His only appearance this season was a five-minute cameo during Montreal’s 5-3 win over Philadelphia Union on May 25. The 22-year-old Mallace, a second-round pick at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, made two substitute appearances totaling 36 minutes back in March.
The moves free up roster spots for Sporting Director Nick De Santis to go shopping. Saputo himself said that the club was “seriously considering” adding one or two players ahead of the CONCACAF Champions League and possible MLS playoffs fixtures, thus confirming De Santis’ statements from last week.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re looking for two midfielders,” De Santis said. “Mallace is a young player who really needs to play. Keeping him here with all the midfielders we have and not playing many minutes would hurt us and hurt him. It was a perfect opportunity for him and for Sinisa as well, who didn’t play many minutes either.”
Mallace and Ubiparipovic are the second and third players that Montreal have loaned out this season. Defender Zarek Valentin is picking up experience that pleases the Impact staff, but also raises questions about his future: the 21-year-old became a regular for Norwegian club Bodø/Glimt upon joining them on a season loan last March.
“Zarek understands that it's not only a good on-the-field experience, but also a good human and cultural experience,” De Santis said. “I hope that he’ll keep on doing well. [Bodø/Glimt] are in first place in the second division so they, too, could have an interest in Zarek. We’ll keep on talking to him, but seeing his progress is very positive.”