MONTREAL – A bad bout of flu didn’t stop Hernán Bernardello from inquiring if he could play against Sporting Kansas City on July 27. Now healthy, Montreal’s new defensive midfielder is raring to step onto the field.
Unlike the Impact’s other new signing, Adrián López, who is currently struggling with an adductor problem, Bernardello will be an option on Wednesday night when the San Jose Earthquakes visit Stade Saputo for the first Group 5 fixture of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
Head coach Marco Schällibaum is understandably vowing to remain cautious, fitness-wise, with both recruits, but the Argentinean Designated Player will gleefully take whatever minutes the Swiss coach has in store for him after a missed opportunity against D.C. United, when he made the squad of 18 for the first time of his fledgling MLS career.
“The coach had told me that he was planning on giving me 15 minutes, but it’s comprehensible that I couldn’t come on as we were trailing and we have to make changes in attack,” Bernardello told reporters in his native Spanish on Monday. “I’ll always support the team no matter where I am, and I’ll do my best when they call upon me.”
Montreal could yet count on more options in their defensive half as center back Alessandro Nesta started training again on Monday. His UEFA Champions League experience should be at Schällibaum’s disposal against the Earthquakes.
But if there’s one definite change coming for the Impact on Wednesday, it’s goalkeeper Troy Perkins getting a night off and Evan Bush carrying on fulfilling cup duties. The 27-year-old, who appeared in all four Amway Canadian Championship games this season, has kept on impressing Schällibaum in MLS Reserve League action.
“He’s been very, very solid in reserve matches,” Schällibaum said on Tuesday. “This decision was made two months ago. He’s deserved it. To me, he’s not a No. 2 'keeper, because he's so good that we have two No. 1 ‘keepers. He has my full confidence and he knows it.”