Montreal Impact: "We can manage" rough patch in schedule, fitness concerns with depth, youth

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact had just six players on the bench on Wednesday, but they managed to produce a fine second-half performance for a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final anyway.

And they were even forced to burn a substitute just two minutes into that game after an unfortunate injury to Nelson Rivas.

So dealing with an already tricky ask for MLS’ last-place team Saturday at Stade Saputo against the cream of the Eastern Conference – the New England Revolution (7 pm ET; MLS Live, TSN2 in Canada) – ahead of week's second leg of the ACC should be no problem for the Impact, right?

According to forward Marco Di Vaio, Montreal have what it takes to manage a congested schedule.

“Everyone’s in a condition where they can play more consecutive games,” the 37-year-old Di Vaio told reporters on Thursday. “It’s no big deal. It'd be nice if everyone was here, but we can manage this calmly, what with all the youngsters we have.

“The youngsters can play all week,” Di Vaio continued with a hearty laugh. “Me, not so much, but the young ones can play all week.”

Head coach Frank Klopas is not anticipating a massive return from injury. In addition to Felipe and the relapsing Rivas, both injured on Wednesday, Matteo Ferrari, Eric Miller, Sanna Nyassi and Maxim Tissot are still nursing knocks. The staff will reevaluate their condition late on Friday.

Montreal do expect a physically demanding game against the technically-sound Revs, however, so one or two reinforcements wouldn’t hurt. Issey Nakajima-Farran, for one, will be eligible after an enforced break Wednesday as part of the conditions of his recent trade from Toronto.

“We just have to manage it and make sure that we put a really strong team out there for Saturday because our mentality is we’ve got to go on and try to win that game,” Klopas said. “We have the confidence, right now. We have to build on that momentum. We’re playing at home.”

But the Revs are a genuine threat on the road in general – they’ve picked up three of their seven wins this season away from home – and in Montreal. They’ve won twice already at Stade Saputo since the Impact joined MLS.

“I don’t think anyone’s expecting us to do something miraculous even though we’re playing at home,” captain Patrice Bernier said. “You’re playing against the first-placed team. You’re playing at home. All the elements are there for us to go do something good and pick up three points.”


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