Didier Drogba travels to NYC as Montreal Impact injuries force a depth test

MONTREAL -- It will be a quick turnaround, but Didier Drogba will be with the Montreal Impact when they face New York City FC on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

After making his first 90-minute appearance of the season days ago, Drogba has made the trip to New York for Montreal's first midweek match of the season, the Impact's second game of three in eight days. The Ivorian striker made his first start in three games Saturday and played the entire match in the Impact's 2-0 loss to Toronto FC at Saputo Stadium.

"Didier played 90 minutes, felt great," Montreal coach Mauro Biello said Tuesday. "We expected him to tire but he said he felt good after the game, so for me it's about getting his rhythm and being available for us going forward."

On Monday, Impact captain Patrice Bernier spoke of the need to guard against relying too much on Drogba and midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who leads Montreal with four goals.

Impact midfielder Harry Shipp agreed. "It's easy when you have those guys on the field to kind of just think they're going to do something to win the game for us," Shipp said. "And it takes a mental shift from the rest of us to say hey, other teams are going to focus on stopping these guys and cutting off balls to them, so how can we play as a team without them? So once we get the ball and create openings for them, they can win the game and others can win the game too."

Whether Drogba starts against New York or Biello elects to bring him on later, Montreal's lineup will have some changes as a result of the busy schedule and a few injuries, including defenders Hassoun Camara and Donny Toia, who each have hamstring issues.

Biello said he would learn more about the extent of Camara's injury later Tuesday afternoon.

"We've got a few injuries, so right now our depth will be tested and it opens up an opportunity for some other players also," Biello said. "For us it doesn't change in terms of what we want to achieve and in terms of our principles and what we need to follow as a game plan, so it's an opportunity and it's going to test my depth, obviously, and hopefully we can go there and get a result."

Despite New York's 1-3-3 start, Impact midfielder Marco Donadel is wary of any lineup that includes Andrea Pirlo, who did not play in a 2-0 loss at the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

"I try every day to see Pirlo when he's playing, on TV or on video on YouTube," Donadel said. "For me, it's an idol, like a fan. He's the best midfielder in the world because his technique, his way to play in the midfield, he tries to see and understand the action 30 seconds before the others."

"It's a bit harder now because he's 38 and the other guys are 24, but in 90 minutes be can make a play and resolve the match, so we have to be very scared of him, control, and every time see where is Pirlo because with the play, he can decide the match."

Wednesday's match between New York City and the Montreal Impact is set for 7 pm ET on RDS and MLS Live.