Montreal Impact confirm: Drogba to miss Thursday playoff clash at DC United

MONTREAL – It is highly unlikely that Didier Drogba will be in the Montreal Impact's 18-man roster when they face D.C. United in their Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs matchup at RFK Stadium on Thursday night (7:30 pm ET; UniMás in USA, TSN1, TSN5, RDS2 in Canada).

Once again, Drogba did not practice with Montreal on Tuesday as the East's No. 5 seeds prepare for their East Knockout Round game against No. 4 seeds D.C. United.

The Ivorian striker joined his teammates for the final 15 minutes of practice at Nutrilait Centre, the Impact's training facility, looking on while Montreal practiced penalty kicks in brisk conditions.

Impact coach Mauro Biello said Drogba is still dealing with back issues and downplayed the likelihood that he will be available to play Thursday.

"I don't think those chances will be good," Biello said. "He hasn't trained, he still feels a discomfort, so the chances are very minimal."

Drogba scored 10 goals in 22 games for Montreal this season, after scoring 11 goals in 11 games in his MLS debut with the Impact last year. But he played a reduced role with the team late in the regular season. 

He started two of Montreal's final seven regular-season games, came off the bench twice and did not play the last three games once newcomer Matteo Mancosu established himself as the Impact's starting striker.

Mancosu started three games in a row prior to Montreal's 3-0 loss at the New England Revolution on Sunday, when he was among the players Biello rested ahead of the Impact's midweek playoff game.

Mancosu has earned seven starts, scored three goals and had four assists in 15 games after joining the Impact on loan from Italian club Bologna in July.

Unwilling to accept a reserve role, Drogba removed himself from Montreal's 18-man roster for a 2-2 tie against Toronto FC at Stade Saputo on Oct. 16. The following day, he met with Biello and Impact owner Joey Saputo, who said afterward that Drogba had agreed to honor his contract and play whatever role he was asked to by the team for the rest of the season. 

Biello would not say whether or not Drogba will travel to Washington if he is not available to play Thursday, though Montreal media outlets reported on Wednesday that the striker would not make the trip.

"We'll talk about it, and then make that decision," Biello said.

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