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Last year, as summer turned to fall and the MLS Cup Playoffs began to come into focus, Mauro Biello made the biggest decision of his young head-coaching career.
Didier Drogba would no longer be the starting forward for the Montreal Impact.
It was a decision that not only sent ripples through Montreal, but the world of soccer. The Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend had arrived in Montreal a year earlier to a hero's welcome and wasted no time living up to the lofty expectations set by the jubilant airport mob that greeted him. Drogba scored 11 goals in his first 11 games, in the process transforming the culture and perception of the club in a matter of months.
Meanwhile, Biello was going through a transformation of his own. An assistant coach when Drogba put pen to paper on his Designated Player contract, the Montreal native took over the head job when Frank Klopas was let go in late August and inherited a locker room in which Drogba was the dominant personality.
Now, a year later with a spot the playoffs on the line, Biello decided the Impact's best chance for success was to send Drogba to the substitutes' bench and give unheralded Italian striker Matteo Man