Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com
MONTREAL – While Montreal Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum was cautiously optimistic on Monday after receving news from medical staff on the injured Alessandro Nesta and Hernan Bernardello, assistant coach Mauro Biello quieted the comeback talks down somewhat the next day.
Both players trained with their teammates on Tuesday – a first in over a month in Bernardello’s case –, but they could still skip this Friday’s game in Houston and focus on a return against the New England Revolution at home on October 12.
Nesta missed last weekend’s trip to Chicago with an adductor injury, which has been a recurrent problem this season. Bernardello, for his part, has been out since August 31 with an ankle sprain after a first few encouraging displays in MLS and in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“We don’t want to take any chances in both cases, because in the end, a setback could hurt us all the way to the end of the season,” Biello told reporters on Tuesday. “We want to play it safe with these two important players.”
Asked straight up whether Nesta would make the trip to Houston or not, Biello wouldn’t give a definitive answer.
“We’re going to discuss it, but it’s leaning a bit more towards a ‘No,’” he said.
Another opportunity could thus spring up for 23-year-old center back Wandrille Lefèvre, who made his first MLS start last Saturday in Chicago. Lefèvre’s play greatly satisfied Schällibaum, who deemed it a “confirmation” of his good showing earlier that week in a 2-0 win against CD Heredia in the CCL.
“Without Alessandro, we were a bit short in the middle of defense, but Wandrille has, from the start, made a lot of progress,” Schällibaum said on Monday. “He’s very solid mentally. His defensive play is tidy, he restarts the play, it’s good. I’m happy for him. He’s with us often [in the 18] but he hasn’t played a lot.”