This week in Texas will have been a productive one for Heath Pearce and Patrice Bernier.
After some fitness worries, new signing Pearce and new team captain Bernier both played 90 minutes in a 2-0 MLS Reserve League loss to FC Dallas last Sunday, and they’ll likely be available for selection this Saturday, when Montreal face the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Assistant coach Mauro Biello, the man in charge for Montreal’s Reserve League games, was encouraged by both players’ condition.
“They’re two players that have missed lots of preparation time, so it’s important that they recover their aerobic base,” Biello told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Thursday. “Once they’ve got that aerobic base, they have to find their rhythm, adjust to the speed of play and everything else. It'll come later on. But getting 90 minutes into their legs is good for them, and we hope they’ll help us this weekend as well.”
Pearce, who underwent hip surgery last July and signed with Montreal on March 6, even hit the post 18 minutes into his first full game in seven-and-a-half months, which coincidentally took place in the Dallas area where he convalesced.
Bernier, for his part, is confident that the knee surgery he endured last December is well and truly behind him.
“I don’t know what head coach Frank Klopas’ plans are yet, but I’m ready to play,” he wrote on French broadcaster RDS’ website on Thursday. “For now, I doubt that I’ll be on the starting XI, but nothing’s definite.”
Asked if Bernier and Pearce could contribute from the start this Saturday, Biello wouldn’t commit.
“We haven’t decided yet,” Biello said. “We’ll see over the next days and we’ll make a decision.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Impact on MLSsoccer.com