MONTREAL –Nelson Rivas’ face as he limped off two minutes into the Impact’s game at Toronto FC on May 28 spoke of dejection and despair, as if he knew this was the end of something. It turns out he did, indeed.
Montreal announced on Tuesday that they’d removed the 31-year-old Rivas from their roster. Hours later, Impact sporting director Nick De Santis told MLSsoccer.com of an agreement the player and the club had reached after Rivas’ previous setback in Orlando, last February.
The Impact supported Rivas in his recovery, but both parties understood that another setback would signal the time to move on.
“When he got hurt in Toronto, he understood that it was time to look at what's ahead of him in his career,” De Santis told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday. “For us, there was an agreement that, should he get hurt, we had to think of something else, of other players to replace him. He’s not on the roster anymore, but there was already a mutual agreement.”
Rivas, Montreal’s first-ever MLS signing in late 2011, was on a semi-guaranteed contract this season due to his injury situation, which limited him to 858 minutes on the field in 11 MLS games.
Montreal retain rights of first refusal should Rivas return to MLS, but he is free to go anywhere if his health allows him to. According to De Santis, Rivas is taking time to consider other options than outright retirement.
“Before the sporting side, there’s the human side,” De Santis said. “If we thought Nelson was only here to make money and nothing else, he would have left us a year ago. But here’s a guy who always worked hard to recover, who wanted to show everyone at the club … that he could give something back. He wanted to play, to prove his worth.”
Rivas’ departure won’t impact Montreal’s salary budget significantly, though it does vacate an international roster spot. But the trade that sent Jeb Brovsky to New York City FC does give De Santis more leeway to land a left back, he conceded.
“We’re talking to some players,” De Santis said. “There was also [Polish left back Krzysztof Król] who was on trial with us. We’re looking at what we can do with him as well.”