Piatti trains with teammates Wednesday

The Argentine has been sidelined with muscular pain

There was something different in the air at Centre Nutrilait Wednesday morning, yet at first sight everything looked the same; players shuffled in one after the other, convening in the cafeteria for a chat and breakfast before the start of training. Some coaches were on the field beforehand as per usual, preparing warm-up drills and talking amongst themselves.

But when every player circled around the coach for the start of the session, a face that hasn’t been present in recent weeks was there, and it belongs to Nacho Piatti.

The Argentine has been sidelined since the game on March 16 in Orlando, missing 10 games, the longest sequence of matches he’s missed since he first joined the Impact.

“It all started with the knee injury he suffered in Orlando,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “After, in one of the first sessions since his he returned, he felt muscular pain in his calf. Calf pains are the most difficult to diagnose and treat. Of course, we’re impatient for his return.”

The Designated Player has been present despite being unable to train, doing cardio indoors or doing laps around the field as his teammates trained. Today, for the first time in weeks, he took part in a full-session, including a mini-game in the second half of the session.

Let’s just say he hasn’t lost his magician’s touch.

“In the small spaces, he’s got that innate ability that not a lot of guys have,” said Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush. “For him, it doesn’t disappear. It’s exciting, and it lifts the team around him.”

The team has fared well without him, earning four wins, four losses, and two draws since his absence, with seven of those 10 games taking place on the road. There’s no confirmation of whether or not he’ll be in the final 18 that will face the New England Revolution at Stade Saputo this Saturday (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690) but at least we know the midfielder is getting closer and closer to returning.

“We know what Nacho brings to the team,” said centre-back Zakaria Diallo. “It went well today, so let’s hope it continues that way. But he looked at ease. It was as if he was never injured. Nacho has that technical ease, and this morning I was under the impression that I was watching the same Nacho from a month and a half ago.”