MONTREAL – As the 15 minutes of training open to the media began on Friday, journalists approached the Olympic Stadium turf looking for an answer from Montreal Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum to the question of the day: with Alessandro Nesta out for two weeks with an adductor injury, what will the defense look like this Saturday against the New York Red Bulls (4:30 pm ET; MLS Live)?
Hints were nowhere to be found, though. Schällibaum craftily had his players scrimmage not 11-v-11, but 10-v-10. The answer “might” have already been revealed to the players, the Swiss coach said with a grin, but the media and the Red Bulls would have to speculate.
“We’ll see which one of you get it right and I’ll give that person 10 dollars,” Schällibaum chuckled.
Matteo Ferrari seems to be the lone safe bet, at center back, for the moment. Hassoun Camara moved by Ferrari’s side when Nesta was substituted off in the 2-1 win over Toronto FC this past weekend while Jeb Brovsky shifted to right back and Dennis Iapichino entered the game on the left side of defense.
As continuity appears to be on the agenda for Schällibaum and his staff, Montreal might start the New York game with the back four that finished the Toronto one. The Montreal boss ruled out major changes in front of the defense, which means that Andrés Romero and Andrea Pisanu should get the nods alongside of the Felipe-Davy Arnaud-Patrice Bernier triangle, with Marco Di Vaio up front.
“We mustn’t change everything all the time,” Schällibaum said. “These days we play every Saturday, and the players recuperate well. We’ll make more changes when we play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So far, so good for us.”
The Impact will still need to make changes among their substitutes, though. Sanna Nyassi is away on international duty with Gambia, but Justin Mapp should be fit enough to make the bench against the Red Bulls. The left-sided midfielder said earlier this week that he no longer feels pain his right calf, which he injured in the Impact’s 1-0 win in Seattle three weeks ago.