Battle of depleted rosters awaits Impact, Sounders at Saputo Stadium

Montreal Impact midfielder Omar Browne reacts after missing a scoring chance on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (Julio Cortez/AP)

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact and the Seattle Sounders may have to dive deep into their rosters when they play each other Wednesday night.

Impact manager Remi Garde confirmed that he will have less than a full roster at Saputo Stadium for the club’s final Major League Soccer match before the international break. Meanwhile, the Sounders might only have 14 players at their disposal.

Garde lamented the fact that, unlike European squads, his team can’t field young players from a reserve squad to make up the difference and called on his own players to step up.

"Normally the players that are in these situations could feel that they have to do a little bit more," Garde said. "This is a feeling that I hope we will be able to have."

"It’ll be tough, for sure," added Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush. "We’ve had our fair share of things that we’ve had to deal with so far this year. This is just another one and we certainly would hope we have some positive momentum going into our break."

Montreal will be without four players on international call-ups including Canadian midfielder Samuel Piette and defender Zachary Brault-Guillard, who have both left for the CONCACAF Gold Cup later this month. Defenders Daniel Lovitz and Jukka Raitala have also left for international duties with the United States and Finland respectively.

The Impact’s injury list runs long as well. They’ll be without defender Bacary Sagna, young midfielders Mathieu Choiniere and Clement Bayiha and forward Orji Okwonkwo. They join star midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who is already out for up to 12 weeks with a right knee injury.

Either team could call up a player from a United Soccer League squad through the league’s "hardship signing" rule, which comes into play when a team has less than 14 outfield players at their disposal.

The Impact called up two players, 2019 Superdraft Pick Amar Sejdic and fellow midfielder Luca Ricci, from the United Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury to help alleviate matters. But Sejdic picked up an ankle injury earlier in the week and will go through medical tests.

Seattle has 10 players away on international duty, including leading scorer Raul Ruidiaz. The Peruvian, who has six goals this season, will be away with his home country at the Copa America tournament.

Montreal’s available players include winger Harry Novillo who missed this past weekend’s 3-0 loss to Orlando City SC due to a throat infection. Novillo has one goal in seven appearances this season but has missed games due to injuries and losing his passport prior to the Impact’s 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Sporting Kansas City on March 30.

"I think that he needs to be probably more consistently in training sessions," Garde said of Novillo. "I’m not forgetting that he has had some injuries but it’s not time anymore to find excuses. It’s to produce what we’re (wanting) from him."

Algerian midfielder Saphir Taider will be in the game-day roster for the Impact. It was believed he could play for his home country in this year’s African Cup of Nations. However, he wasn’t listed on the final roster.

"I’m here for my club," Taider said. "I’m staying positive and hopefully by Wednesday everyone will be happy.

"The most important thing is to accept it and to always work hard."

Garde and the Impact are already trying to get their previous match, a 3-0 loss to visiting Orlando, out of their minds. The French manager said he was "ashamed" of his team’s performance and apologized to fans.

Following Wednesday night’s game, the Impact will play a friendly against the Ottawa Fury at TD Place in Ottawa June 18. The Impact’s next MLS contest will be June 26 against the visiting Portland Timbers.

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