On Wednesday, there were concerns about the fitness of Montreal Impact's Matteo Mancosu and Ambroise Oyongo. By Thursday, those concerns had abated. A Radio Canada report described both players as being in "perfect shape" for the team's most recent training session.
Head coach Mauro Biello explained that "the recovery is more important than the charge" as the season reaches its final stage, and told the press:
If the guys need one more day to rest, we'll give them that.
Fair enough. The New York Red Bulls seem to be following a similar strategy (Kemar Lawrence sat out training on Wednesday; Mike Grella had a rest day on Thursday). Both teams share the objective of facing each other on Sunday at full strength.
To that end, the concern in Montreal is now mostly over Hernan Bernadello's fitness. The midfielder has reportedly missed three consecutive training sessions. If he is not fit to start, Callum Mallace is expected to take Bernadello's spot in the lineup - though he too had a bit of scare in training:
Calum Mallace replacing Bernardello at training. But Mallace is down on the pitch after slide tackle from Bernier #IMFC— Joey Alfieri (@joeyalfieri) November 3, 2016
Tackle looked innocent/clean. Mallace is up and walked off on his own power, but we'll see what's up #IMF1C— Joey Alfieri (@joeyalfieri) November 3, 2016
Mallace looks fine now. He's back training with the main group #IMFC— Joey Alfieri (@joeyalfieri) November 3, 2016
Didier Drogba's return to the training was celebrated on Wednesday, but the forward had stated he wasn't fully satisfied with his fitness. On Thursday, he apparently still wasn't feeling 100%:
Biello says Drogba left training early because he felt stiffness in his back #IMFC— Joey Alfieri (@joeyalfieri) November 3, 2016
Given that Montreal's success in the playoffs to date has been won without Drogba, his absence might not be too much of a concern. Bernardello, however, has been a regular and important starter for L'Impact since he arrived in late July. His absence might be more significant to Montreal's fortunes on Sunday than that of Drogba.