BOLOGNA, Italy – The Montreal Impact’s postseason training camp in Italy kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a light one-hour training session at the Bologna FC training grounds. There, the Impact prepared for Thursday’s friendly match with their Serie A hosts, which will take place at the Dall'Ara Stadium near the centre of the city.
A crowd significantly fewer than 10,000 is expected for the friendly as a portion of Bologna’s diehard fans will be present to salute their former captain Marco Di Vaio, who this time will be playing in Impact colours.
Di Vaio spoke to the media before the start of the Impact training session and reiterated his conviction that leaving Bologna for Montreal was the best decision for both him and his family.
"My experience has been amazing so far," said the 36-year-old. "I’m very happy with the decision to move to Montreal. I love the city and it’s opened my mind up to a completely new reality.”
Though the MLS season concluded two weekends ago, interim coach Mauro Biello insisted that Montreal is still taking the two week camp in Italy very seriously.
“We want to finish the year off in the right way,” Biello told Goal.com. “The important thing now is that we get the guys focused on these next two weeks and prepare them in the right manner. It's important that our approach is right and that we work together to get the right results”.
Assistant captain Patrice Bernier was of the same frame of mind, as the Brossard, Québec, native explained that despite the amicable nature of the matches, it’s important to put on a good showing and represent the city well.
“The season has been long, there’s been a lot of stress to try and make the playoffs and all that’s been happening with the club all year long, so this is a trip away from all that, from the routine, but we still have to show up and perform,” Bernier stated. “And we’re playing a Serie A team, so in our mind we can’t really be on vacation.”
With the Impact having parted ways with Jesse Marsch on Saturday, the club is now on the lookout for a new head coach. Biello told the the Montreal media via telephone conference that he considers himself a candidate to fulfill the Impact’s vacant role at the helm, but it is highly unlikely that this would ever materialize considering the team is pursuing more experienced figures.
Following Thursday’s game with Bologna, the Impact will leave for Florence on Friday and will face Fiorentina on Nov. 15.
Club president Joey Saputo is expected to join the team at some point in the next few days.