Biello: Drogba could play in Eastern Conference semifinal first leg

The Montreal Impact coach says the star striker could return from a monthlong absence for Sunday's meeting with the New York Red Bulls.

WASHINGTON — Montreal Impact striker Didier Drogba could see the field in Sunday's Eastern Conference semifinal first leg against the New York Red Bulls, coach Mauro Biello said Thursday.

Speaking after the Impact advanced with a 4-2 win over D.C. United in the knockout round at RFK Stadium, Biello was hopeful Drogba will recover from a lingering back injury and play Sunday for the first time since Sept. 28.

"I spoke to him the other day and we talked about [how] this game, because he didn't train much, would have been difficult but that the game for Sunday could be more realistic for him," Biello said. "If he's healthy, he'll be available."

Drogba stirred controversy earlier this month when he asked to be removed from the game-day roster for a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC upon finding out he wasn't chosen to start. The club has since indicated the situation was resolved, and Drogba traveled to Washington for Thursday's win despite not being healthy enough to take part.

The fifth-seeded Impact open their conference semifinal series with top-seeded New York on Sunday at Stade Saputo before traveling to Red Bull Arena on Nov. 6.