Drogba to return as Montreal Impact look to end six-game winless skid - InfoNews

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Drogba to return as Montreal Impact look to end six-game winless skid

FILE - Montreal Impact's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring against Philadelphia Union during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal in a May 14, 2016, file photo. Winless in their last six games, the Montreal Impact will get a boost Saturday with the return of star forward Didier Drogba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes, File
May 27, 2016 - 12:09 PM

MONTREAL - Mired in a six-game winless skid, the Montreal Impact should get a boost this weekend with the return of Didier Drogba.

The star striker didn't play in a 2-1 loss to Orlando last weekend due to a hip injury, but he was expected to start in Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Saputo Stadium.

"I feel a lot better," said Drogba. "I got a lot of treatment. I was careful with my hip at first (in training this week), but it's better now.

"I'm ready if the coach needs me. It's up to him."

Drogba, who has four goals this season, should give the offence a boost. However, Montreal defenders Laurent Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo and Donny Toia will not play.

Ciman is training with the Belgian national team ahead of next month's European Championship. If Belgium goes deep in the tournament, Ciman could miss up to seven Impact matches — five Major League Soccer games and two in the Amway Canadian Championship.

Oyongo is with Cameroon preparing for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. He will be back with the Impact next week.

Toia, meanwhile, is still out with a hamstring injury. And defender Victor Cabrera, who is day-to-day with a calf injury, may also be unavailable Saturday.

"Our depth is being tested yet again," said midfielder Maxim Tissot. "It's a good opportunity for support players to show what they can do."

Tissot is one of the defenders who will likely be called upon to replace the missing starters. Wandrille Lefevre and fullback Hassoun Camara were also expected to start.

"We have players who can answer the call," said Camara. "But obviously missing Ambroise and Laurent and Donny, it's not easy. They're a big part of this team."

Because of Montreal's thin back line, there's a good chance 21-year-old Kyle Fisher will make his Impact debut. Fisher was selected with the 14th overall pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft.

"The time is here," he said. "I've been working really hard in practice every time. I feel confident with my preparation."

Fisher has made five starts for FC Montreal in the United Soccer League this year. The Easley, S.C., native dressed for the Impact last week but did not play.

"He works really hard and would do anything for this team," said head coach Mauro Biello. "He has the right mentality."

Montreal (4-4-4) spent much of this season in top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but a month-long slump has seen the Impact slip to fifth place. The Impact are 0-2-4 in their last six games.

Los Angeles (5-1-5) has just one loss in MLS play this season. The Galaxy also lead the league with 25 goals scored and have conceded just 13.

A pair of Los Angeles players are on international duty. Robbie Keane, who has four goals this season, was selected by Ireland for the Euro while Gyasi Zardes will represent the United States at the Copa America.

Notes: Montreal's Johan Venegas is also on international duty (Costa Rica). ... The Impact are winless (0-1-3) all-time against the Galaxy. … Montreal's longest franchise winless streak in MLS is 10 games. … Eight Impact players were nominated for the MLS All-Star Game this week, including Drogba, Ciman, Ignacio Piatti and Evan Bush.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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