Montréal Impact will be without Didier Drogba scored the game against Orlando City, according to the club in the latest fitness update.
The former Chelsea striker has suffered a hip flexor injury and has returned to London in order to recover. Drogba’s absence, however, is likely to help Dominic Oduro get a runaround in the first-team. After joining the Canadian outfit midway through last season, Drogba has been a major influence in the first-team even though he has not played much due to injuries. The club are aware that they should manage him in order to have him fit for the big games.
At 38 years of age, he may carry on playing for at least one more year before announcing his retirement. In fact, Drogba was linked with an early retirement in order to become a coach at Chelsea when the club had sacked Jose Mourinho towards the end of 2015. The impact Drogba has had on the team is evident from his record of four goals and three assists from just seven matches. He has contributed a goal every game either directly or through assists. Fellow African Dominic Oduro has also been in decent goal scoring form. He has four goals in 11 appearances, but doing well in the absence of Drogba can be a major boost.
“We all know Didier’s hurt. We’re going to a hostile place, but we also know (Orlando) will want to come forward and put pressure on us.But guess what happens when they do that? There’s space in behind,” saidOduro. “If (Drogba) is in the lineup, he has tendencies we need to exploit and when there are other players in the lineup, the way we play changes. If you have Oduro up top, who can get in behind, it’s different from Didier, who is better back to goal and holding up play and being more physical,” said manager Mauro Biello.
The Canadian Championship played Wednesday was a keenly contested match. Retired Ivory Coast international, Didier Drogba is the reason Montreal Impact have a second shot at the cup as they crashed 4-2 in the first leg of the tie against Toronto FC.
The series was almost over even in the first leg until Impact pushed and scored two away goals after they had allowed four earlier.
The end results would be very painful for Toronto FC who would have thought they had booked a straight ticket to next year’s CONCACAF’s Champions League with just the result from the nights.
The hosts were not any single one of their Designated Players unlike Impact, yet they mauled them until the last three minutes when the visitors forced the pair of goals, in a game they deployed their first team attackers.
Didier Drogba sent the cross that allowed Michael Salazar to head home with minutes from stoppage time. Same hero Drogba’s stoppage-time free kick beat Clint Irwin at the near post to give the Impact new life. The star player single handedly gave the team a lifeline ahead of the second leg.
At the post match interview, Montreal’s Mauro Biello said:
“It’s disappointing to come out that way. Toronto wanted it more. You could see in the first half. We were second to everything. We were too casual. It’s not like they controlled things. They just beat us to the ball. In the end, I’m happy we were able to come back. It gives us a boost and we have a series. It’s about continuing to improve defensively.”
Montreal were already two goals down before the referee blew the whistle for the first half in the game filled with fights and interruptions. The return leg is in Quebec next week and it already promises to be one tough encounter.