The 2018 MLS regular season hasn’t even kicked off yet and the Impact have already been hit hard by injuries on defence. Prior to the start of training camp, the club announced that centre back Kyle Fisher would miss four months because of a fractured tibia. Things got even worse on Tuesday morning, as newcomer Zakaria Diallo went down during training.
The club hasn’t talked about Diallo’s status going forward, but the news doesn’t appear to be good. Outside if Ignacio Piatti, Diallo might just be the most important player on the team. The 31-year-old was brought in to stabilize the back and serve as a replacement for Laurent Ciman, who was traded to expansion side Los Angeles FC.
Diallo’s profile is interesting. He’s huge (listen at 6-foot-4, 199 pounds) and he’s physical. That’s exactly the kind of player the Impact have been lacking over the last few seasons.
Although he was one of several interesting acquisitions the team made this winter, they clearly didn’t add enough depth at the centre back position. Now, they’ll start the season in a bit of a hole with few options at their disposal.
“I think it’s tough because he’s been playing almost every preseason game and he’s a big part of back line,” Impact fullback Michael Petrasso said before Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t know too much about the injury as of yet, but we’re hoping that he gets back soon.”
With Diallo presumably being unavailable for Sunday’s game in Vancouver (you can listen to the game on TSN 690 radio, by the way), the Impact will have to get creative. Victor Cabrera will likely start, but it’ll be interesting to see who his partner will be. Academy product Thomas Meilleur-Giguere is an option, but left back Jukka Raitala played some centre back during the preseason, so he could also slot in to that position.
The Petrasso-Edwards relationship
This year will be the first season that Michael Petrasso and Raheem Edwards are teammates on a professional club team, but the two have known each other for quite some time.
They both grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and both played under the Ontario Soccer Association umbrella. According to Edwards, they were 14 years old when they first went up against each other. Petrasso was playing for Markham at the time, while Edwards was suiting up for Erin Mills.
“I guess there’s just a general understanding,” Edwards said of his on-field relationship with Petrasso. “Playing through the ranks even when we were younger, playing against each other and obviously (Team) Canada camp helps a lot, practicing together and whatnot. So, it’s just something that we’ve built over time and we’re still building until now.”
It’s a good thing they know each other so well because they could be manning the right side of the field together a lot in 2018.
Ken Krolicki signs first pro deal
On Wednesday, the team announced that they had signed midfielder Ken Krolicki to a one-year deal with three club options. The 21-year-old was Montreal’s third-round pick in the 2018 MLS Super Draft.
“It’s overwhelming and surreal, but I worked very hard and believed in my ability and the coaches valued my ability as well, and I’m thankful for that,” Krolicki said of earning a contract. “It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m ready to go and I’ll give everything that I’ve got for the club.”
Krolicki first picked up a soccer ball when he was living in Japan. He eventually moved to the United States when he was 15 years old.
“When I was four, I started playing with my brother,” added Krolicki. “I have an older brother who’s three years older than me. So I started playing with him. From there, I continued and loved the game.”
Question of the Day
Who do you think will replace Zakaria Diallo in the Impact lineup?
(Feature Image Credit: Montreal Impact)