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Montreal Impact short staffed ahead of Seattle Sounders game

The international break cannot come soon enough for Rémi Garde and his team.

MONTREAL — The Major League Soccer international break cannot come soon enough for Rémi Garde and the Montreal Impact.

Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Sounders, Garde said he could count on 13 field players as of Monday morning’s practice. One of those 13 is Harry Novillo, who missed Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Orlando City SC because of a throat infection.

The Impact have recalled Amar Sejdič from the USL Championship’s Ottawa Fury FC. Adding to Garde’s misfortune, Sejdič sprained his ankle during the Fury’s last game on Sunday. He was undergoing exams during Monday morning’s training session.

“I don’t remember that [happening before],” Garde said about any prior experiences with being short staffed. “In Europe when it’s the case you always have four, five young guys that are playing regularly in a reserve that are used to training with you or used to playing sometimes off the bench. Or when you play in [cup games] you can incorporate them in your squad list, which isn’t the case here because of the rules.” 

Impact working on emergency measures

Garde and head of analysis and assistant director of player personnel Vassili Cremanzidis are working with the Fury on emergency measures. Cremanzidis was in Canada’s capital on Sunday to watch the Fury win 4-1 against the Charlotte Independence.

“We’re working with Vassili to see the possibilities that we have with Ottawa because we are in an case of emergency in terms of amount of players,” Garde said. “That allows us to do some things with players from Ottawa that are under the age of 24, so we are looking at this right now.”

MLS clubs with fewer than 14 outfield players available or fewer than two goalkeepers can be recognized as extreme hardship cases. Should this label apply to the Impact, they would be eligible to sign loan deals or short-term agreements with players from the Fury. These agreements can be in the form of contracts lasting up to four days. Each team is allowed a maximum of four per season.

Togetherness through hard times

Garde hopes that the unusual circumstances will be able to ignite something in the remaining players. The Impact will look to end their three-game home stint on a positive after suffering the defeat to Orlando City. 

“Normally the players that are playing in this situation, they could also feel that they have to do a little bit more,” Garde said. “To find more resources against the adversity. This is a feeling that I hope we will be able to have.”

Bush: Used to being short staffed

Evan Bush isn’t foreign to having a shortage of players on his team. In fact, his first professional start was at striker.

A decade ago, Bush was playing for the USL’s Cleveland City Stars and travelled to play the Puerto Rico Islanders. With the only two outfield substitutes already used, his coaches asked him to suit up.

“We had made two subs, we had no more available subs and I was the backup goalkeeper at that point,” Bush said. “The goalkeeper coach was talking to head coach saying, ‘We need to make a change to slow the game down.’ He looks at me and says: ‘Bush is fit, let’s throw him on.’ So the last five minutes of that game, I came on as a striker.” 

Bush had a one-on-one scoring chance but was denied by Islanders goalkeeper Bill Gaudette. Less than two years later, both men would play together with the Impact in the NASL. 

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