Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ferrari, Impact Anxious to Get Major League Soccer Adventure Started: Ferrari Anxious for Impact's MLS Opener

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ferrari, Impact Anxious to Get Major League Soccer Adventure Started: Ferrari Anxious for Impact's MLS Opener

Article excerpt

MONTREAL - Matteo Ferrari can't wait for his Major League Soccer adventure to begin.

The Italian central defender was a surprise find by the expansion Montreal Impact and will make his debut along with the new club in their regular season opener Saturday against the Whitecaps in Vancouver.

The 32-year-old Ferrari is expected to be in the starting 11 along with two other MLS newcomers, midfielders Patrice Bernier and Felipe.

"(It's) a new experience for me and the club," Ferrari said Thursday before the squad boarded a flight to the West Coast. "I wanted to try a new experience with Montreal.

"I'm so enthusiastic. And we'll see on the pitch."

The Impact, who played 18 seasons in lower leagues before they were granted admission as the 19th team in MLS, will get a look at how the players they amassed from various sources over the past six months have come together as a team.

Based on their nearly two-hour training session, the starting 11 should also include veteran goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, with Ferrari and former Seattle Sounder Tyson Wahl in the central defence.

Ex-Whitecap Jeb Brovsky is to start at right back with Josh Gardner on the left.

The midfield should have Justin Mapp with Bernier, Felipe and captain Davy Arnaud and strikers Justin Braun and Sanna Nyassi up front.

Bernier, of Brossard, Que., returned as a free agent to the Impact after nine seasons in Europe, while the Brazilian Felipe last played in Switzerland.

Team owner-president Joey Saputo and technical director Nick De Santis were scouting possible designated player candidates in Italy when an unanticipated meeting with Ferrari was arranged.

The two sides agreed that the former Inter Milan and Genoa defender would join the team's training camp to see if he was a good fit. That led to a contract, and Ferrari's transfer papers from his last club in Turkey came in Wednesday to make it official.

"I like the mentality here," Ferrari said. "I like America. I like Canada.

"I wanted to try a new experience. I have many friends in North America, so for me, it was time to try."

He has certainly impressed coach Jesse Marsch.

"He sees everything coming so far ahead of time and he cuts everything out," Marsch said. …

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