Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rookie Wenger Gets Chance to Shine for Impact with Di Vaio's Future in Doubt

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rookie Wenger Gets Chance to Shine for Impact with Di Vaio's Future in Doubt

Article excerpt

Rookie Wenger's turn to shine for Impact

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MONTREAL - Montreal Impact rookie Andrew Wenger will be in the spotlight when he replaces star striker Marco Di Vaio on Saturday night against the visiting Philadelphia Union.

A good showing by the top pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft could lead to more starts through the final stretch of the season now that Di Vaio's future is in the hands of a tribunal investigating a massive betting and match fixing scandal in Italy.

"It's like any other game," said 21-year-old Wenger, who returned last week from a hamstring injury. "The pressure is on the team to put another win together and keep moving forward."

Montreal (8-13-3) is four points ahead of Philadelphia (7-10-2) in Eastern Conference standings, but the Union hold five games in hand.

Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi on Friday requested a one-year suspension for Di Vaio, formerly of Serie-A club Bologna, for allegedly failing to report fraud in a suspected match-fixing incident in a game against Bari in 2011.

Di Vaio said last week he wasn't worried about the hearings in Italy because he did no wrong, but the prosecutor's aggressive stance suggests there is cause for concern. Reports said the tribunal hopes to make a decision by the end of next week.

The 36-year-old is the Impact's highest paid player at US$1.9 million and its first designated player, or one paid more than the MLS maximum of $350,000. He scored his first MLS goal in a 3-1 win over New York last week and was hoping to get on a roll over the final 10 matches of the regular season.

"It's unfortunate timing, but we're confident that when he comes back we can continue from where he left off," said coach Jesse Marsch. "We know we have a good bench, so when Andrew steps in and Sanna (Nyassi) comes on the field, we have guys that can help us attack and are dangerous."

Di Vaio left this week for the hearings in Italy and was expected back Sunday. Marsch said he may now return Saturday afternoon, although there are no plans to use him in the game after that much travel.

The coach would not speculate on what the team will do if Di Vaio is suspended. …

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