Alessandro Nesta AC Milan
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Impact's Nesta will travel to Houston, availability uncertain

MONTREAL – Alessandro Nesta made his debut with the Montreal Impact on Thursday. Sort of.

The Italian center back took part in an 11-v-11 scrimmage on Thursday morning at Montreal’s Centre Claude-Robillard against the Impact's Academy side. The Academy had accepted on Wednesday its parent club’s invitation for a friendly intended to provide Nesta, as well as convalescing center back Nelson Rivas, with an opportunity to train in a game situation on a full field.

On Wednesday night, Marsch expressed satisfaction with his team’s defensive effort in the 2-1 win over the New England Revolution, but Thursday nevertheless spelled more good news for the Montreal boss regarding that aspect of the game.

“Alessandro’s going to help our whole team in terms of his ability to see things, to identify things, to read plays,” Marsch told reporters. “He talks a lot with the guys; first half, he was even talking to Zarek [Valentin], talking to him about different things. So when you have a guy that has played at the level that he’s played at and has the experiences that he has, it’s a resource not just for the players, but also for the coaching staff. For all of us.”

Nesta will be traveling to Houston for this Saturday’s game at BBVA Compass Stadium (7:30 pm CT, watch on KPRC Local 2), but he will not be starting, said Marsch, who is still unsure as to whether the Italian legend will be on the gameday roster.

While Nesta played every minute of the scrimmage, Rivas, for his part, went off at halftime. The Colombian defender looked fairly comfortable on the Centre Claude-Robillard grass and seemed in no pain whatsoever, and he is inching closer to a return to league play.

“They say that the type of abdominal strain that he had, he’ll probably feel for a while, but it’s now more about trying to calculate how strong the muscle is,” Marsch said. “We’re still looking at whether to travel him this weekend, and if we don’t, then I think he’d factor in with the Lyon game [on July 24], for sure, and then go from there.”

Marsch also confirmed that Matteo Ferrari, who skipped the scrimmage with soreness from the treatment for his right quad strain, and Andrew Wenger, who has been out with a left hamstring strain, are both day-to-day on the fitness front. Wenger’s and Ferrari’s muscles will be tested on Friday and Monday respectively, and both could be considered for next week’s friendly against Olympique Lyonnais.