Impact sign Bernardello as second designated player

The Canadian Press
7/23/2013 4:17:14 PM
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MONTREAL -- The Montreal Impact added a second designated player Tuesday with the signing of Argentine midfielder Hernan Bernardello.

The Major League Soccer club did not disclose contract details.

Bernardello, who turns 27 on Aug. 3, is known as a mainly defensive midfielder who is also a strong passer.

He joins Italian striker Marco Di Vaio, who will earn $1.9 million this season, as the team's second designated player.

"We are very pleased to have finalized the acquisition of a player who has played at the highest levels," Impact sporting director Nick De Santis said in a statement. "He fits in well with the identity of the club and we believe he will play an important role for us moving forward.

"Hernan has consistently played between 25 and 30 games a season over his career. He is a player with great quality in midfield that covers a lot of ground, all while displaying great technical skills and great ability to relaunch attacks. He plays the game with a lot of passion and emotion."

The deal will be finalized when Bernardello receives his international transfer certificate.

Earlier on Tuesday, fullback Hassoun Camara welcomed the team's plan to add a top talent. The Impact has a busy schedule ahead both in Major League Soccer and the CONCACAF Champions League.

"If he comes it will be good for us," said Camara. "It shows the ambition we have to do well in the league and to have other weapons in our arsenal for the league championship and the Champions League."

The Impact is tied for second in the MLS Eastern Conference, with games in hand on its closest rivals. Montreal is four points behind first-place Kansas City, who it faces in its next match Saturday night at Saputo Stadium.

Montreal qualified for the Champions League by winning the Amway Canadian Championship earlier this season. The first game is set for Aug. 7 at home against the San Jose Earthquakes.

There was concern Bernardello may displace all-star Patrice Bernier, who plays in the defensive midfield spot. The Brossard, Que., native said he would wait and see what coach Marco Schallibaum decides to do with the lineup.

"We'll see once he gets here what the coach decides and what the new scheme will be," said Bernier. "Are we going to play the same system, or have players in different positions? We don't know."

Schallibaum would not comment until the player officially joined the club.

MLS teams are allowed up to three DPs at a time. A designated player can be paid more than the maximum under the salary cap, with only US$368,750 counting against the cap.

Former Bologna striker Di Vaio joined as Montreal's first DP midway through the its expansion season in 2012.

Di Vaio missed the Impact's 0-0 draw on Saturday night with FC Dallas when he returned to Italy to attend to a family matter. The 37-year-old was back at practice Tuesday.

"It's a pity when Marco can't play," said Schallibaum. "We needed him Saturday.

"Daniele (Paponi) and Andrew (Wenger) did well, but maybe (missing) Marco's experience was the difference. But I'm happy he's back and also that he has good news from his family."

Bernardello began his pro career with Newell's Old Boys in his home town of Rosario, Argentina before moving to Almeria in the Spanish league for three seasons. He was loaned to Atletico Colon, one of Argentina's top teams, last season.

The five-foot-nine Bernardello played once for his country in 2009.

He will be the second Argentine on the roster after midfielder Andres Romero. Another midfielder from that country, Maximiliano Rodriguez, has been placed on the long-term injury list.

The Impact has 11 spots for foreign players filled on its roster.

Hernan Bernardello (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)


(Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)
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