Impact, Sounders game at Big O postponed to Sunday by snow
Montreal's home opener originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon
The Montreal Impact's MLS home opening game against the Seattle Sounders has been postponed until Sunday because of the fear of snow accumulation on Olympic Stadium roof.
The game scheduled for Saturday afternoon is to be played Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Forecasts predict 15 centimetres of snow to fall on Saturday. Due to the instability of stadium dome, which is in need of replacement or repair, events cannot be held there if more than three centimetres of snow is forecast. The decision on whether it can go ahead is made 24 hours in advance.
The Impact's first three regular-season games are to be played at the Big O, including matches April 5 against the New York Red Bulls and April 12 against the Chicago Fire.
There are also two Toronto Blue Jays pre-season baseball games slated for the stadium next week.
Despite the delay, Patrice Bernier is ready to play his first home game since being named captain of the Impact.
The 34-year-old, who had off-season knee surgery, missed the Impact's season-opening 3-2 loss in Dallas but was able to play 72 minutes the following week in a 1-0 defeat at Houston.
"It was the first game, 72 minutes, I felt comfortable," Bernier said Thursday. "That was the most important thing.
"The rest will come with more and more games. I told myself, 'A few more games before I really feel like my old self.' So far, it's going really well."
The Brossard, Que., native was named captain during training camp to replace Davy Arnaud, who was skipper through the club's first two seasons in Major League Soccer before being traded to D.C. United.
Bernier has worn the armband before, when Arnaud came out of games, but this will be his first appearance in front of home fans since new coach Frank Klopas named him captain.
The only local player among the Impact's regular starting lineup is a key component in the middle of the midfield, playing beside designated player Hernan Bernardello with attacking midfielder Felipe Martins in front.
The Impact had few chances to see that combination in action last season due to injuries, but it could become the engine room of the attack.
"Last game we showed some good things, but it's always a work in progress," said Bernier. "Last year, one or two of us wasn't on the pitch at the same time and we never really developed the chemistry we wanted.
"Now this is the second game we'll start with all three, and we have Collen (Warner), who is out of position (on the wing) but who is playing well."
It will likely take a few games before Bernier is back on top form. At his peak, he is perhaps the best on the club for initiating attacks and distributing the ball.
"He brings a different quality in the midfield," said Klopas. "For sure, he'll be sharper with every game he plays.
"He's an experienced guy, and I'm sure that in no time he'll be at his maximum. Another week of training and having that game behind him, he'll be even sharper. And he'll probably be excited to be home playing in front of our fans."
Bernier, a former major junior hockey defenceman, began his pro soccer career with the Impact in 2000 and played nine years in Europe before returning when Montreal landed an MLS expansion franchise in 2012.
The Impact have sold more than 25,000 tickets for the home opener, but there is concern about the Big O's shaky roof if it snows.
In the past, games could not be played at the stadium if it snowed in the two days before a game. A team official said this week the rules have been modified so that the game can be played if the forecast for the time of the game is no more than three centimetres of snow.