03/20/2014 05:09 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

New captain Bernier excited for Impact's home opener against Seattle

MONTREAL - Patrice Bernier is ready to play his first home game since being named captain of the Montreal 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.

Weather permitting, the Impact will play their home opener Saturday against the Seattle Sounders at Olympic Stadium.

"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.

An announcement is to be made at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday — 24 hours before kickoff — whether the game will be played on Saturday. If not, it would be played Sunday.