June 10, 2023
Canada men's national team 'devastated' by news of Crepeau's broken leg ahead of FIFA World Cup - TSN.ca

Canada men’s national team ‘devastated’ by news of Crepeau’s broken leg ahead of FIFA World Cup – TSN.ca

Canada’s first training session on Monday at a pre-World Cup training camp in Bahrain was marred by the sad news that goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was back in the United States to recover from leg surgery.

Crepeau sustained an injury while playing for Los Angeles FC in Saturday’s MLS Cup Finals. The injury came in overtime when the 28-year-old from Candiac, Que., rushed from his box for a embezzled back pass, only to collide heavily with oncoming Philadelphia forward Cory Burke.

Crepeau, who left the game on a cart, was red carded in the game for denying a scoring opportunity. Substitute keeper John McCarthy helped LAFC to a penalty shootout win and was named MVP of the game.

“I think everyone is just devastated by how it turned out,” Canada coach John Herdman said on Monday. “We lost (defender) Scott Kennedy earlier in the week and then how it played out for Max – just so late in the game and a situation where he had to put his body on the line. It was such a sad moment.

“I think it shook a lot of people. The injury also looked pretty bad on TV. It was a tough moment I think not only for the staff but also for the player group here. With genuine concern at the level of this injury.”

LAFC said Sunday’s surgery to repair Crepeau’s right leg was successful. Vancouver Whitecaps keeper Thomas Hasal has been called up to the Bahrain camp.

Kennedy was ruled out of the World Cup last week after injuring his shoulder at his German club SSV Jahn Regensburg.

There was better news on Sunday from Alphonso Davies, who walked out of Bayern Munich’s game at Hertha Berlin on Saturday with the back of his right leg. The German club then said that a thigh strain would sideline the Canadian for the club’s remaining two games before the World Cup break but would not keep Davies out of the tournament.

“It’s been a tough couple of hours, I can tell you that,” Herdman said.

The 41st-ranked Canadians open their World Cup campaign on November 23 in Qatar against Belgium, ranked 2nd.

When asked if he expected Davies to be ready by then, Herdman was hopeful but realistic.

“FC Bayern Munich’s initial assessment suggests that his recovery could hit the mark,” said the coach. “As long as everything goes according to plan with the recovery, we expect Alphonso to be available for (Canada) in the Belgium game.

“But you never know injuries like this. Sometimes it’s not always straight lines. We won’t count our chickens until Alphonso actually shows up in the area. He will stay at Bayern Munich to reach his full potential.” Recovery with Bayern for as long as necessary.”

The camp in Bahrain is for off-season players, with the exception of midfielder Liam Fraser (KMSK Deinze, Belgium) from Major League Soccer. European clubs will play games up to the FIFA release date of November 14 for players going to the tournament.

Canada plays No. 85 Bahrain in Manama on Thursday. Once the full squad is assembled, he will play a final warm-up game against No. 24 Japan on November 17 in Dubai.

Herdman said he doubted the team would see Davies until after the Japan game.

Crepeau, who has 15 caps for Canada, was set to back Milan Borjan in Qatar, likely alongside Minnesota United’s Dayne St Clair.

Crepeau was due to join St Clair and CF Montreal’s James Pantemis at the Bahrain camp.

Crepeau’s absence leaves Herdman with no experienced cover for Borjan, the 35-year-old Red Star Belgrade goalkeeper who has 67 caps for Canada.

St. Clair has a cap to his credit, while Pantemis has no cap. Both are 25 years old.

“I think it’s always a problem when the experience isn’t there,” Herdman said. “But if I look at Dayne St. Clair and James Pantemis, they’ve had a lot of those experiences with the team. You bought into the culture. They understand what it means to represent Canada (team) in this new one. And they have earned the right to be here too.

“They were just important parts of this journey and always showed up and had the right attitude and character. So I think that that element of experience is trumped with the excitement and just the desire and opportunity to hopefully get that chance they might get that they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. That will be playing time in the game against Bahrain and also in the game against Japan. … It’s a huge opportunity for someone like Dayne St. Clair, who’s had a real breakout season with Minnesota.”

Hasal, 23, does not have a cap but played for Canada as a youth player.

Herdman’s players had a light training session on Monday.

“The boys came in humming,” he said. “They are very happy to be back together. We made it quite clear to them that the focus is on a strong performance against Bahrain and staying in the present. The future will take care of itself.”

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 7, 2022

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