The Vancouver Whitecaps are looking to rebound from their 3-1 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes as they travel to Montreal to face the Impact on Wednesday 8 p.m. ET at the Stade Saputo — but this isn’t just another road trip for some members of the ‘Caps.
Once again, Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau is expected to be the main protagonist. The Montreal native was outstanding against San Jose on Saturday, and his 16 saves broke the record for most saves made in a Major League Soccer game — and now he heads to a place he calls home to try to put in another shining performance.
“It is but it is not,” Crépeau said when asked about whether it was special to face his hometown club. “Every time you go back home, to your former club or your motherland it is sort of special because your friends and family will be there. In the meantime, it is business, as usual, the pregame preparations will be no different than any other game.”
“Once the whistle blows you do what you need to do, and you don’t change anything,” Crépeau said.
For the 25-year-old keeper, that means continuing what has been an outstanding season. Named to the MLS team of the week Crépeau has been among the best keepers in the league all season. Not bad for a goalkeeper, who the Whitecaps traded for in exchange for $50,000 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and a third-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
“I am looking forward to going back, to see my friends and family,” Crépeau said.
On the pitch, both Montreal and Vancouver are looking to rebound from negative results.
Montreal recently fired head coach Remi Garde and hired Wilmer Cabrera, but hopes of an immediate response in the derby against Toronto FC were crushed in the Impact’s 2-1 defeat against their major rivals. Vancouver, meanwhile, have Crépeau to thank for preventing the loss to the Quakes from turning into a massacre — although head coach Marc Dos Santos’ team probably played their worst game of the season, Crépeau had an all-time best day in goal.
“In this league, everyone can beat anyone,” Crépeau said. “For us, the object is to get as many points as possible and to get as high in the standings as possible.”
Crépeau, however, is not the only Whitecap with a special connection to Montreal. Like his goalkeeper, Dos Santos was born and grew up in the city. Furthermore, from 2009 to 2011, Dos Santos coached the Impact in the North American Soccer League.
“Montreal for me is a place that is special,” Dos Santos said. “It is a place that has a lot of importance because I never forget the club that gave me the first opportunity and I am always grateful and thankful for that.”
“The focus, however, is not about Maxime or me, it about the Whitecaps coming to Montreal and getting the result we want,” Dos Santos added.
The head coach expressed disappointment after the game against San Jose but also stressed that it would be essential to get straight back to work and get a positive result.
“The guys showed many times this year that they are able to bounce back,” Dos Santos said. “I do not doubt that we will bounce back tomorrow.”