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Two years after a busted leg, Canada's keeper gets set for the Copa quarterfinal


If Canada is to continue its historic run in the Copa America, it will need its keeper from Montreal's South Shore to continue his fine form.

Maxime Crepeau was the starting keeper for LAFC in 2022 when he broke his leg in extra time of the MLS Cup final, three days before Canada set off for the World Cup in Qatar.

Two years later, the Greenfield Park native has been stellar between the frames for Canada, having made several spectacular saves en route to the team's first time out of the group stages at an international tournament.

"What Max has been able to accomplish, personally, has to be one of the more rewarding things that an athlete can accomplish," Team Canada CEO Kevin Blue told CTV News. "From the devastating injury to now being a feature part of the national team and really, his performances in the last while have been superb and have really, really made a difference in helping us move forward in the tournament. I'm sure he feels super good about it."

In addition to making the second round of an international tournament for the first time, Canada beat a South American team (Peru) for the first time in 24 years and made it further than both southern rivals: Mexico and the USA.

Canada now finds itself in rare waters in the second round as the 48th-ranked red and white squad will not be the underdogs against 54th-ranked Venezuela tonight at 9 p.m. in Arlington, Texas.

Venezuela, however, has not lost in the Copa, beating Ecuador, Jamaica and Mexico to clinch first place in their group.

Crepeau is one of several lesser-known Canadian players who are shining at the Copa, showing that they can run with established superstars Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies.

"They are focused on themselves they're focused on continuing to get better every day, and [coach] Jesse [Marsh] is doing a great job instilling those type of values in the players," said Blue.

In addition to Crepeau, defender Moise Bombito and midfielders Samuel Piette, Ismael Kone and Mathieu Choiniere all hail from La Belle Province.

"The Quebec players in the national team are a huge part of the team," said Blue. "We've seen Moise Bombito really emerged as an anchor to the backline. And, and his maturity as a player has been very rapid in the last several years, and it's really showing throughout this tournament."

St-Laurent-bred 22-year-old Kone may well prove vital in this tournament particularly after midfielder Tajon Buchanan's injury. Kone is on track to be one of the key points of the team heading towards 2026 when Canada, the US and Mexico host the World Cup.

"[He's] excellent in terms of his contributions, and his future being very, very bright," said Blue.

Canada's Ismael Kone during a Copa America Group A soccer match in Kansas City, Kan., Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (Ed Zurga, The Associated Press)

Blue is confident Canadian soccer fans will begin to see more and more players play prominent roles in clubs on an international stage.

"As the players continue to show what they're capable of on these types of global stages, they're going to get lots of attention from the biggest clubs in the biggest leagues," said Blue. "And as Canada continues to produce excellent talent on both the men's and the women's sides, I think you're going to see an increasing number of players have really significant global value in football." Top Stories

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