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MLS | Maxime Crépeau in the “cauldron” of Los Angeles

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It was May 10th. LAFC had just moved on to the round of 16 of the United States Football Cup. And Maxime Crépeau, on the pitch at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, was blackmailed by the fans of his new club. It was his birthday the next day, after all.

Posted at 6:00

Jean-Francois Teotonio

Jean-Francois Teotonio
The print

We already felt that the Quebec goalkeeper was in symbiosis with the team that had acquired him four months earlier. And, above all, with the groups of his supporters.

“When I arrived in the city of Los Angeles, even before the season started, I went to meet the leaders “, Explains Crépeau during a virtual interview with The print.

The leaders – which in Italian means “heads” – are the leaders or even the conductors of the stands. They have their backs to the game and direct the chants and vibes emanating from the fans.

“For me it was the least we could do to sit down with them, shake their hand and talk. In this way, the integration happened naturally. Understand the magnitude of things. Their mentality. What they ask of you. ”

Especially since in front of his net, Maxime Crépeau is a few meters away from those who create one of the most beautiful atmospheres of MLS: The 3252, the independent union of LAFC fans.

“In the beginning, pay attention,” he says. You have the ear, because I’m right next to it. But the longer the season, the more you fit in and it’s part of your gaming experience. ”

You don’t need any extra motivation. The stadium is a cauldron. It’s noisy. Is strong. They affect the energy and how the team can respond.

Massimo Crepeau

Looking for trophies

Crépeau and his team return it to him. LAFC dominates the league in 2022, with 57 points after 28 games, although the top spot was just stolen from them by the Philadelphia Union (60 points, two games in hand). His place in the playoffs was secured with seven games left on the schedule.

The Greenfield Park goalkeeper has started all but one of the games. And he helped the Black & Gold to score the second-lowest goal in the league against the total.

Not bad for a player looking for new challenges after three years with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

His swap from western Canada to California had the effect of a bomb last January. It’s that Crépeau, after having had the best season of his career, got asked to be traded. The Whitecaps had mentioned a “special request” of him, while he spoke of “personal reasons”.


PHOTO JEFFREY SWINGER, USA TODAY SPORT ARCHIVIS

Maxime Crépeau with the Vancouver Whitecaps in April 2021

The result: the biggest goalkeeper swap ever in MLS, a position whose players aren’t always the most coveted. LAFC was sending $ 1 million in general allocation money to Caps, spread over four years, as well as a first-round SuperDraft pick in 2025.

During his interview with The print several months later, he says there were “different reasons behind the swap”.

It was an accumulation. In short, I would have turned 28 this year. I talked to my agent and we said “Is Vancouver the place I want to be?” Is this where my career will advance, push? “I’ve been there for three years. We had to find a solution in a club where we wanted to get trophies.

Massimo Crepeau

The Whitecaps qualified for the playoffs in 2021. LAFC did not. The opposite scenario is taking place in 2022, with Wings dominating, despite some recent downturns. It goes without saying that his bet paid off.

“There is no ego”

Training at his team’s Performance Center just finished. Crépeau sits on the terrace of the structures built on the California State University campus in the eastern part of the city.

Before we let him go about his business, we can’t help but ask him about the acquisitions of superstars Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini by LAFC, which showed its ambitions this summer.


PHOTO JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA, USA SPORTS ARCHIVE TODAY

Gareth Bale

“It’s great to be with these guys,” says Crépeau. They are good-natured. They have a good head on their shoulders. We agree that we have some cool names in our locker room, but there is no ego. This is what is magnificent. Everyone is there for the group, not for themselves. ”

“Their experience, their calm, their experience, these are things you can’t buy. Next, you can see their effect on the group. Once you find those names, the level of the group in general increases. ”

He is asked if they have been telling him anecdotes of their international journey since their arrival.

And Crépeau replied with a laugh: “We have anecdotes, but I can’t tell them! ”

Canada in the lead?

With all this, there is still an international hiatus in a few weeks. And Maxime Crépeau does not hide that he is still trying to get “minutes” with the Canadian team, even if Milan Borjan is currently the undisputed star of John Herdman, and in view of the World Cup in November. .

“Every goalkeeper wants to play, explains Crépeau. Just like every player wants to play. Everyone wants to have time to play, it is the fact that we are professionals and we always want to reach the next level. ”

He qualifies himself by indicating that he knows his role in the team.

Also, the goalkeeper always says he has “difficulties [se] project beyond the next game “.

“I focus on one thing at a time,” he said, referring to the MLS season. But yeah, I’m thinking about it. Because once you get there, you are with all your teammates. Everyone is happy. We haven’t been together for three months. ”

“It is really nice to find the team mates and the colors of Canada. ”

Taking a step forward … when you leave Montreal


PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Maxime Crépeau with Montreal Impact in 2017

The “turning point” in Maxime Crépeau’s career was when he was loaned from Impact to the Ottawa Fury in 2018. Because until then he had only been a reserve behind Evan Bush, in particular.

“As a goalkeeper, you have to have a whole season behind you to know a little who you are. […] You have to learn a little about how to manage yourself and how to manage a whole year. When I arrived in Ottawa, I learned a lot about myself. And I knew I had another level in my game. ”

He wanted to return to Montreal for the 2019 season. But he asked to be swapped because Evan Bush was his favorite for the starting position at the time. “I have no problem with that,” he says today.

“In Vancouver, that’s where I really took off. It was the gesture in which I said: “OK, I can assert myself in the league”. Vancouver was hugely important to me, with my three years there. ”

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