By: Zerlina Tang
Maxime Crepeau, an outstanding goalkeeper for LAFC with a long soccer career, was seriously injured. His right leg was absolutely seen crushed, and that indicated that his golden days in soccer were officially over. After three days, the Canadian national team would depart without him for its first World Cup in 36 years. Crepeau hasn’t appeared in a game in nine months since his injury.
However, Crepeau remains focused and dedicated to his career. He’s practicing again, but still not able to play games. “We don’t want to do anything that would put pressure on this. Right now, it’s really a week-to-week thing. Max is going to come back at the right moment, at the right time,” said Marc Dos Santos, the LAFC assistant coach who gave Crepeau his start in professional soccer with the Montreal Impact in 2010 when he was a 15-year-old.
Crepeau’s career was changed by a play in which LAFC teammate Jesus Murillo sent a poor back ball toward his own goal late in extra time of last November’s MLS Cup final. Cory Burke of the Philadelphia Union capitalized on the error, racing toward the ball with just Crepeau standing between him and the game-winning goal. The goalkeeper was the first to arrive, scooping the ball away and bringing Burke down with an ugly slide tackle that saved the game—but also shattered Crepeau’s right leg.
While Crepeau was being taken to the hospital, John McCarthy took over in goal and made two saves in the deciding penalty shootout, earning game MVP honors and bringing LAFC its first league championship. McCarthy’s start in Dallas on Saturday was his ninth in 32 days and his 25th overall this season. That’s more than double his previous high, yet the MLS season is just halfway over.
Nine months later, McCarthy remains as goalie, where he has already recorded career highs for games, starts, minutes, wins and shutouts for LAFC. Crepeau, who recorded MLS career highs in the same five categories last year, said he’s happy for his teammate. “We’re like brothers, so I don’t see it as he’s taking my job. It’s more we are a crew helping the team lift trophies. I see it more as a collective,” said Crepeau, 29, who led the league with 21 wins in 2022. Crepeau had to miss out on the World Cup because of his injury. However, when he got better, Crepeau made a step forward, and stated that physically, he felt well. And also, not playing on the team wasn’t all bad since he was able to spend more quality time with his family.
Crepeau, however, might be back on the field shortly. The team is set to play four more games in the following two weeks before the month-long Leagues Cup begins. And now, what everyone is waiting for is Crepeau’s return to the field.