“He had to leave Vancouver to work this out,” Schuster said when the trade was announced.
In a statement when the deal was announced, Crepeau called it “personally the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in my professional career.”
Crepeau still keeps his cards close to his chest when it comes to the reason for the move.
“As you can imagine a lot of people have questions, but it’s mostly personal reasons. I’ll be brief, to be fair… My wife, I and our daughter are healthy, that’s the number 1. Because we have received a lot of messages. We are all in good health,” he said in an interview with the Canadian camp.
And he corrected reports that cited “family reasons.”
“It’s not about the family part… At the end of the day, it’s really a personal thing and we’re really happy to be in LA.”
The 40th-ranked Canadian men will face 76th-ranked Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Thursday before returning home to host the 11th-ranked Americans on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Next, head to San Salvador to face number 70 El Salvador on February 2.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Crepeau said. “Is it going to be easy? Not at all.”
“We are expecting a tough week but we know the reality,” he added. “We know everyone will be needed on this roster… We’re ready for this as a group, as a unit.”
He says it helps that many Canadian players grew up playing together.
“Over the years, there is this special bond that connects everyone. There’s a super strong brotherhood in the group that won’t fade over time. He is there forever.
Canada (4-0-4, 16 points) currently lead the standings in the eight-team final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, ahead of the United States (4-1-3, 15 points). ) and Mexico and Panama (both 4-2-2, 14 points).
In March, the top three teams will book their ticket to Qatar 2022, with fourth place taking on a country from Oceania in an intercontinental qualifier to see how to join them.
After that window, John Herdman’s side will wrap up qualifying at the end of March with a home game against Jamaica sandwiched around away fixtures in Costa Rica and Panama.
Crepeau, who has won 14 caps for Canada, is one of three goalkeepers in the camp, along with veteran Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia) and Jayson Leutwiler (Oldham Athletic, England).
Crepeau has yet to join LAFC. He looks forward to flying to California as soon as his international duties are over.
“It’s a great organization,” he said. “They look forward to their fifth season in the league with a clear understanding of culture and winning.”
Crepeau, who says he and his wife are still looking for a home in Los Angeles, says he won’t forget his time in Vancouver.
“They actually gave me a chance to start in the league and I’m grateful for that.” he said. “They gave me a chance to prove myself, to work really hard on a daily basis, and then put my name to the bottom, across the league.”
Crepeau, who missed the majority of the 2021 season with a broken thumb sustained in the MLS Is Back tournament, made 57 regular-season starts with Vancouver and three more in 2017 for Montreal.
He joins fellow goaltenders Tomas Romero and John McCarthy at LAFC.
Romero, 21, played in 28 regular season games last season, including 18 starts. The New Jersey native went 7-8-3 with four shutouts and a 1.56 goals-against average.
Pablo Sisniega and Jamal Blackman also saw action in goal for LAFC last season. Sisniega was out of contract at the end of the year and the club declined Blackman’s option.
Dutch goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer left the club last April while Greg Ranjitsingh, an MLS pool keeper who is now with Toronto FC, joined the roster in September after Sisniega underwent surgery to repair a broken bone nasal.
Crepeau went 10-7-10 with Vancouver last season, recording six shutouts and a 1.15 goals-against average. He was named the Whitecaps Player of the Year, as he was in 2019.
“We consider Maxime to be one of the best goalkeepers in MLS,” LAFC co-chairman and general manager John Thorrington said at the time of the trade. Like us, we know he is determined to win, and his leadership and experience will contribute to our success on the pitch.
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This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 25, 2022.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press