PIETTE_LOVITZ_FRE

Frenemies

Impact’s Samuel Piette and Daniel Lovitz to face off in crucial matchup

Lots of cool things happened in 1985. The first Back to the Future, a cinematic classic still watched to this day, was officially released in theatres; Michael Jordan was named Rookie of the Year in the NBA, the first part of the illustrious career that was to follow; and the Canadian Men’s National team, under English manager Tony Waiters, defeated the United States of America, 2-0 in a friendly game in Vancouver.

It’s the last time the Canadian Men’s National team won against the United States in a soccer game. Since then, the Reds have a record of no wins, nine draws and eight losses against our neighbours to the South.

But this will be the first time Canada takes on the Stars and Stripes under head coach John Herdman and this isn’t the same Canada as in the past. The Reds have looked stronger than ever under their new head coach and the new structure in place, and Impact midfielder Samuel Piette is a huge part of that.

And this time around, he’ll get to face his teammate Daniel Lovitz, who was called-up by the USMNT for the upcoming window.

“We talk about it, for sure,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “We haven’t gotten into the details yet, but we’re very excited, of course. Personally, when I play against the US, it’s always more special. They’re our main rivals, and it’s a very important game for Concacaf rankings. Now, I also have a chance to face a teammate, in a game this important. It’ll be special. I’m pretty sure we’ll exchange jerseys at the end, even though I won’t hesitate to tackle him during the game.”

“It’s a great matchup,” said defender Daniel Lovitz. “I don’t remember the last time the United States and Canada faced, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be wearing my country’s colours when it did happen, and that a close teammate of mine would be wearing the other ones. It’s awesome. There’s a little bit of talking going around, but I won’t share the specifics.”

A lot on the line

This game against the United States, and the one to follow in a month’s time, are important for many reasons; Canada would have an opportunity to finish atop of Group A, in League A of the Concacaf Nations League, meaning they’ll qualify to the semi-final of the inaugural tournament, where all four group winners in League A will face off to decide a winner.

But favourable results in these upcoming games will also increase Canada’s chances of qualifying to the Hex, the six top-ranked Concacaf teams in the FIFA rankings, and the main way to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

If Canada can qualify for the Hex, which is feasible, as the country is now ranked seventh and just five points behind El Salvador, in sixth, they’ll play home-and-away matches against the other teams in the group, with the top three teams qualifying to the 2022 World Cup. Of course, that means doing something the team hasn’t done since 1985. And Daniel Lovitz wants to make sure that streak continues.

“Will I trade my jersey with him? It depends on how the game goes. If we lose, I’m not trading it with anyone,” joked Lovitz. “I never really focus on stuff like that after the game. As far as I know, my mom is collecting all of them.”

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