As CF Montreal prepares to play it’s first-ever competitive game in the state of Tennessee, one man who’s no stranger to the venue is captain Sam Piette.
Way back in March 2012, the Montreal captain was the youngest player involved in the Olympic qualifying tournament staged at LP Field (former name for Nissan Stadium), Home Depot Center, Carson, California and Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City.
All six matches in Canada’s group also comprising El Salvador, hosts USA and Cuba, were played at the Nashville venue.
The experience for the 17-year-old Piette was bitter-sweet, for although Canada recorded a memorable 2-0 success over their hosts, conceding a last minute equalizing goal in the last group game to minnows Cuba (0 for and 10 against in previous 2 group games), meant they would face Mexico in the semi-finals and not the eminently more beatable Hondurans.
It was a similar format to the most recent Olympic qualifying tournament held in Guadalajara in March in which the two finalists would advance to the London Olympics.
Piette started the second and third group games for Canada, success over the USA arriving after a dour 0-0 opening stalemate with El Salvador. Lucas Cavallini, then a striker on the books of Nacional (Uruguay) and Doneil Henry (Toronto FC) got the goals in the second-half.
In the last game all Canada needed to do was win against Cuba the group’s whipping boys, but despite taking a first half lead through Montreal Impact’s Evan James, they couldn’t close the deal, Maykel Reyes gabbing an unlikely equalizer in the 90th minute giving Cuba it’s only point and goal.
With El Salvador and the USA playing later and Mexico almost certain to win Group B, Canada’s fate was pretty much sealed. As the second-placed team they would face the opponent every team preferred to avoid, Mexico, in a Kansas City semi-final.
As it happened, El Salvador shocked the US, tying things up at 3-3 in the fourth minute of added time to win the Group and eliminate the hosts.
Five days later in Kansas City Piette started against the Mexicans. Although Marcus Haber managed to level things in the 32nd minute, current Sporting KC striker Alan Pulido restored Mexico’s lead within 60 seconds. El Tri added another in the second-half.
A second yellow card for Doneil Henry 13 minutes from time pretty much put a lid on the result and a place at the Olympics had gone despite prospects having looked fairly promising a week previously.
There’s another Montreal connection before concluding our tale, although not involving Nissan Stadium or Nashville.
It involves Romell Quioto who put Honduras ahead in the 2nd half of the final in Kansas City, only for Mexico to stage a comeback and be crowned champions after extra-time.
Quioto didn’t make the final Honduras squad for The 2012 Games, but 4 years later in Brazil he was in the selected as part of the squad which finished 4th.
As well as those already mentioned Piette’s colleagues in the Canadian squad included, Kyle Bekker and Russell Teibert, while the US squad had called upon the likes of, Bill Hamid, Zarek Valentin, Juan Agudelo, Freddy Adu and Brek Shea.
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 26). Recorded Wednesday evening (21 April), the TBIR team discusses the Nashville SC v CFM clash (with special guest Wes Boling of Nashville SC Radio and Club & County podcast), looks back on the #TORONTO WIN!!!! ... and addresses The Super League Fiasco - Greed, Greed, Greed...
They talk the Montreal football issues of the week and cover all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine Social Media & CHOICES... Don’t miss it!
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