Including the stoppages at the end of the second half, Samuel Piette played for about 12 minutes on Saturday afternoon at Subaru Park. The videoconference he took part in after the match lasted 11 minutes 30 seconds!
Journalists have long known that Piette is generous in his responses. What no one could guess, especially the main stakeholder, was the day Piette would finally take part in a CF Montreal game in 2022, and how he would feel during and after.
The answers to these questions came in the 82nd minute of a duel that ended in a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union. As a result, Wilfried Nancy’s men played a fifth game in a row (3-0-2) without suffering defeat after a start to the campaign marked by three losses in a row.
Moreover, by playing a fourth game in a row (2-0-2) without losses on foreign courts, the Montreal team equaled a team record established in 2016 and repeated the following season.
For his part, Piette appeared relieved and happy to have taken this step after an absence which lasted three long months, trying to recover from an injury which he described as quite frustrating.
“It’s very pleasing, that’s for sure. My return to the game, for me, is a victory because it was a long process. To be able to walk the pitch today (Saturday), for me, is a great accomplishment. I was looking forward to playing this year, I was looking forward to being on the pitch and helping my team,” Piette first described.
The Quebec midfielder was also satisfied with the context in which he came into the game.
“To be able to play a few minutes with a 1-1 result, to close the game a bit and to bring that serenity to the midfield and into the game, that’s one of my strengths if we can say. To have had a scenario which ensured that I was able to enter and to have some impact in terms of the result, it feels a lot of good, ”he also underlined.
Piette was wearing Canada’s uniform when he suffered a left ankle injury Jan. 27 in Honduras as part of the Concacaf World Cup qualifier. If he was able to play a little on Saturday, that does not mean that he is fully recovered, he admitted.
“I’m not 100 percent on the pain in my ankle. I think it’s something that’s going to drag on for a little while. On the other hand, it is something that I am able to manage, and (a pain) with which I can play. »
Beyond the ankle is general fitness which can be a concern after such a long absence. Especially in a sport where the intensity level can increase in time with the snap of a finger.
“When you haven’t played for a long time and you come on the pitch, it’s a bit, to use the English term, ‘hectic’ (frantic) at the beginning, because you are excited to return to the game. , you are nervous because you want to do well, you have to find your rhythm quickly, ”he recalled.
“After one or two sprints, I lost my breath a bit and was quite tired. These are things that happen to everyone when it’s been a long time since you’ve played. Afterwards, I found my second wind and I felt good. Quite simply, to find the ground and these feelings of competition did a lot of good. »
In Piette’s mind, another element did a lot of good on Saturday: the final outcome of the match. A match which, by the way, will never be included in a DVD box recounting the most spectacular duels in the history of MLS.
It should be remembered, however, that the Philadelphia Union were not an easy opponent, with their first place in the Eastern Conference standings, their five wins in seven games before Saturday’s meeting, including three in a row at home. signed using whitewashes.
“We knew it would be a tough test to win our duels, win our battles and then let our game do the work. It was complicated at times because ‘Philly’ caused us some problems”, analyzed Piette.
“But in the end, he continued, I think that when you are abroad and you take a point, it is always a small victory. I won’t hide it; Of course, we would have liked to leave with the three points. But it’s a good point against a very good team, a direct rival and another game without losing. »