Houston's Hainault clears the air with Canada manager Hart
TORONTO -- All is well between the Houston Dynamo's Canadian defender Andrew Hainault and Canada's national team head coach Stephen Hart.
“We’re good,” Hainault said with a grin when asked of his relationship with Hart.
Last September, Hainault faced the tough decision: Stay with the Dynamo for the club's late-season playoff push or accept a call-up to the Canadian national team for two World Cup qualifiers against St. Lucia and Puerto Rico?
Hainault opted for the former and it’s believed that his decision caused some friction between him and Hart. The defender was left off the Canadian roster for two more qualifiers the following month.
After Canada’s final training session ahead of Sunday’s game in Toronto against the United States (7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network and Sportsnet), Hainault confirmed that he and his coach had a chance to work everything out and all their issues are now water under the bridge.
WATCH: Hainault on match vs. USA
“I think there was some stuff that was said that maybe wasn’t really the case where stuff maybe got mixed up a little bit. I just tried to clear the air as much as with him—explain to him where I was coming from.”
In the end, neither club nor country suffered. Canada easily moved on by winning their group in qualifying and largely thanks to Hainault’s good form with Houston, the Dynamo advanced all the way to the MLS Cup final.
Hainault scored in a 2-0 win over Portland that clinched the Dynamo a playoff spot and also picked up the winner in the Eastern Conference Final to send the Dynamo to the title game. He has become an important element in the Dynamo defense and he's hoping that form can translate over to the national side.
“I’m really a proud Canadian and I always want to try to help soccer in Canada,” he said. “Obviously I want to qualify for the World Cup.”