Canadians are accustomed to playing the role of the underdog in soccer – and sometimes, the little guy comes out on top.
Such was the case for Olivier Occean’s (pictured above) FC Kaiserslautern, which notched an extra-time upset victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the DfB-Pokal quarterfinals last Wednesday. Occean started and went 85 minutes for his club, who will now face Bayern Munich in the cup semifinals in April. Could another giant-slaying be in the cards for the second-division club?
Occean wasn’t the only Canadian whose club notched a victory this week; in fact, wins seemed to be the order of the day for most Canadians abroad.
Pedro Pacheco went his usual full 90 for CD Santa Clara in a 2-0 win over Beira-Mar on Sunday, while Julian de Guzman was similarly solid in midfield for Skoda Xanthi in their 1-0 victory over Kalloni on Saturday.
Atiba Hutchinson picked up a yellow card (his second in two weeks) for Besiktas in their 1-0 win over Bursaspor. Elsewhere in Turkey, Tosaint Ricketts played nearly the whole game (subbed out in stoppage time) as Bucaspor eked out a 1-0 victory against Adana Demirspor.
How about Nik Ledgerwood? Did his club win? You bet. He went the full 90 for MSV Duisburg in a 3-2 win over Rot-Weiss Erfurt. And Samuel Piette? What do you think? Fortuna Dusseldorf II 5, Rot-Weiss Essen 0, with young Piette going the distance for the former.
Daniel Haber got back into the lineup for Apollon Limassol, his first appearance in two months. He came on as a 70th-minute sub and, wouldn’t you know it, Apollon won 3-0 over Enosis.
Lucas Cavallini started and went 68 minutes for Fénix and picked up a yellow card in their 3-0 win over Racing, while Randy Edwini-Bonsu came on late in the second half for Stuttgarter Kickers and helped preserve a 1-0 win over Osnabruck.
Simeon Jackson got into the game on Saturday as part of a triple substitution early in the second half for Millwall, but his side could manage just a 1-1 draw with Bolton, ruining that run of wins.
In other Canadian national-team news: Despite a rumor circulating that Canada could play a friendly against El Salvador next month, the Canadian Soccer Association told MLSsoccer.com that they “do not anticipate” any international friendlies in March.