Forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored the opener and assisted the second of Canada's scores in a 2-0 victory over Jamaica; midfielder Samuel Piette got the secondary assist on Jonathan Osorio's goal, picking out Jackson-Hamel, who flicked it neatly into the path of Osorio.
“It was a fun game; fun to play here in Toronto,” Jackson-Hamel said. “For me, it's different to call it home, but it was nice to see the fans supporting you.”
Jackson-Hamel has been making a name for himself this season, his fourth in MLS, having scored seven goals and added three assists in limited minutes with the Impact, more often than not from the bench.
“A big night for [Anthony],” said Piette, of his Montreal and Canada teammate. “He's working really hard, having success with Montreal and now coming in with the national team. He scored against Curacao in Montreal, here in Toronto scores again, assists on Oso's goal. Very happy for him, he deserves it all.”
Octavio Zambrano called Jackson-Hamel one of the “best players” in the recent camp.
“He's a very good finisher,” Zambrano said. “He has a tremendous future because he's one of the coolest in front of goal. As a coach, you always want more out of a player, be more mobile, more tricky moves to get himself open, but the most difficult part of this game is to be calm and collected in front of goal – he has that.”
Could such a display with the national team spur more starts back at the club?
“I made my statement,” Jackson-Hamel said. “Everybody knows I want to start every game, so it was good for me to put the ball in the back of the net and prove that I can do it when I start.”
Piette too was singled out for praise by Zambrano, who said the midfielder skill set was perhaps underappreciated by those with an untrained eye.
“[Samuel] has been one of the main reasons that we can play the type of game that we're trying to play,” Zambrano said. “He's the balance that we need when we move the ball forward. If there is a breakdown, we can count on him to quickly assess the situation and get the ball back for us. He's not only a good passer, a good link, out of the back, but he smells the game. He knows where to be; the first one to attack [defensive] space. Without that type of commitment, it's difficult.”
With Toronto FC and the Impact set to clash twice more this season at BMO Field, both players will be hoping that this strong outing for Les Rouges translates to results when they put back on Montreal's Bleu-blanc-noir.
Just don't ask them to like it.
“It's hard for us to say we like Toronto, but it's good,” Jackson-Hamel cracked. “We're all together. Montreal, Toronto, all the cities. When we play for Canada, it's one team; but when we play in MLS, it's different.”