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Canadians in action: Red-hot David bags brace

Jonathan David Lille Jonathan David - Ligue 1

Red-hot Jonathan David starred for Lille again, while a pair of Canadians played key roles in MLS victories and Mauro Biello will hope an injury to Alphonso Davies isn't too serious.

Here's a look at Canadians in action over the weekend.

Jonathan David, Lille - After a slow start to the season, Jonathan David has begun to score at will and Lille needed his prowess more than ever on Sunday when a defeat to Rennes seemed inevitable until some late magic from the Canada forward saved the day. Les Dogues found themselves behind almost instantly. From the opening kick, Rennes maintained possession and Benjamin Bourigeaud's deep cross to the far post found Ludovic Blas to poke home and make it 1-0 after just :53 seconds. The visitors picked up a second 20 minutes in, taking advantage of some exceptionally leisurely defending from LOSC. After Lille failed to clear from a Rennes attack for a third time, David turned the ball over to Azor Matusiwa, who found Amine Gouri. Gouri spotted Arnaud Kalimuendo streaking into the box. While Kalimuendo's shot was a hard one and from a sharp angle, Lucas Chevalier could have perhaps done better, but regardless, it was 2-0 and the home fans were getting restless. David rang a shot off of the post in first-half stoppage, but Rennes' lead felt comfortable. The hosts finally broke through in the 84th. Nineteen-year-old Trevis Dago did well to find David in behind a pair of defenders. Taking the ball with his right foot, David beat Steve Mandanda through the wickets with his left to pull LOSC within one in the closing minutes of the match. Les Dogues then put their foot on the gas looking for an equalizer and were rewarded in the second minute of stoppage. Yusuf Yazici sent a picture-perfect cross the front of the net that was met by a powerful Remy Cabella header, but Mandanda made the point-blank save. The rebound fell for David whose poacher's instincts took over to poke home and earn Lille a 2-2 draw. The goals took David to 14 on the season, now second in the league in goal-scoring behind Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe with 21. While David has 10 fewer goals than he did last season, he scored 10 of those on penalties last year. He only has one penalty goal this season. The point kept Les Dogues in fourth place and in the final Champions League spot on 42 points, clear of Lens on goal differential.


Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich - While Bayern Munich ran roughshod over Mainz in an 8-1 rout to get back to winning ways on Saturday, it wasn't all good news for the Bundesliga giants. Making just his second start after a three-week injury layoff with a knee ailment, Alphonso Davies needed to come off in the 18th minute and was replaced by Raphael Guerreiro. Davies took an accidental boot to the face from Switzerland defender Silvan Widmer. There was no foul on the play because the Mainz man was attempting to play the ball. After the match, embattled manager Thomas Tuchel said the team was hopeful the injury to Davies wasn't too bad. "He's at the dentist because he had a heavy hit there," Tuchel said. "We hope that it's not too bad." But the timing couldn't be worse for Canada should this be a longer-term issues. The CanMNT is set for a one-game playoff against Trinidad and Tobago near Houston on March 23 for a berth in this summer's Copa America. Canada is a heavy favourite in the match, but the loss of talisman Davies would be hugely consequential and something Mauro Biello hopes he doesn't need to contend with in what will be the most important match of his interim tenure as manager.


Jacen Russell-Rowe, Columbus Crew - One of Canada's most exciting young attacking talents, Jacen Russell-Rowe, opened his account for 2024 on Saturday as the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew picked up a very late win against the visiting Chicago Fire. Both teams squandered early chances to find the game's opening goal until Toronto's Russell-Rowe, a Toronto FC academy product, took matters into his own hands...well, feet. Picking up a pass at midfield from Malte Amundsen, Russell-Rowe raced forward and unleashed a low drive with power from outside the box past a diving Christopher Brady to make it 1-0 in the 68th. It was Russell-Rowe's first goal of the season and fifth in a Crew short. Russell-Rowe has yet to score in four senior team appearances. The Crew's lead was short-lived, however. Only four minutes later, the Fire were level, but not without some VAR assistance. Fabian Herbers scored in the 72nd after some fine work from Maren Haile-Selassie, only for the flag to go up immediately for offside. After a pitchside monitor check, the referee confirmed a good goal and pointed to midfield. Minutes later, Russell-Rowe almost bagged a second, shooting from similar distance, but this time Brady was up to the challenge and made a diving stop. He thought he had a winner in the ninth minute of stoppage when he pushed an effort from Diego Rossi over the line, but the goal was rightly ruled off with Rossi offside in the buildup. Just when it appeared the points would be split, the Crew found a winner. With the Fire backline asleep at the wheel, Russell-Rowe broke forward and set up Rossi. His shot was dealt with by Brady, but Mohamed Farsi was there to poke home the rebound to send the fans home happy with a 2-1 win.


Ali Ahmed, Vancouver Whitecaps - The Vancouver Whitecaps picked up their first victory of the season on Saturday away to the San Jose Earthquakes thanks in large part to Canada forward Ali Ahmed. The Toronto native rounded out the scoring in a 2-0 win. The hosts' best chance in the early going came from a Cristian Espinoza free kick in the 15th from distance, but Yohei Takaoka got over to cover the near post and make the save. He would make another fine save after the restart, pushing a hard volley from Amahl Pellegrino away from the far post in the 53rd. With chances coming at a premium, the Whitecaps broke through in the 74th. From a corner, Ranko Veselinovic's header was blocked, but it fell outside the area to Alessandro Schopf, who opened the scoring with a low drive from distance. Ahmed put the match to bed in the 86th. Doing well to keep a hard pass from Veselinovic from going out, Ahmed came down the left side and chipped over Tommy Thompson to take a run at goal. With Daniel coming out to cut the angle, Ahmed used Bruno Wilson as a screen and fired home with a fine strike into the far corner. The goal was Ahmed's first of the season and third of his three-year Whitecaps career. Like Russell-Rowe, Ahmed has yet to find the back of the net in a Canada shirt.