Home Global Game CONCACAF Occean can’t stop scoring — for Canada and in Germany

Occean can’t stop scoring — for Canada and in Germany

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Striker Olivier Occean made a successful return to the national team against St. Lucia, scoring two goals in Friday’s night World Cup qualifying win.

He last represented Canada in its first match of this year, a friendly against Greece in February, however, he wasn’t selected to the Gold Cup roster in the summer. He later stirred up some controversy when he mentioned on a radio show that he wasn’t happy about how he was treated by the national team.

Hart did call up Occean for the September qualifiers, but he had to pull out due to a minor injury. Occean has had a great start this season having scored five goals in nine matches for German side SpVgg Greuther Furth, which is at the top of the Bundesliga 2 table. After all that has happened this year, he’s happy to be playing well in Germany and to be back with the national team.

“It feels great, always felt that I could contribute a lot to the national side and here I am and I hope against Puerto Rico I’ll show again that I deserve to be here,” said Occean Sunday.

“That’s two different things – club and national team – but it helps a lot for confidence of a player. As of now I’m doing good in Germany and hopefully it keeps on going here.”

Occean is not one to stand around on the pitch and likes to get involved in the play by coming to the ball and finding open space wherever he can.

“Well as a striker you have to move around – some types of striker like to stand there but I like to part of the play and the buildup,” added Occean. “I like to get the ball and also make runs for my teammates and move different positions. Depends also on the type of game we play.”

Coach Stephen Hart will most likely have Occean back in the starting XI against Puerto Rico but will be without Will Johnson. The midfielder suffered an ankle sprain on Friday after taking a hard challenge early in the first half. He was taken out of the game in the 17th minute and has since returned to his MLS club Real Salt Lake for further treatment. Hart would not comment on who will replace him in lineup but said no replacement will be called to fill Johnson’s roster spot.

“Some (lineup decisions) were forced upon us – unfortunately we lost Will,” said Hart. So I have to consider what the midfield shape will be like but other than that I think in my head I know what the lineup will be…but I’m not going to do Puerto Rico’s scouting for them at this point.”

Canada leads Group D with nine points having won its three games and has a four point cushion on second-place St. Kitts and Nevis whom it will play twice in November. Puerto Rico is third with two points and St. Lucia sits last with no points.

Canada will kickoff against Puerto Rico at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday night at BMO Field.

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