On Wednesday night of last week, Evan Bush picked up what looked like an innocuous yellow card in stoppage time of the Montreal Impact's 1-1 draw with Club America in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final. After Oribe Peralta had equalized in the 89th minute, Bush punted the ball towards the center circle in an effort to restart the game, and also appeared to be slapped in the face by a Club America player. The yellow was controversial, because Bush had picked one up in the semifinals, meaning he is suspended for this Wednesday's second leg.
Montreal have appealed the suspension to CONCACAF, but have yet to hear back. According to a report published in Goal.com, they filed their appeal on Thursday, April 23rd. Typically, CONCACAF respond to appeals within 48 hours but the Impact have yet to hear back. As such, they are seriously considering signing another goalkeeper on an emergency, short-term loan for the final.
The Impact have two other healthy goalkeepers on their roster: Eric Kronberg and John Smits. Kronberg is cup tied due to his participation with Sporting Kansas City back in the group stages. Their third choice goalkeeper, Maxime Crepeau, is still returning to fitness after a length injury layoff and is relatively inexperienced. That leaves Montreal with only Smits available to play in the final. Smits, acquired earlier in April on a short-term emergency loan, was just there to provide depth. Now, the on-loan FC Edmonton keeper could find himself thrust into the Olympic Stadium and the biggest stage in North American soccer.
Yet, Monteal brass are searching for another option should Bush's suspension not be rescinded. They've begun shopping around MLS for a top class keeper they could bring in on a short term loan, and the three names which they have settled on are: Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Josh Saunders (NYCFC) and Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders). According to CONCACAF rules, this is perfectly legal as long as the team loaning out the player is duly compensated and the player is registered on time.
On Sunday afternoon, Nick Sabetti of Goal Canada broke the news that Sean Johnson is the top of the Impact's wish list. Sabetti informed the world on Twitter that: "Impact want Johnson because he's played with Soumare and Duka; And Chicago want to sell him in summer, so this is good exposure. #IMFC". Sabetti went on to inform the Twitterverse that Chicago is amenable to such a loan, provided that they get $75,000 in compensation.
MLS, which has been endlessly trumpeting Montreal's successes in this competition, have shown just how desperate they are for an MLS team to win it that by offering to pay said compensation, according to Sabetti: "Considering all the garbage the Impact got from CONCACAF officials, if yellow stands, nice to see that #MLS is willing to compensate. #IMFC".
While we do not yet know who will be in goal at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night, this is undoubtedly a story to keep your eye on. The second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final kicks off on Wednesday night at 8 PM ET.