Report: Impact seeking to acquire MLS goalkeeper on loan for CCL final
In the wide spectrum of weird things to happen to the Montreal Impact over the course of the club's miracle run to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League, this may rank among the weirdest.
According to a report by Goal.com's Nick Sabetti, the Impact are seeking to acquire another MLS goalkeeper on loan only for the second leg of their final matchup against Mexican powerhouse Club America. Sabetti names Sean Johnson of the Chicago Fire as the most likely candidate, along with Stefan Frei of the Seattle Sounders and NYCFC's Josh Saunders.
The reason for the loan stems from a yellow card received by Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush in the final's first leg at Estadio Azteca, a game Montreal led 1-0 until a late equalizer made things 1-1. Bush was shown a yellow card after that equalizer, ostensibly for kicking a ball at Club America's Paul Aguilar, but Bush seemed mystified with the decision and the club have filed an appeal with CONCACAF.
However, the club has yet to hear back on the appeal, and the club's other goalkeeping options are somewhat dire. Eric Kronberg is cup-tied having participated in the competition's earlier rounds with Sporting Kansas City. Maxime Crepeau is coming off an injury and at just 20 years old may not be ready for such a big stage. John Smits is on loan from FC Edmonton, also only for the two legs of the final, but was always meant to be a backup.
As such, the Impact are looking elsewhere.
ESPN's Jeff Carlisle later tweeted confirmation from a Chicago Fire spokesperson that a one-game loan deal for Johnson is possible, and that such a move may well be within CONCACAF rules.
The Impact would be able to pull off such a move thanks in part to MLS' single-entity structure -- because players are technically employees of the league and not the teams themselves, that could open a loophole in which, in the eyes of CONCACAF, MLS is simply one big club.
There has yet to be confirmation from CONCACAF that such a loan would be allowable under their rules and regulations.