MONTREAL – Former Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos once used the nickname "Harry Potter" to describe then-opposition goalkeeper Evan Bush after watching the young goalkeeper frustrate his side time and again. And after Tuesday night's draw with Olympique Lyonnais, a few more people understood why the magical nickname suits him.
The 26-year-old ‘keeper pulled off an amazing array of mystical saves against the French giants, denying them on several plays that looked like sure goals.
“The performance he has, for me, is not anything surprising,” head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters after the game. “I expected him to go in and play well. I’m happy for him.”
In the locker room, Bush, who played all 90 minutes, admitted that the game had a definitely strange, almost supernatural feel to it. It's not that the ‘keeper felt intimidated, though: the feeling was down to a hobby of his.
“I play FIFA a lot, and I was playing with them this afternoon,” Bush giggled. “Then when I come on the field, I'm playing against them, so that’s kind of a surreal feeling. It’s pretty funny.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, Marsch sounded happy with the opportunity his men enjoyed. The Montreal boss regards their impressive performance, particularly in the first half as Lyon fielded what could be described as their “A-minus” team, as a potential confidence-booster in the Impact’s push for a playoff spot. A number of players picked up good minutes and built match fitness as they were coming back from injury, which is music to the ears of any coach whose team has been leaking goals lately.
And the Impact’s gracious visitors, who left for New Jersey on Wednesday afternoon after training at Montreal’s Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard, wish them nothing but the best.
“It’s tough to judge because it was a friendly, but we can see their football is getting better, technically and tactically,” French international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said. “In front of us, tonight, was a quality opposition. Experimented players such as Nesta and Di Vaio will do good things for this team, and hopefully they’ll get good results and make it to the playoffs.”