Avid CCL watcher Evan Bush has mixed feelings about Toronto FC in final

Evan Bush - Montreal Impact

MONTREAL -- Three years after winning the Golden Glove in the 2014-15 Concacaf Champions League, Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush is paying close attention to this year’s tournament.

The fact that Montreal’s rivals Toronto FC are looking to become the first MLS team to win the final, against Liga MX titans Chivas de Guadalajara, presents Bush and his Impact teammates with mixed emotions about the outcome.

“That’s a difficult question,” Bush said when asked about his rooting interest. “There’s guys on the team that I have great relationships with, and I want to see them succeed, for sure. Part of me, dating back to the disappointment we had in 2015, you don’t want to see your direct rival be the first team in MLS to win the tournament.

"You know, on the other hand I was really rooting for the Red Bulls to get through to the final when they were playing Chivas, and I would have really liked to see them advance and have success. But I think that at the end of the day both teams, New York and Toronto, have played really well to this point.”

Montreal lost the 2015 final against Club América. Bush was named the top goalkeeper in the tournament despite being suspended for the second leg after picking up a yellow card in the first leg, a 1-1 draw at Estadio Azteca. 

This year, Toronto are in a tough situation after losing 2-1 in the first leg of the final at BMO Field on Tuesday. Chivas host the second leg at Estadio Akron next Wednesday (9:30 pm ET | UDN, go90.com; TSN in Canada).

“I think it’s going to be extremely difficult, especially with the way that Chivas is built to play,” Bush said. “I think Toronto benefited greatly from the first two times that they were able to host the first leg and they got ahead in those series. So they were the team that could go down to Mexico and be a little bit more conservative and take advantage of the space that the other team left them. And because of that they were able to get goals that they ultimately needed.

“With Chivas, going down and being behind, I think that Chivas will probably be the conservative team. And they’ve shown so far in this tournament that they’re very good at being that. I think they’ve only given up, what, like two goals the whole tournament? And going back to Mexico with the energy in the stadium and hosting the final leg of the final I think it’s going to be very difficult for them for sure.”

And regardless of the outcome of the final, Bush believes MLS has been well represented at this year’s tournament.

“Obviously, New York got knocked out, but I think that over the course of that series they showed that they were the more proactive team,” Bush said. “They had the more progressive team, and ultimately they didn’t get through, but I think that they had a lot to be proud of and I think that in itself is a victory for MLS, when you can look at a stat sheet and show how dominating the MLS team was compared to the Mexican team. 

“And in a tournament setting, you know, obviously at some point you want the MLS team to win the tournament, but I also think that MLS has turned a lot of heads with the way those two teams have played. And they can be very proud of not just going in and fitting in and counter-attacking, because to be fair at points when we made our run a lot of it was based on that.”