MEXICO CITY – The Montreal Impact aren’t giving up on goalkeeper Evan Bush’s status just yet.
After picking up a yellow card late in Montreal’s 1-1 tie at Club América on Wednesday in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, Bush should be suspended for the second leg, next Wednesday at Stade Olympique, due to caution accumulation.
But the club have already announced that they will appeal referee Hector Rodriguez’s decision.
Replays indicated that Bush was cautioned for kicking a ball at Paul Aguilar – who was also shown a yellow card for retaliating – after Oribe Peralta equalized in the 89th minute. Bush had already been booked in the semifinals, at Alajuelense, for time-wasting. CONCACAF regulations impose a one-game suspension for players who accumulate two yellow cards over the course of the competition; single cautions are wiped off the slate after the quarterfinal stage, but not the semifinals.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, however, nobody in Impact camp seemed to know quite what had happened.
“It was a goalkeeper in the box, and the referee has to protect him,” head coach Frank Klopas told reporters after the game. “[Bush] gets pushed down, and he gets the yellow card. You tell me [why he got the yellow card]. I don’t know.”
Bush’s teammates, despite their better view, were as baffled.
“I saw Bush get hit in the face, which is a clear red card,” Dilly Duka said. “After just a group of people talking, he got the yellow card, which was surprising.”
“What I know is that Bush got pushed,” Dominic Oduro said. “If Bush intimidated anyone, I have no idea. It’s only one side of the story. I hope CONCACAF looks into that. Sometimes it’s really tough for us to play in this environment, which is already hostile, when we get calls like that that go against us. We were able to keep our composure today.”
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Should Montreal lose their appeal, they would find themselves in a tricky goalkeeping situation. Bush’s backup at Estadio Azteca on Wednesday was John Smits, on a short-term loan from Edmonton. Regular backup Eric Kronberg is cup-tied, as he played for Sporting Kansas City in the group stage of the 2014-15 Champions League, and 20-year-old Homegrown Player Maxime Crépeau is still recovering from a shoulder injury.
“The goal, in CONCACAF, is to come here, in great stadiums like this, and play,” center back Bakary Soumare said. “[Bush] played many great games. He deserves it. He’ll miss the final at home. It hurts to see that. I don’t know what happened, and I don’t really care. If there’s one guy here who deserves this final, it’s him.”