It was one of the worst days a team and goalkeeper could endure. But Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush said his team's response to their embarrassing 7-1 loss at Kansas City on March 30 has showed what the group is capable of.
“You give up seven goals, and usually you – well, it doesn’t happen often – but you would expect your team to come down a bit with the spirit and confidence, but we didn’t,” Bush told MSG Networks reporter Michelle Gingras after Wednesday's 2-1 win at the New York Red Bulls. “We rose back up, and we’ve got a lot of character on this team.”
Since that heavy defeat, Montreal are 4-2-2 overall with a 0.75 goals against average and have built a 2-1-2 record in road games. They have also climbed to third place in the Eastern Conference, fourth on points per game.
That success has come entirely without injured star Ignacio Piatti, and Bush credited the Impact's resolve in finding different ways to succeed.
“We’ve developed a system, and we know that with the team that we have right now without Nacho Piatti, we have to all be at our top when we go places,” Bush said to Gingras after Wednesday's game. “So we’ve kind of had a team mentality and we’ve kept the spirit high, and it’s proven to be a successful formula right now.”
Montreal had been 0-9 at Red Bull Arena in the regular season, outscored by a 28-8 margin in those games. The Impact did, however, win 2-1 at New York in the 2016 Eastern Conference semifinals to upset the Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate. They also tied 1-1 at Red Bull Arena in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, advancing from Group 3 at New York's expense.
With 14 home games remaining and plenty of time for Piatti to return from his knee ailment, the Impact hope this portion of the season will hold them in good stead for the critical times ahead.
“Sometimes you can learn the most about yourselves when you lose your top guy,” Bush said. “Hopefully Nacho will come back soon, but in the mean time, we’ve got to keep pushing on without him so when he does come back, we’re ready to roll even harder.”