"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog". This quote by author Mark Twain does carry some importance when describing Montreal Impact keeper Evan Bush. Some of you may ask why quote some writer from over a hundred years ago? What does he know about soccer?
My answer probably nothing, but as the Montreal Impact prepare for their Saturday afternoon clash at Stade Olympique, this can be used to describe Evan Bush, the amount of time and hard work it took him to become the Impact's last line of defense.
From Akron to Montreal
Evan Bush attended Akron college where he would spend the next three years of his life developing his game, finishing with an overall record of 62 wins, 48 shutouts, and 0.60 G.A.
From there, he went on to play for many different clubs including the Chicago Fire Premier, the Cleveland International and the Cape Cod Crusaders. After excelling at this game at the amateur level, Evan Bush tried to join the MLS with the Seattle Sounders but it did not work out.
He rolled up his sleeves and signed on to play for the Cleveland City Stars of the USL first division and played his first pro soccer game on May 30, 2009 in what would be a 2-0 lost.
But with every fall, '' Bushy'' , as Impact goalkeeper coach Youssef Dahha calls him, grows and gets stronger. It was only a year later , in 2010, that he would go on to sign for Crystal Palace Baltimore where he registered seven shutouts during that season.
Every sacrifice, every downfall, every defeat would end up paying off for this 25-year-old keeper and would sign for a team known as L’Impact de Montreal.
Original signed as a backup to Bill Gaudette, he would soon take over the main job after Gaudette went down with an injury. Evan Bush ran with the opportunity and never looked back. During the 2011 NASL season, he posted a career-high 9 shutouts, allowed 14 goals in 19 games and led the league with 0.76 G.A.A.
All the hard work finally paid off as Evan Bush was rewarded with his first ever MLS contract when he became the 3rd player to join the MLS expansion version of the Bleu-Blanc-Noir. For the next two seasons, he would see minimal time on the field and it wasn’t until 2014 , an abysmal year for the Impact, that former coach Frank Klopas decided it was time to give him the starting job.
August 16, 2014 was an enormous day for Evan Bush. He won his first ever MLS game against the Chicago Fire while posting a shutout. Along with guiding the Impact to yet another Amway Cup, he helped them top their CONCACAF Champions League group. In what was a poor year for the Impact squad , only being able to finish six wins, Evan Bush manage to collect 2 wins and 2 shutouts in CCL.
With Troy Perkins not returning to the Impact in 2015, it was Evan Bush who was handed over the starting job. The long wait of being a MLS starter is finally over, the young keeper from Concord Township, Ohio was given his shot.
Finishing off the year with a 15-12-4 record, posting 9 shutouts and a G.A.A of 1.26, Evan Bush proved to the Montreal Impact management and fan base that he was the right choice.
He has been the main keeper for a better part of a year and a half now, and so far so great! He recently celebrated his 30th birthday with a win in Vancouver last week and is only getting better with age. Though for a 30-year old goalkeeper, his MLS experience is relatively small but that also means that his margin of progression is huge.
As the Montreal Impact are set to face former coach Jesse Marsch and the New York Red Bulls, , a great Evan Bush performance can only help the Impact to take all three points but he will be facing another goalkeeper in Luis Robles , who has also taken a '' rags to riches '' path on his way to MLS.
Bush has managed to improve every part of his game and has kept the Impact alive and fighting with his inhuman reflexes and saves. The hard work and dedication has paid off and Bush is truly an underdog story. When given his chance, he never looked back or took anything for granted.
This is why I believe the Impact have among its ranks one the best goalkeepers in MLS for years to come.