Sometimes timing can play havoc with doing things right.
Although we’ve yet to see any official confirmation from Montreal Impact, it’s clear Evan Bush is on his way out of the club to join Vancouver Whitecaps.
It also seems as though he’ll travel straight to Vancouver as the latest Impact camp departs New Jersey for home, which leads to an abrupt and sudden departure for the man who made 176 starts between the MLS posts for Montreal Impact.
No chance to say good-bye to the fans and no chance to say a proper farewell to some of the staff he’s worked alongside during nine seasons at the club he’s served so well.
The Impact must do something to recognize this stalwart’s departure, the last playing link to the days of second-tier football in Montreal. I’m sure they will have something in mind, but again timing and new commitments probably mean it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Evan integrated comfortably and well into Montreal society and at all times was a fine ambassador for the club. Always willing to give an interview, always prepared to meet the press after ‘one of those days’ when the result wasn’t what we all desired.
His 2014/15 award from CONCACAF as their ‘Golden Glove’ stands out as testimony to his part played in the most glorious cup run in the club’s history. Back then it was a campaign started when Troy Perkins, not Bush, was seen as the club’s number one, #1.
But his thirteen appearances in CONCACAF Champions League football is a club record that looks set to stand for several years to come. The nearest to him in the current squad has 3.
Likewise his 267 involvements in MLS matches (including those as unused substitute), incorporating 176 appearances. Both club records, it will take years before the former is broken and at least three seasons before either Samuel Piette or Saphir Taider, the most likely candidates, can overhaul his MLS appearances record.
Bush, an Ohio native, can rightfully be referred to as a late bloomer. He didn’t appear in his first MLS match until June 2012, aged 26, when goals from Chris Pontius, Robbie Russell and Hamdi Salahi gave DC United a 3-0 victory at RFK Stadium. Patience tested to the extreme, almost 16 months passed before he made his second, a 0-1 defeat to LA Galaxy at the Stub Hub Centre.
He didn’t play his first MLS game at Stade Saputo until July 2014, when the visiting Portland Timbers with the help of a goal from one Maxi Urruti, took the points back west.
Bush’s most memorable season was probably 2018, the first year he worked with former French Euro Champion ‘keeper Joel Bats.
Always agile, the improvement seen in Bush’s game was significant as he turned in several top displays as the team laboured before rallying and getting close to a play-off spot. In this particular season, Evan would have been my selection as club MVP. It was no coincidence it earned him the best contract of his career, but a contract that appears now to have sealed his fate, no longer a Montreal Impact player.
On his salary he needed to be playing first-team football, and the form of the more youthful Clement Diop has seen Thierry Henry select his fellow Frenchman in every one of his 18 competitive fixtures to date, consigning Bush to a spot on the bench.
But my personal favourite Evan Bush performance came in the pre-Bats days. It was a match-winning show one balmy May evening at Stade Saputo. The year 2015 and FC Dallas, the visitors, were going well in the Western Conference at the time.
Jack McInerney had added a second goal to Nacho Piatti’s spot-kick opener in the 50th minute, somewhat against the run of play. Bush had been instrumental in keeping the lead in tact at 1-0 and continued to defy the dominant visitors, as team mates struggling to check the slick passing patterns of the Texans. Six Impact players were on yellow cards, illustrating which side was most in control.
Even after he was finally beaten by Matt Hedges on 77 mins, Bush continued to make spectacular stops as Montreal squeezed over the line, winning 2-1. It’s still the best goal-keeping performance I’ve seen by an Impact last line of defence. Perhaps not in terms of the Goalkeeping 101 Manual, but so far as agility, acrobatics and brilliant shot-stopping are concerned I’ve not seen it bettered.
Everyone’s best wishes will undoubtedly go to Evan Bush and his family as they set-off for a new adventure in Vancouver.
At least he will meet familiar faces there in Marc Dos Santos and Youssef Dahha, certainly in the short-term, and eventually renew goalkeeping rivalries with Max Crepeau, his former understudy at the Impact.
And finally, it would be nice to see the Impact announce a proper send-off for a committed club man who served the organization so well.