When Evan Bush kept a clean sheet in the July 2019 demolition of Philadelphia Union at Stade Saputo, we didn’t know then, but it was to be his last-ever shut-out for Montreal Impact. It also brought up his half-century (all competitions) in the MLS-era, in a game remembered more for Lassi Lappalainen’s brace during a remarkable debut.
It will be some time before Bush’s record is bettered. Long-retired Troy Perkins managed 17 shut-outs and is next on the list. Current incumbent between the posts, Clement Diop has 9.
But it’s Perkins who has the best ratio, scoring a shutout-out once every 3.76 games, although it’s agonizingly close and a record which Clement Diop can reasonably expect to claim. Diop has clean-sheeted once every 3.78 games. You could barely slide a sheet of paper between the pair!
Evan Bush’s ratio is only third best at one shut-out every 4.1 games. Donovon Ricketts fares worst, 1:6.5. The former Bradford City man, prone to the ‘TV save’, accumulated only 4 shut-outs in his 26 Impact appearances.
You may not expect that most Impact shut-outs would have come against Toronto, but considering the amount of games in which the clubs have met it’s hardly surprising. No fewer than twelve shut-outs have come against Montreal's’ bitter rivals, Bush claiming half of them. TFC is also the only club against which four different Impact ‘keepers have managed a clean-sheet.
After Toronto, the most shut-outs were recorded against New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls (7 each), and while the successes over the Revs are split, three in Montreal, four at Foxboro, all seven shut-outs against the Red Bulls have come in Montreal (5 at Stade Saputo)!
Outside of Stade Saputo and Stade Olimpique, the only stadium where an Impact ‘keeper has recorded more than one shut-out is New England’s Gillette Stadium. Evan Bush managed the feat there, on three occasions. Bush has managed two shut-outs away to both DC United and Orlando City, but on each occasion they were at different stadia.
Only two Impact custodians have kept three clean sheets in a row. Donovon Ricketts was first in 2012, remaining unbeaten against Portland, Toronto and Sporting KC, and it was another 6 six years before the mark was achieved again in 2018, by Evan Bush (Orlando, Orlando and Sporting KC). Bush repeated this a year later with shut-outs against NYCFC, DC United and Columbus right after the club’s heaviest-ever MLS defeat, 1-7 at Sporting KC.
Bush’s best year for shut-outs was 2015, when he recorded 11 (all comps), but the only season he (or any Impact ‘keeper for that matter) reached double figures (10) in MLS regular season play was 2018.
When it comes to opposition goalkeepers, two share the record of six shut-outs against Montreal. Sean Johnson (2 for Chicago and 4 for NYCFC), and Bill Hamid the only man to prevent Montreal from scoring on 6 occasions while playing for only one club, DC United.
European pragmatism comes to the fore when it comes to former Impact coaches whose teams have successfully managed shut-outs, the ratios of Remi Garde and Marco Schallibaum comfortably leading the way.
Garde’s teams registered a shut-out every 3.35 games and Schallibaum’s one every 3.58. No other coach in Impact MLS-era history ever got close to a ratio under 1:4. Frank Klopas was third best with a clean-sheet every 4.41 matches.
Worst of all was Thierry Henry, who needed an average of almost six matches between shut-outs.
Of all the coaches, the Impact faced (all comps) since 2012, two share the record of shut-outs against the Montreal men. Greg Vanney (Toronto FC) and Ben Olsen (DC United) each blanked the Bleu/Blanc/Noir six times.
Check out the latest The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 19). Recorded Wednesday evening the TBIR team discuss the Nancy appointment, select the best-ever #IMFC head coach and try to understand why so many of Europe’s big clubs are struggling under pandemic football. Plus all the usual favourite features...
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