John Smits

MLS official squashes rumor of emergency intra-MLS goalkeeper loan for CONCACAF Champions League final

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One of the weirder rumors in recent history has been put to bed by the Chicago Tribune.

Over the weekend, the gossip mill churned out a potential week-long loan of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the Montreal Impact for this Wednesday’s second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final against Club America.

[ MLS: Altidore scores twice for TFC ]

The unorthodox move, first reported by Goal.com, would’ve given Montreal relief from Evan Bush’s yellow-card suspension obtained in last week’s 1-1 draw at Estadio Azteca. It was also widely-panned by pundits on Twitter as an unfair exploitation of MLS contract rules.

Would Wolfsburg send Andre Schurrle to Bayern Munich for the UEFA Champions League just to be a pal? Of course not. And MLS apparently isn’t entertaining the move, either.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“There is zero chance that Sean Johnson will be loaned to the Montreal Impact for the CONCACAF Champions League final,” an MLS official said in an email sent late Sunday to the Tribune.

Unsubstantiated reports earlier Sunday suggested that Johnson might join the Impact for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League title match against Club America at Olympic Stadium and would briefly reunite the Fire keeper with his former coach, Frank Klopas.

Whether by the book or not — and it does appear the loan would’ve defied the spirit of the rules, if not the substance — a Johnson move would’ve not only set a horrible precedent for Major League Soccer, but been a poor reflection on the competitive nature of the league. “Hey, teams in our league don’t have the depth to deal with the injury woes of a larger club” isn’t a rousing endorsement of the league.

Montreal’s hopes now rightly stand with an appeal of the suspension, which could stand up given the questionable nature of the deciding foul against Bush.

If Bush can’t go, the Impact’s options are extremely limited. New backup Erik Kronberg is ineligible due to his old club, Sporting KC, being in the tournament last season. John Smits is on short-term loan from NASL side Edmonton. Maxime Crepeau is recovering from an injury, and the club could theoretically add a goalkeeper from its USL side, FC Montreal.