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Bush can’t prevent Impact from losing to D.C. United

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Evan Bush
After being humiliated by Toronto FC on Wednesday, and dealing with the sweltering heat in Washington, D.C. in the midst of a punishing stretch of the schedule, Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch’s decision to make sweeping changes to his lineup wouldn’t have surprised anybody. But the biggest of those changes was his decision to give keeper Evan Bush his first start with the Impact — in MLS. But Bush could do nothing to prevent the Impact from a 3-0 loss. Bush was helpless as the Impact’s rebuilt backline was caught flatfooted late in the first half, and Chris Pontius buried the goal to give D.C. United a 1-0 lead. He also picked the ball out of his net early in the second, when defender Robbie Russell headed home a Branko Boskovic free kick. The rout was complete when Boskovic scored right before the final whistle. With Zarek Valentin moved to a central defence to pair with Shavar Thomas, rookie Calum Mallace was brought in as an improvised right back. And Mallace, who had a scare earlier in the first half when his attempt to break up a D.C. United pass saw him put the ball off his own goalpost, was turned inside-out right before the halftime whistle by Pontius. Pontius started a run from 30 yards out, turned Mallace the wrong way, then blew past Thomas before slamming a low shot across Bush’s path and inside the post. Mallace’s nightmare first half forced Marsch to take him off at halftime for Jeb Brovsky. It was a goal that made Pontius look good, and the Impact defence look really bad. Bush was one of the first of the team’s NASL roster to be given an MLS contract, but despite being the best keeper in Div.-2 last season, had been pushed to No. 3 on the depth chart after Ricketts and Canadian Greg Sutton was acquired. But there has been a strong level of support amongst Impact fans to see Bush get a shot to play in MLS — they saw what he did in NASL last season. And Saturday provided the perfect opportunity. Ricketts has been nursing a knee problem that the Jamaican media surmised would keep him out for an extended period, and he was clearly at fault on Toronto FC’s opening goal on Wednesday. Torsten Frings’ free kick went right through his hands. While Ricketts wasn’t the sole culprit for the 3-0 loss to the Reds, it was clearly time to get Bush into a match. Even though the game kicked off at 7:30 p.m. local time, it was 33 C at RFK, and that was without the humidex. D.C. United, which had a heavy schedule early in the season, is now in the midst of a more manageable part of the schedule, while Montreal played its third game in just over a week, and fifth match in 14 days. So, needing to rotate the squad, Marsch started a new backline. MLSsoccer.com had the formation listed as a 3-7-0, but the Impact packed midfield with what looked to be a tight 4-5-1, making the game compact, a good strategy to cut down the running in the heat. Sanna Nyassi started as the lone forward. With Marco Di Vaio playing 55 minutes on Wednesday in his MLS debut and not starting Saturday, and Bernardo Corradi out for the season with an ACL tear, the Impact also needed to lean on a formation that required a packed midfield in order to make up for the lack of attacking depth. Patrice Bernier’s suspension didn’t help matters. Nyassi carved out the first chance of a game, as four D.C. United defenders elected not to close down the Impact forward. His low shot in the 10th minute forced D.C. United keper into a fingertip save. D.C. United dominated possession for the rest of the first half, and Bush was called on to make one spectacular save, a leaping attempt to palm away Maicon Santos’s swerving 30-yard drive away from danger. Di Vaio came on for midfielder Felipe at half, giving the Impact more muscle up front — but the Impact still couldn’t get a foothold. In fact, D.C., if anything, got stronger. Russell scored as he flicked home a Boskovic free kick, and in the 66th minute, Dwayne De Rosario smashed an attempt off the post. D.C. United got its third goal late. After Bush did well to sprawl down low to block the shot of super rookie Nick DeLeon, Boskovic got to the rebound, unchallenged, and scooped the ball into an open goal. RELATED: Bernier suspended ahead of Impact’s Saturday date with D.C. United (CLICK) Impact coach, owner both show displeasure over team’s humiliating loss to TFC (CLICK)

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