Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush is optimistic about the recent collective bargaining agreement talks between MLS and its Players Association.
The Impact players started their training camp this week with more confidence than they had during the last CBA negotiations in 2015.
“There’s been positive movement on both sides,” Bush, one of Montreal’s Player Association representatives, said Wednesday. “I think that in many ways there was a big break in the last week of December going into the first week of January with the holidays. I thought that there was some good movement at that point.”
With two weeks to go under the current CBA, Bush said that players — who are rejoining their respective training camps — do not feel worried.
“The CBA expires Jan. 31, so every team will be in camp by then. We’re going forward in good faith that something will get done,” Bush said. “Until then, every guy within the league is focused on what they’re trying to do on the field and discussing these things off the field.
“In the end, no one wants to be in a work stoppage, whether it’s on our side or the MLS side. But there’s still some work to do.”
For Bush, keeping players informed is the biggest positive change from the 2015 negotiations.
“What I do know is that there is a lot of communication between the guys,” Bush said. “Multiple messages between guys throughout the league every day whether they’re in meetings, not at meetings, staying informed.”
The Concord Township, Ohio native added that the previous CBA had also expired halfway through team camps. He thinks that as long as there’s movement, players can put their focus into getting into regular season shape for now.
“I think it wouldn’t be good for either to pull out [of training camps] when there’s positive momentum,” Bush said. “Once again, that’s a couple of weeks down the line so things can certainly move and change directions quickly.”
Goalkeeping battle in Montreal
Bush and fellow Impact goalkeeper Clement Diop are set to renew their battle for the starting role in the Orlando, Florida leg of training camp. Bush had been the undisputed starting goalkeeper under Remi Garde, but the coaching change late last season saw Diop finish the 2019 season.
The Frenchman helped the Impact win the 2019 Canadian Championship in a penalty shootout. Following the title win, then head coach Wilmer Cabrera gave Diop the start for the last two regular season games. Having re-signed for the Impact under a new coaching staff, Diop wants to continue on his progression.
“I know that I need to keep up on the results I had last season and to work even harder,” Diop said. “After that, I don’t take the decisions. We’ll see what happens.”
For Bush, a competition between the club’s top two goalkeepers isn’t a surprise. It won’t change the way the 33-year-old intends to prepare for the 2020 season.
“I assume that’ll be the case but you approach it the same way regardless,” Bush said about a competition in goal. “Whether you’re clear cut or you’re clear cut second or whatever it is, you approach it as a competition. I’ve done that since I came here ten years ago and I’ll continue to do that this year moving forward.”
“We also expect to have competition,” Diop added. “As long as it’s done with respect, there’s no problem with that. We’re all professionals, we’re all grown-ups. We worked really well in the past two years so there are no reasons to change that.”