Johnson loan to Montreal not happening

A tweet from’ Nick Sabetti on Sunday afternoon set social media ablaze with speculation and some outrage when it seemed possible that the Montreal Impact would pursue Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson on a short term loan for the second leg of the CCL Final this week.


A Fire team spokesman confirmed that CONCACAF had indeed approved a potential loan for a goalkeeper and that Johnson was one of the names being considered. Fire Confidential learned that Chicago were insisting on substantial compensation for a short term loan and were not willing to loan Johnson without that being made part of the deal. Sabetti responded via twitter with a potential amount of allocation in the deal.


With reaction to the news overwhelmingly negative via social media combined with comments by Alexi Lalas at half time of the Orlando City/Toronto FC match, MLS had an issue on it hands. Lalas essentially said that MLS “should be better” than this and that just because the loan was legal via CONCACAF’s rules that didn’t mean it was the right thing to do.

In the midst of that on Sunday afternoon, the league agreed with most fans and Lalas, pulling the plug on a short term loan move for Johnson.



The league did not want to risk the appearance of impropriety and further backlash despite the apparent “legality” of the short term loan move. Montreal already has goalkeeper John Smits on loan from FC Edmonton in the NASL and they’ve also had Indy Eleven’s Kristian Nicht on the roster during the tournament. Short terms loan are also commonplace in other parts of the soccer world so the move would not have been unprecedented. The fact that the loan would have been for one game, with the starting goalkeeper for another team in a single entity structure rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and that ended the possibility.

A bit of common sense combined with a reluctance to meet the Fire’s demands for compensation in exchange for the short term loan ended the speculation. Montreal had already been given the benefit of a rescheduled match, which is also not unprecedented in other parts of the globe, in order to prepare for the first leg of the Final and adding this move probably would not have been the wisest transaction from a public relations and perception stand point.

It seems the Impact are now continuing their goalkeeper search via a more permanent loan.



Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • MLS subsequently issued an email to media last night stating that there was "zero chance" of the loan happening.

  • Still think they should have gone after Dan Kennedy. Proven class GK who is behind Seitz usually for FCD.

    Brad Knighten, MacMath, Joe Willis, Atinella, Perkins - plenty of decent quality back-ups with MLS experience that would have generated less negative press, in my opinion.

  • Nice to see that the FO asserted themselves.

  • I can't believe I actually agreed with Lalas on something. I understand that MTL needs a keeper and it's within the rules, but to try and go for another teams starter in your league is really shady and it makes MLS look even more desperate just to win the tournament. And as stated before, there are decent backups on MLS and lower division rosters that could be picked up for this. MTL made it this far and while they might have gotten a bad hand dealt to them, they need to beat CA with what they have. If SJ would have gone in just for one game, it lessens that accomplishment. Plus, if they lost, I'm sure then he would take the blame. Bad all around.

  • This just in from Soccer America. It's been a long time since we've gotten this kind of love. C'mon You Men in Red!

    "The hottest team in MLS is the Chicago Fire. It took a gap of almost three weeks, but the Fire won its third game in a row with a 1-0 victory over New York City FC."

  • In reply to Doug:

    Wow. This would indicate that someone at Soccer America actually watched a game. ;)

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