Montreal Impact beat the clock to acquire goalkeeper Kristian Nicht for Wednesday’s blockbuster clash in Canada against Mexican club America.
With the CONCACAF Champions League final level at 1-1 and number one keeper Evan Bush suspended for the return leg at Saputo Stadium, the Impact announced the signing of German Nicht from NASL club Indy Eleven hours before Monday’s deadline.
Bush was shown a yellow card in Mexico City last week – his second since the semi-finals – and Montreal unsuccessfully appealed the decision, leading to the club signing 33-year-old Nicht, who could take to the field in front of a capacity crowd of 61,004 as the Impact bid to become the first MLS team to win the tournament in the Champions League era.
“We are very pleased to acquire an experienced goalkeeper who is having success this season and who has had success in the past,” Impact technical director Adam Braz said via the club’s website.
“We know he will integrate within the group with ease as he’s spent a few weeks with us during training camp as well as for games in Mexico and Olympic Stadium.”
Montreal were pegged back late at the Estadio Azteca last Wednesday, with Oribe Peralta netting an 89th-minute equaliser.
Ignacio Piatti scored the all-important away goal in the 16th minute but the visitors were denied a shutout win in Mexico as Peralta restored parity in the second-last minute of regulation time.
The Impact were granted a MLS bye over the weekend, while America played out a 1-1 draw in Liga MX’s Super Clasico.
Ventura Alvarado, suspended for the opening leg against Montreal, Jose Guerrero and Jose Maduena were named in the starting line-up against Guadalajara on Sunday at the expense of Erik Pimentel, Cristian Pellerano and Michael Arroyo, while Peralta was an unused substitute.
America, who will play their third game in eight days, require an away goal to stand any chance of claiming a sixth Champions League title.
As for Montreal, they can create history courtesy of a goalless draw on Wednesday, as they would become the first Canadian outfit to win CONCACAF’s continental club competition.
“There will be opportunities on the break, like in the first game, but we have to be better in possession,” Impact coach Frank Klopas said.
“We have to limit their opportunities on the ball. Last game, we suffered a little in the second half and that had to do with the altitude a little. We will be better in possession at home.”