I'm a supporter of the Vancouver Whitecaps, and I made it very clear in several past posts that I believe Brad Knighton should be the starting goalkeeper for the team. My reasons are quite simple; Knighton is younger, he is cheaper, he has more to prove and play for, and he played well enough last season that he should get the opportunity. Knighton has made it clear in many interviews, including one with myself, that he believes he's ready to be the number one guy, and he wants it.
Well, none of that really mattered on Saturday, when Joe Cannon strode into the Vancouver Whitecaps net after a pretty lengthy lay-off and did exactly what they needed him to do. He stopped everything that came his way, recording a shutout as the boys from Van City scored a 1-0 win against Toronto FC.
Now, it's not like the 'Caps were playing Manchester United here; they were playing an adequate team that didn't have a plethora of quality shots or chances on net. However, there were a few tricky shots in there, and Cannon did well, especially considering his future with the club was in speculation during the off-season. Now, after losing the starting job last season, Cannon earned the start, then played exceptional.
What's interesting is that Head Coach Martin Rennie has not committed to a starter for this weekend against Columbus. Like another sports franchise in Vancouver, a goalie controversy seems like it might be on the horizon.
Knighton made it very clear to me in this earlier interview, that he would be open to pursuing other options if he was not the starting goalkeeper on the Vancouver Whitecaps this season. Well, at this point in time, he isn't, so how long will he stick around before he makes his voice heard?
Knighton is a younger guy, but it's not like he's a spring chicken. At 28 years old, he wants to get his career going, he wants to make a name for himself. Many thought he did just that with his unbelievable play in the 'Caps 2-1 playoff loss to the Galaxy.
For now though, he's in a dogfight (albeit, a friendly one), with a crafty veteran who doesn't seem ready to slow down. Like that other team in Vancouver (What is their name again?), both goalkeepers are either keeping quiet, or saying the right things when questioned by the media.
Saturday's choice of goalkeeper will speak volumes about the situation here in Vancouver. If Cannon gets the start, then he's obviously the go to guy; Rennie wouldn't give him back to back starts if he wasn't. If Knighton gets the start, then Rennie is probably looking at split work for the two keepers, getting them both in a comparable number of games. Whatever Rennie does, it's sure to cause some excitement for us media types the entire MLS season.