The minute the rumors began swirling about Goalkeeper David Ousted joining the Whitecaps, both Brad Knighton and Joe Cannon found themselves on the hot seat, or to be more accurate, the no-job-security-seat. Both players failed to truly grab a hold of the starting position and really prove themselves to Head Coach Martin Rennie, so management went hunting elsewhere. It was clearly a vote of no confidence, and now fans are waiting to see which of our goalkeepers will get the boot. It's not my favorite topic because both players are actually stand up guys. Knighton and Cannon have always been friendly to the media, with Cannon often delivering the funny quotes, while Knighton is more likely to tell you exactly how it is.
In any case, professional sports is a business, so here we go. A side by side comparison of Joe Cannon and Brad Knighton. Enjoy, or don't, I'm not a cop.
Age: 38 years old
HT/WT: 6'2, 200 pounds
Cap Hit: $189,917
Years in MLS: 15
This season: 900 minutes played in 10 matches started.
Clean Sheets: 1
Shots on goal: 42
Save %: 68.9%
Goals Allowed: 14
Win/Loss/Draw Record: 3-4-3
Penalty Kick Saves: N/A
As you can see, age and salary are not exactly in Cannon's favor here, but that isn't exactly 'new' news. At 38 years old, Cannon has had an amazing run in MLS play, but is clearly facing the twilight of his career. He would actually be the ideal backup; a smart, veteran keeper that can step up in case of injury, but he makes far too much to be sitting on the bench. The Whitecaps brass have shown that when they feel a high priced player is under preforming, they have no qualms about shipping them out. (I.E., Alain Rochat, Eric Hassli, John Thorrington) It's not that Cannon's been bad; his ball distribution has been sub par, but otherwise he's been a good, not great, option for the 'Caps.
In addition, Cannon lost his starting job to Brad Knighton for the second straight year, and while he seems to take it all in stride, you have to think a younger, cheaper option might be a better fit for the Whitecaps moving forward.
HT/WT: 6'2, 180 lbs
Cap Hit: $66,000
Years in MLS: 3rd
This season: 450 minutes played in 5 matches started
Clean Sheets: 0
Shots on Goal: 20
Save %: 52.4%
Goals Allowed: 10
Penalty Kicks: 0/2
When you look at the stats for Brad Knighton, you realize he only shines in two categories; age and salary. At 28 years old, he has more time to give to the Whitecaps organization, and he's making under 70 grand. Unfortunately for Cannon, those are the stats that really matter, especially that whole salary thing. Apparently teams really don't like paying six figures to bench warmers. However, who's to say that Knighton's age is an advantage? Knighton has made it very clear in several interviews that he wants to be a starter in this league, and if he can't get it in Vancouver, he may try to look for a way out. In that sense, he may have less time to offer the Whitecaps than Cannon, who very well may be okay with playing the backup role for another season.
His other stats, though they are in a small sample size, are unimpressive. Cannon leads him in GAA and SVP despite playing in more matches, and he has one clean sheet while Knighton has zero. That's the problem with Knighton though; while the Whitecaps handed him the keys this season, he's done very little with the opportunity. He's made some good saves, but he hasn't been strong enough, and that's why the Whitecaps needed to bring a third man in.
As I continued writing this article, it all became pretty clear. Money talks, and Brad Knighton makes less. If the 'Caps were willing to trade Alain Rochat and his big paycheque, then they should make every effort to jettison Cannon and put his salary to better use. I wish I had a more detailed explanation here, but it really is that simple.