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Goalkeeper Controversy For San Jose Earthquakes

If the low-profile San Jose Earthquakes had to identify one player as the face of the franchise as the 2010 season began, they probably would have tabbed Joe Cannon as that man. Cannon has years of experience playing at a high level in the MLS and even earned MLS goalkeeper of the year playing for the Quakes in 2002. When the Earthquakes were revived in 2008 they reacquired Cannon and he has been one of the few constants on a team struggling to find their footing. But the Cannon era may be abruptly ending:

Since the Quakes were rebooted in 2008, Cannon had started 69 of the team's 71 matches before last week. San Jose gave up a league-high 50 goals a year ago, but that was more a reflection of porous team defense than it was on Cannon.

He got off to a good start this year, posting five shutouts in the first eight games. But when the Quakes (5-4-3) went through a three-game stretch that saw them go 0-2-1 and yield seven goals, Yallop turned to Busch.

The Quakes picked up Jon Busch when he was released by Chicago. Busch is nearly as experienced as Cannon, and won MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2008. At 33, Busch is two years younger than Cannon and has performed well in two starts since replacing the longtime incumbent, though he has only faced seven shots on goal in two games. In the three-game stretch mentioned above the Quakes conceded seven goals, though one of the seven came on an empty net. None of the goals came on a Robert-Green-style gaffe, though Cannon could have done better on two longball goals against Toronto FC and Dallas.

Iffy defensive play is generally seen as a bigger weakness than goalie, so perhaps coach Frank Yallop is hoping that Busch will bring better communication and organization to the San Jose backline. A clean sheet against the leading goalscoring team in MLS perhaps is a sign of better results to come. With an upcoming game against Landon Donovan and the Galaxy in two weeks the Quakes will have to muster all the defense they can.

And if this is the end of the Cannon era in San Jose, at least Earthquake fans will have the memories:

I know we're not in the Premiership, but I hope we can work on a little more chant creativity in the future, Quake fans.