Knighton to get his chance between pipes for Vancouver
BURNABY, B.C. – It looks like Brad Knighton will be the man minding the goal for the Vancouver Whitecaps down the stretch.
Having usurped Joe Cannon for the club’s match against the LA Galaxy on Sept. 1, the Virginia native kept his place for last Saturday’s 1-0 away defeat to FC Dallas, answering the question about whether the drop was a once-off or a sign of a potentially permanent change of starters.
All three goals he’s conceded in those two defeats have been nigh unstoppable. In the first of those two matches, Knighton was beat by a rifled long-range shot from Juninho, before David Beckham executed one of his signature free kicks late in the match to round out the 2-0 LA win.
SAVE: Knighton denies Ferreira from the spot
Then, last weekend, Canadian international Julian de Guzman scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner from the edge of the area on the volley – a blow that still hurts.
“Obviously, it was heartbreaking the way the game ended,” Knighton told reporters after a training session at Swangard Stadium on Tuesday. “I thought we played really well at times in the game – a lot better than the previous four games. So, we were a lot more attacking minded. We kept the ball well. We had some chances and just couldn’t finish them off.”
Despite the loss, Knighton had a strong game, notably stopping David Ferreira from the penalty spot by guessing correctly.
“I figured he was more of a cheeky player that kind of likes to curl balls,” Knighton said. “I got a good read on it, took a couple of steps, and got a good hand on it.”
Following the match, head coach Martin Rennie confirmed Knighton will keep his place for this weekend’s match against the Colorado Rapids, “unless anything changes during the week.” Getting that decisive support from his coach so soon after the defeat is a boost for the 27-year-old.
“It’s huge any time the manager can back you,” Knighton said. “My confidence is higher than ever right now, so I’m taking it one game at a time and trying to put together a good performance this week and hopefully carry that into the weekend.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.