SAN JOSE, Calif. – As of Thursday afternoon, Jon Busch still sported a C-shaped, blood-red bruise around the inside of his left eye. The San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper is hoping it adds a little bit of extra menace to his game when he returns Saturday against FC Dallas (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“It makes me look tough, finally,” Busch told reporters after training Thursday. “Because my size [he’s listed at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds] doesn’t intimidate anybody, but I’ve got a shiner. I must be a tough guy now.”
The veteran netminder reported no more problems Thursday (though he was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report), and Quakes coach Frank Yallop made it clear that he wants to go back to his No. 1 choice in net: “If he’s good to go, he’s playing.”
Busch had to come off at the half last Saturday against the LA Galaxy after appearing to get hurt in a ninth-minute collision with teammate Víctor Bernárdez. The 35-year-old simply couldn’t keep his eyes open; he would mostly close them when the Quakes had the ball on attack, then open them back up as the Galaxy moved downfield.
Even though Busch skipped San Jose’s visit to Portland on Tuesday – David Bingham took his first MLS defeat as the Quakes went down 2-1 to the Timbers – things were slowly improving after a frightening weekend.
“Saturday night and Sunday were not good days and kind of scary, actually,” Busch said. “I could barely open my right eye and my left didn’t open.”
It’s the third time in as many years Busch has suffered a head injury on the Quakes’ behalf. In 2010, he took a cleat from Houston Dynamo forward Cam Weaver and needed stitches in his left ear. Last season, he took an elbow to the face in the Quakes’ match at Toronto FC that broke his right cheekbone.
“Between this [and the past injuries], my modeling career is shot,” Busch quipped.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.