VANCOUVER, B.C. – Brad Knighton. Joe Cannon.
It’s looking increasingly likely this town isn’t big enough for the both of them.
And the one looking the more likely to move on is Cannon, the 37-year-old who played such an integral role in the Vancouver Whitecaps strong start to the season, when the team kept clean sheets in six of its first eight matches.
The Bay Area native eventually lost his starting place to Knighton down the stretch, and now he’s getting a sense there’s a good chance he’ll be forced to move on.
“We all had our end of season meetings these last two days,” Cannon told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 on Thursday. “Mine was yesterday. It’s a private meeting so I’m not going to comment on anything the head coach said … but I came away with it feeling there’s probably a 30 to 40 percent chance of returning, just based on the feeling, the gut I’m getting around the organization, where it’s at.
“From that meeting, you just don’t know, but that’s my gut reaction. He didn’t say anything specifically.”
But if there’s a fighting chance at competing for his place, Vancouver is the place Cannon wants to play, and he said he made that very clear to head coach Martin Rennie during that one-on-one conversation.
However, if he’s just here to be a backup to Knighton, he’s put in a request to move to a club where he can be the No. 1 – a role he still feels he’s up for.
“I flat out said, listen – if there’s a chance I can come into spring training and preseason next year, and all you’re giving me is a fair shot to compete – this is the city I want to be in,” Cannon said. “I want to retire here, that’s what I want to do.
"But, if it’s a case where I come in and I’m the second guy and I have to wait for the first guy to make a mistake or something – kind of similar to this year – I asked them, and I’ll be up front … I asked to be put in a more competitive situation around the league.
“For me, at my age, that has to be the answer. I still feel I’ve got some great games left in me and even this year I felt there was still more to give.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.