Featured / Union

Was that really so shocking?

Photo: Paul Rudderow

On Tuesday, the Union announced that Brad Knighton, the presumptive second string goalkeeper behind new signing Faryd Mondragon, had been waived.

The announcement was met with shock in some quarters. After all, that leaves the Union with, at present, only two keepers: Mondragon and first round SuperDraft pick Zac MacMath.

Not that having just two goalkeepers on the roster is unfamiliar territory. The Union let fan favorite Brian Perk go in the middle of last season.

Nevertheless, was the waiving of Knighton really as shocking as it may have at first seemed?

It is generally assumed that signing Mondragon serves two purposes, one short term, the other long term. First, that Mondragon will provide some much needed experience and leadership between the posts. Second, at 39-years-old and with a rapidly decreasing shelf-life, he will serve as a mentor to young MacMath, guiding him to an eventual starting position when it is time, a few seasons down the road, for he himself to hang up his gloves. Included in these assumptions was the notion that Knighton would be available as a generally reliable backup should Mondragon become injured, need a rest or, horror of horrors, turn out to be a bust.

While the Union have said nothing about why they decided to waive Knighton—the Union seems to have a frustrating institutional habit of not saying much about a lot of things—it is easy to think that the decision might have been in some ways mutual. (The fact that Knighton wasn’t at the first day of preseason training suggests at the very least that some kind of premeditation or foreknowledge was involved.)

The many blunders of Chris Seitz meant that Brad Knighton was the Union’s starting goalkeeper by the end of last season (aside from that final match in which Seitz once again got the start, much to the disgust of every Union fan I know). It is not very difficult to imagine that Knighton fancied himself as the legitimate starting keeper for the Union for the new season and that the position was one that he would have to be beaten out of, rather than summarily demoted from, with the signing of Mondragon. With the arrival of Mondragon, perhaps Knighton envisioned greener pastures, more money and better opportunities to start elsewhere and the Union were simply happy to set him free. Maybe the Union wanted to avoid the disruptive influence of a potentially disgruntled player in the locker room.

Who knows?

What we do know is that the Union appear determined to begin afresh when it comes to goalkeepers, even if that means that, at present, they have only two goalkeepers on the roster, separated as they are by nearly twenty years of life and experience. A young keeper from Trinidad and Tobago is currently on trial with the club (the preseason training camp opened on Monday) and maybe he will prove to be the number three (or even number two). Only time will tell if that will be the case or if signing another goalkeeper is down the road.

Still, you can’t help but feel that, once again, the Union have let a proven and steady player with obvious potential get away without getting anything for him in return.

Which, the way things have gone with player departures so far in this preseason, is no longer as shocking as it ought to be.

And that just might be the biggest shock of all.

2 Comments

  1. So I heard a couple things about how the expansion draft went down, and with out saying too much, a few promises were made that weren’t kept. I think Knighton didn’t have the greatest season. I was horrified by the dropped ball and subsequent foul as much as any other union fan, but you do want to think that we’ll be a club that is fair and honest with the players, and its hard to think that we treated knighton fairly, or that we shouldn’t have kept him since he has at least proved competence at this level. I mean, I’ll keep yelling that Harvey sucks, but when you see the bargain price they’re paying for him, its harder to be so hard.

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