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Finding the Union a keeper

John Hackworth has mentioned as much.

You, the fan, have wondered as much.

Will we be looking at a different starting keeper for the Union in March? Possible. Maybe even probable.

Who will that be? Tough to tell. If the Union go international to find a keeper, the list could be a mile long. If the Union stay domestic, the list of “established starters” looking for a permanent home really isn’t all that long.

Greg Sutton, 33, New York Red Bulls, 2010 Salary: $72,000

Canadian international keeper often seen on the lineup card backing up legend Pat Onstad. Making a name for himself as the netminder for the Montreal Impact in the early 2000s, Sutton is currently backing up Bouna Condoul in New York. Rumors are starting that New York will shop for a keeper this winter meaning that one or both of their keepers might move.

Dario Sala, 36, FC Dallas, 2010 Salary: $160,000

Journeyman keeper has played in half the leagues in South and Central America. Unseated as the #1 keeper in preseason when FCD traded for Kevin Hartman, Sala now looks the distant number 2 with heir apparent Josh Lambo waiting in the wings. Sala has spent quite a few seasons with FCD and might look to stay in the league he has become comfortable with. Expensive, but has a wealth of experience.

Jon Busch, 34, San Jose Earthquakes, 2010 Salary: $84,000

Surprisingly dumped by Chicago this past preseason, Busch made his way out to San Jose and filled in for Joe Cannon after an injury ended his season. Former Goalie of the Year in MLS, Busch looks to have a few seasons left if he can hold on to the starting gig in San Jose.

Joe Cannon, 35, San Jose Earthquakes, 2010 Salary: $190,000

Replaced late in the season after injury, Cannon is now in no-man’s-land. Busch is similar in age and a much better value in salary. Cannon was reportedly very happy in San Jose—how happy will he be if he comes back from injury to find his job gone?

Troy Perkins, 29, DC United, 2010 Salary: $200,000

This one should make a few people chuckle. Perkins was brought in this past preseason by DC through an allocation order trade with the Union that brought the Union Fred, cash, and a first round pick. Troy has starting experience both home and abroad but he was unseated mid-season by 19-year-old Bill Hamid as DC struggled. Far too expensive to be a backup while DC rebuilds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try to move him.

Bill Gaudette, 29, Puerto Rico Islanders (NASL), 2010 Salary: Unavailable

Gaudette is the player people probably know least about, as few have seen him play. A native of Hummelstown, PA, Gaudette was drafted by the Crew in 2005 before finding his way to Puerto Rico and installing himself as the undisputed #1 and a bankable shot-stopper in the Islander’s frequent CONCACAF Champions League runs. Outside the league, his contract situation might have a lot to do with his availability, but he definitely has the talent to slot in as the starter.

This list does not factor in current, undisputed #1 starters in most places, as the Union would likely have to give up something substantial to make that kind of trade happen. For some of these moves, the Union might be looking at a partial allocation, a pair of low draft picks, or one second rounder. Larger moves, like getting Perkins out of DC after we traded DC his rights, might involve a piece and a player. If the Union are shopping for keepers, expect to see at least one (or potentially both) left unprotected in the expansion draft. Knighton ($40K) makes the league minimum while Seitz ($100K) inherits a better paycheck due to his former Generation Adidas status.

In my mind, the most likely deal explored above is San Jose. If Frank Yallop keeps Joe Cannon’s job warm for him, San Jose should look to deal Busch. If they decide to keep Busch and deal Cannon, the Union might be able to make a swap for some allocation money, picks, or a veteran attacking threat the likes of Fred or Alejandro Moreno.

(Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

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