Rapids Keeper Joe Cannon Named to Major League Soccer’s Radio Shack Best XI

DENVER CO (11-13-04) – Major League Soccer announced today that Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon the winner of the 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award was named to the Radio Shack Best XI for the first time in his six-year MLS career.

Cannon now joins Mark Chung (2002 and 2003) and John Spencer (2001 and 2003) as the only three players in Rapids history to be named to the league's Best XI list. Cannon and the rest of this year’s Best XI were honored at the annual MLS Gala Awards Party at the Universal Studios Globe Theatre in Hollywood.

Cannon who was a finalist for the Honda MLS MVP award only to be defeated by MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara took home his second Goalkeeper of the Year award yesterday after first winning the award in 2002. That season despite being named Goalkeeper of the Year Cannon was not recognized by MLS on that year’s Best XI with the goalkeeper spot on that squad going to current Manchester United keeper Tim Howard who played for the MetroStars at the time. That was the only time in MLS history that the Goalkeeper of the Year was not also represented in the Best XI.

Since the 2001 season Colorado Rapids players have held five of the 44 spots on the MLS Best XI squads with Chung and Spencer each being named to the squad twice in addition to Cannon’s lone appearance. In that time only the Chicago Fire with seven spots and the San Jose Earthquakes and MetroStars with six have had more representation in the Best XI than the Rapids.

The 2004 season was Cannon’s first full season with the Rapids and he made an immediate impact by starting all 30 of the team’s regular season matches as well as both playoff games and setting a number of league team and personal records. Cannon was the only keeper in MLS to appear in all of his team’s regular season matches and he led the league with 150 saves and 10 shutouts. His 1.07 goals against average was good for third in MLS and set a new Rapids record as well as being the lowest of his six-year MLS career. His prowess between the pipes was most evident at INVESCO Field at Mile High where he allowed just eight goals in 15 regular season games for a MLS record 0.53 GAA. In those 15 games Cannon never allowed more than a single goal in a game and recorded seven clean sheets.

Cannon spent the first four years of his MLS career between 1999 and 2002 with the San Jose Earthquakes. In 2001 he helped guide the club to its first ever MLS Cup title as the Earthquakes knocked off the rival Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 in overtime and he remains the team’s all-time leader in wins. At the end of the 2002 season Cannon went to Europe to play for RC Lens of France’s Ligue 1. He elected to return to MLS in August 2003 and was dealt by the Earthquakes to Colorado where he has since ensconced himself as a fan favorite and one of the Rapids’ undeniable leaders both on and off the field.

Joining Cannon on the 2004 Best XI squad are defenders Robin Fraser (Columbus Crew) Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards) Ryan Nelsen (D.C. United) and Eddie Pope (MetroStars) midfielders Amado Guevara (MetroStars) Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards) Ronnie O’Brien (Dallas Burn) Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) and forwards Jamie Moreno (D.C. United) and Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes)

Voting for the Radio Shack MLS Best XI is divided into three groups with each group holding 33.3 percent of the vote. The three voting groups are players coaches and general managers and the media.