To Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon, the act of recording his 100th victory in MLS play was less important than how No. 100 came about.
“I’m not going to sit and worry about that,” Cannon said after the Quakes beat New England 2-0 on Saturday. “I just hope I can be a part of efforts like these more often. As far as 100 wins go, those things are for the media and people to look at and celebrate. I don’t take any sense of accomplishment for winning, I just take it from working hard.”
Cannon joined Kevin Hartman (146), Zach Thornton (126) and Scott Garlick (107) as the only MLS keepers to reach 100 lifetime victories.
“I think one day, I’ll look back and have a less philosophical approach, but I think right now it’s important that I don’t get caught up into emotion or anything and I try to improve as a goalie,” Cannon said of his low-key demeanor.
Though wins may be “just stats” to the 35-year-old Cannon, when compiled in such great numbers, they speak to longevity and persistence -- two qualities which his teammates appreciate.
“It just shows the hard work that he puts in, year in and year out,” Quakes forward Ryan Johnson said. “Every offseason, he’s working very hard, taking care of his body. His body is working on him and he’s fighting back. He’s going to have many more.”
Part of Cannon’s antipathy to the mark may stem from the fact that he’s the only member of the Triple-Digit Club with a losing record. (Cannon’s second on the list of career losses, at 112, and is only eight behind Hartman, the all-time leader.)
Cannon hasn’t posted a 10-win season since 2005, although that hasn’t exactly been entirely his fault. In 2008, Cannon was backstopping an expansion roster; last year, the Quakes defense all too often made egregious mistakes that hung him out to dry in 1-on-1 situations.
“He deserves every [win],” Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski said. “He probably deserves a couple more that we’ve let go for him. So we apologize for that; it should have come quicker. But he’s a great goalkeeper, a great leader and a great guy. I feel honored that he got that 100th win.”
Thus far this season, San Jose has featured a defense that’s improved from match to match and is far ahead of last year’s model. Before a flurry in second-half injury time that required a trio of sprawling saves from Cannon, the Revolution were credited with only three shots on goal.
If the Earthquakes defense continues to play like this, Cannon could be headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. That’s the prize he’s keeping his eye on.
“I just want win No. 101 next week,” Cannon said.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @sjquakes.