Dateline: March 17, 2012, AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif.
Playing against the visiting Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch is whistled for a foul in his own penalty box against Dynamo forward Brian Ching, resulting in the game’s only goal through a Brad Davis penalty kick in the 14th minute.
Following the loss, Busch accepted responsibility for the foul.
“(The referee’s) explanation to me then and there was, ‘I thought you took him out.’ I respect that decision. It’s a split-second call for him. It’s a split-second decision for me.”
And went a step further.
“I owe the boys a point down the road. We should have at least got a draw out of that.”
Dateline: March 31, 2012, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
With the Earthquakes nursing a 1-0 advantage heading into the final stages of their match at Western Conference rival Seattle Sounders FC, Busch makes three critical saves, bookended by two highlight-reel stops on star Sounders striker Fredy Montero.
Off a free kick in the 70th minute, Montero got a right-footed flick on the ball just outside the Quakes’ six-yard box, only for Busch to dive to his left and parry the ball away. The veteran goalkeeper then still gathered himself in time to turn away Zach Scott’s low, left-footed rebound effort.
Just six minutes from the finish, it was Montero again, this time with a dipping left-footed strike from the top of the penalty area. With over 38,000 spectators on hand thinking equalizer, Busch lunged low to his right to save the shot out for a corner kick and preserve the 1-0 shutout victory for his side.
“The play against Houston was unfortunate,” said Busch after Monday’s training session. “Like I said back then, it could happen to anybody, but I felt like I owed the boys some points. I guess people seem to think that I paid them back on Saturday night. I don’t like to look at it that way. I was just doing my job, and it was a great result for us.”
With a share of first-place in the Western Conference alongside Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids, the Earthquakes (3-1-0, 9 pts.) return home from a perfect two-game road stretch to host another Western foe in Vancouver Whitecaps FC this Saturday, April 7. Whitecaps FC (2-0-2, 8 pts.) sit one point behind the Quakes, and have yet to concede a goal through four games this season. The Quakes themselves have only allowed the Davis spot-kick back on March 17.
“(‘Caps goalie) Joe Cannon’s playing great,” concluded Busch. “They haven’t given up a single goal yet. It’s a testament to him and their new coaching staff, how well they are doing. It’s going to be a battle, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Kickoff in Santa Clara is slated for 4 p.m. as the Earthquakes aim for their eighth straight sellout inside Buck Shaw Stadium. The match will be aired live on Comcast SportsNet California, 1590 KLIV and 1370 KZSF. Individual game tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-225-2277 or online at sjearthquakes.com.