There was a time when Joe Cannon was the gold standard for Major League Soccer goalkeepers. That was back in Colorado days, then for a season at Los Angeles and then up the coast for San Jose as the American made the Western Conference stops.
Cannon has long been lapped on the rankings of MLS goalkeepers. He hasn’t even the solid No. 1 for some if his three years in Vancouver.
But the man can still clearly dig up show-stopper or two. Just watch the work at the end from Saturday as his Whitecaps held on to a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium, bravely preventing San Jose from doing what San Jose does so often: snatch the late, late game-winner.
In all honesty, a couple of the stops perhaps weren’t even Cannon; it’s hard to tell in the rapid-firing of it all whether Cannon or a defender turned away a couple of these point-blank numbers. Still, fun to watch it all.
Cannon and Co. getting it done in stoppage time, preventing the late equalizer to split the points in Northern California:
Welbeck’s Arsenal heroics complete “roller coaster” ride; Walcott proud
Welbeck’s headed turn of a Mesut Ozil free kick deep into stoppage time lifted the Gunners to within two points of the Premier League’s first slot in a 2-1 win over Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
A September setback meant knee surgery for Welbeck, and an even longer spell on the sidelines for the embattled Englishman.
All that helped Sunday’s goal felt even more massive.
From Sky Sports:
“Dying seconds, we kept pushing, had chance after chance. I missed the first opportunity and tried to make amends. It is important and the most important thing is to get the win. It has been a roller-coaster for me, a difficult moment and my family and friends know what I have been through.
Welbeck’s Arsenal and England teammate Theo Walcott, who scored the Gunners’ other goal, was pretty happy for his striker.
“This man hasn’t played for nine months and to get into the mix like that, special players come into into big games. That could be massive.”
He said it. Could Arsenal’s Manchester United import be the man who scored the biggest goal of a title run?
In the 95th minute Mesut Ozil whipped in an inch-perfect cross and Welbeck glanced home to sent the Emirates wild.
Click play on the video above to relive what will go down as perhaps the moment of the season so far with Leicester’s lead at the top of the Premier League now cut to just two points and Arsenal breathing down their necks.
After Jamie Vardy had given Leicester a controversial lead via a penalty kick he won, a red card for Danny Simpson early in the second half turned the tide of this match and Theo Walcott‘s equalizer set up the dramatic finale Welbeck delivered.
Stunning. Here’s what we learned from a sensational clash in north London.
GUNNERS GRIND OUT
They did it. They actually did it. So many times in the past Arsenal have been in this situation at a crucial time of the season and they’ve blown it. Not on Sunday.
On Valentine’s Day the Gunners broke the hearts of Leicester’s fans with Welbeck glancing a header into the far corner with the final attack of the game. It was what Arsenal deserved as they forced the issue from the start and were unlucky to go behind after Vardy’s skulduggery to win and then score a penalty kick. Wenger made the right subs at the right time with both Walcott and Welbeck jumping off the bench to net huge goals in what is a pivotal 10-day spell. Heading into a two-week break in the Premier League calendar, the momentum is now with Arsenal and Leicester’s hearts will be heavy instead of fluttering. Moments like Welbeck’s 95th minute are exactly why you end up winning the PL title. True champions have a never say die attitude and despite missing chances and coming up against an in-form Kasper Schmeichel, the Gunners dug deep and ground what could be a season defining win. They still remain two points off first-place Leicester but it is surely now advantage Arsenal in the title race.
DIVING VARDY SUCKS ARSENAL IN
The major moment which shaped this game arrived in the 44th minute. It all started on the edge of Leicester’s own box — as does most of their best attacking play — as Ozil looked to be clearly fouled by Wes Morgan but referee Martin Atkinson waved played on and Arsenal’s player hesitated for a second too long. The brilliant N'Golo Kante (more on him below) broke free down the right and Laurent Koscielny fouled him but Atkinson waved play on. Jamie Vardy then latched onto the ball and suckered both Nacho Monreal and Atkinson in as he flicked the ball past the Arsenal left back and dragged his left leg into Monreal’s body. Call it what you want: clever, cheating. Vardy knew what he was doing and it’s not the first time he’s done it this season.
6 – Jamie Vardy has won more penalties in the Premier League this season alone (6) than all of the other 19 Premier League teams. Spot.
He slammed home the spot kick to make it 1-0 and although you could fault Monreal for initially sticking his leg out, Vardy looked to go over. The crux of this debate should revolve around why no free kick was given for Morgan clambering over Ozil. That would have stopped the trademark lightning-quick counter that has become the lifeblood of Leciester’s remarkable rise to the top of the PL this season. Riyad Mahrez went down in the opening five minutes of the second half in a similar fashion as he bamboozled Monreal with his slick moves and felt a clip on his knee so went down. Atkinson didn’t fall for it this time.
Walcott equalized and Welbeck grabbed the dagger in Leicester’s heart at the end and perhaps it was what the Foxes deserved after the way they took the lead. Vardy dived. Justice prevailed.
KANTE MAKES FOXES TICK
N’Golo Kante didn’t deserve to be on the losing team. He is not a holding midfielder. He is a machine. Kante had 47 touches in the first half and was absolutely all over the pitch. He broke down Arsenal’s attacks and after Christian Fuchs struggled to cope with the pace of both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin early on, Kante shuffled over and shut down the left flank. He is the undisputed heartbeat of Leicester’s team. Sure, Vardy provides the pace and Mahrez the trickery but the industry and grit comes from the tiny midfielder signed from Caen in the summer for what now looks like a paltry $8 million. Even when Leicester were reduced to 10-men he was the driving force, the only man who could had the energy to get on the ball and drive forward in support of Vardy. It was a monumental display from the man who was plying his trade in the lower tiers of French soccer until recently. Now, he looks like one of the most complete central midfielders in the PL.
Arsenal earned a quick corner to open the action, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s hard, curling offering was headed just wide by Alexis Sanchez.
The quarter-hour mark was big on action, as Aaron Ramsey found himself racing for a loose ball with Leicester keeper Kaspar Schmeichel, who won the race with a sliding clearance. At the other end, Petr Cech slid to keep Jamie Vardy’s header from crossing the goal line.
Olivier Giroud has a headed goal correctly ruled offside in the 33rd minute.
And then, just before halftime, Martin Atkinson whistled Nacho Monreal‘s block of a Jamie Vardy run in the box. Arsenal felt aggrieved by the decision, but it would’ve been hard to see anything nefarious from Vardy in real-time, if at all.
The complexion of the match changed in the 55th minute when Danny Simpson picked up his second yellow card of the half. There was no doubt he was pulling on Giroud’s arm, and a caution-heavy affair found an ejection.