Santa Clara Grad Named Starter For MLS All-Star Game

July 13, 2001

San Jose Mercury News

Joe Cannon was like a gleeful kid on a spending spree in a toy store.

The Earthquakes goalkeeper actually was in a Toys R Us in San Jose on Thursday afternoon when it was announced he will start for the West in the Major League Soccer All-Star Game on July 28 at Spartan Stadium.

``I was behind two or three guys in the voting, so I'd have to say I'm surprised,'' said Cannon, (a Santa Clara University graduate) whose 1.03 goals-against average leads the league. ``I'm absolutely ecstatic. I think I've already surpassed my minutes on my cell phone for the month calling family and friends.''

Earthquakes defender Jeff Agoos and forward Landon Donovan (listed on the ballot as a midfielder) also were named as starters, with Donovan being one of three teenagers voted to start the game. Chicago's DaMarcus Beasley and D.C. United's Bobby Convey are the others. The East and West lineups were determined by fan voting on the Internet, in MLS stadiums and at Toys R Us and soccer specialty stores in MLS markets.

Ivan Gazidis, the league's deputy commissioner, announced the starters in front of some 200 onlookers at the Winchester Avenue toy store. He was joined by Cannon, Agoos, Donovan, Los Angeles midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos and Earthquakes General Manager Tom Neale.

Agoos was the top vote-getter with 34,711. Donovan (26,151) was third behind D.C. United defender Eddie Pope (26,886).

While Agoos and Donovan were among the front-runners from the start of voting, Cannon was trailing Kansas City's Tony Meola, Chicago's Zach Thornton and Colorado's Scott Garlick most of the way.

On Tuesday, when MLS released its latest totals, Cannon was fourth among West goalkeepers, trailing Meola by nearly 5,000 votes.

But when the final returns were counted, Cannon had earned his first All-Star appearance, edging Meola by 968 votes.

``I made up a lot of ground, and I have the Earthquakes fans to thank for that,'' Cannon said. ``I'm also relieved, because there was no guarantee I would be selected as a reserve. I've experienced some great things as a soccer player, but none tops this.''

The All-Star reserves, scheduled to be unveiled July 24, will be chosen by West Coach Bob Bradley of the Chicago Fire and East Coach Ray Hudson of the Miami Fusion.

Noteworthy players missing Thursday include forwards Ronald Cerritos (Earthquakes) and Diego Serna (Miami), and midfielders Cobi Jones (Los Angeles) and Carlos Valderrama (Colorado).

``There is no question there are deserving players who aren't starting,'' Gazidis said. ``That's part of the reason we have the coaches determine the reserves, for checks and balances.''

Cerritos, who has played in two All-Star Games, placed third in the voting among West forwards. The Earthquakes' Manny Lagos and Valderrama finished in a tie for sixth among midfielders, just 254 behind starter Cienfuegos.

Midfielders Clint Mathis (New York-New Jersey) and Convey were voted to start for the East but will not play because of injuries. Hudson will choose their replacements.

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