Knighton Earns First Career Shutout
Brad Knighton was hoping for a second chance.
That’s all he could do.
“You wait and hope and pray that your day will come again,” Knighton said.
Knighton received just his second start in goal in league action this season, and he responded by helping the Union to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire before a raucous, sellout crowd Saturday night at PPL Park.
Knighton registered four saves, including a clutch stop on Freddie Ljungberg from about 10 yards out in the 32nd minute.
When it was over, Knighton earned his first career shutout and the Union became the final MLS club to earn a clean sheet.
“I have to give all the credit to the guys in front of me,” Knighton said. “They’ve worked their socks off this whole year. It’s been unfortunate on a couple of occasions, but tonight was our night and I’m glad for our team.”
Knighton’s last start came on Aug. 8 at FC Dallas when he received a red card following a bobbled ball in the box. David Ferreira equalized on the ensuing kick, and Knighton’s night was over.
While Knighton played exceptionally well in a 1-0 win over Chivas de Guadalajara on Sept. 1, he was just hoping for another chance in league action.
He got it and sure capitalized.
“Being a backup, you always want to wait for your opportunity, and back in Dallas it was one of those things that happens every once in a while,” Knighton said. “You take it for what it is and makes you stronger. You come back to work and you work your tail off and you hope for another chance and you try to make the most of that one and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
Knighton was told by the technical staff that he would be starting earlier on Saturday.
“For him, it was nothing new; he knew that he could start,” Manager Peter Nowak said after the match. “I think he made very crucial saves, especially the first half, the shot from Freddie Ljungberg. It was a very solid performance from him, but it was also a good performance from our backline as well.”
Captain Danny Califf said he was thoroughly impressed with Knighton’s performance.
“He did a great job and I’m happy for him,” Califf said. “He was very commanding in the box. He came out when he needed to and he played with a lot of confidence.”
For him, that was huge because it signified another shot.
“I’ve been itching and scratching to get back in there,” Knighton said. “I felt like I let the team down in Dallas. These guys put everything into it, and I felt as if I let them down in my last start. I have been determined to get back in there. It felt great. I’m very, very happy for us as a team to get the three points because it was a team effort.
“These guys were phenomenal in front of me tonight.”