Saturday, March 10, 2007

Busy week for Jon Busch

From NEIL DAVIDSON & Canadian Press

It's been a whirlwind week for goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Placed on waivers last Thursday by the Columbus Crew, Busch was seething at what he perceived as unfair treatment by the MLS team. A week later, he was wearing the uniform of Toronto FC and pitching a shutout for 45 minutes as the expansion team blanked the University of Connecticut 4-0 in an exhibition game Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.

Busch, 30, spent five years in Columbus, where he was an all-star in 2004 and finalist for goalkeeper of the year. He won one cap for the U.S. national team.

While knee injuries restricted his play in both 2004 and 2005, Busch was 35-24-23 for the Crew. He holds team records in games (84), wins (35), saves (367) and shutouts (25).

But coach Sigi Schmid elected to go with Bill Gaudette and Will Hesmer this season. Both had injuries during the pre-season so Busch played five of six exhibition games, thinking all was well. Instead he was axed.

Busch told the Columbus Dispatch that Schmid had not talked to him once during the pre-season.

"It's done with," he said in an interview from Bradenton. "I've said my piece. It was unprofessional the way it was done. That's it. I've moved on. I'm in a much better place.

"If you would have caught me last week, I would have spent an hour explaining everything. But it is what it is. That's part of sports."

Busch says he is ready to help Toronto any way he can. The other goalkeeper of note in camp is Canadian international Greg Sutton.

At this stage, the five-foot-10 165-pounder is not thinking about what role he will be playing.

"I'm focused on just coming in, getting healthy, staying healthy and seeing where it leads me," he explained. "I just enjoy being out on the training field with the boys and putting in the work. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I'm on the field.

"Last year when I got injured, I was miserable. So I'm just happy to be back out there. I've basically just told Mo (coach Mo Johnston) if he wants me to play, I'll play. If he wants me to help Sutton along, I'll help Sutton along. I'm here for the team."

Busch's play was limited by injuries to the same knee the last two seasons. The first time he had a player fall on him from the blindside and the second came when he came out for a cross and stepped in a player's foot.

"The doctor said it was two freak incidents. I've been 100 per cent since December. It feels great. .. . I have no issues, no limitations."

Busch, who recalls playing in Toronto against the Lynx during his A-League days, says he looks forward to playing for Johnston.

"He's a players' coach. That's one of the biggest things you look for," said Busch, who also has warm words for Toronto assistant Bob Gansler and his tactical skills.

Already Busch likes what he sees with Toronto FC.

"It's really a great bunch of guys. It's very similar to the boys in Columbus."

And while Busch and his wife leave friends in Columbus, he likes the idea of playing in a hockey town.

"I'm a huge hockey guy. So I think I'm going to enjoy it."

No comments: