Jon Busch has played in more than his fair share of memorable matches since debuting in Major League Soccer in 2002, but there’s no doubt that Friday night’s draw at Columbus Crew SC will earn a place in his all-time ledger.
Busch achieved a milestone that only four other MLS goalkeepers have reached in the league’s 20-year history, appearing in his 300th regular-season league match. Fittingly, the occasion came in the same venue where he made his very first showing on April 20, 2002, while minding the net for Columbus against the New England Revolution.
Only Kevin Hartman (471), Nick Rimando (379) and Joe Cannon (342) made their way into more matches as an MLS goalkeeper. Exactly half (150) of Busch's career appearances came during his five-year stay with the San Jose Earthquakes from 2010-14, during which time he was a two-time MLS saves leader and the anchor for the 2012 Supporters' Shield-winning Quakes.
Busch, who endeared himself to the Chicago Fire fanbase during his ultra-successful first stint with the club (2007-09), was typically humble about the milestone's significance after the match.
"For me, I knew going into it that it could be my 300th but I didn't want to make it a big deal," he said. "But the nice thing is it worked out. The Man Above had a plan and to get it in Columbus, where I got my first-ever start, was really cool. It means a lot to me.
"I've never been one that's big on stats, I just kind of do my thing and at the end of the day if you've had a good career, your stats will speak for themselves. I've had the good fortune to play with so many good players, it's been a blessing."
As fortuitous as it was for Busch's 300th appearance to come in the place where it all started, so too did the stars align for him last offseason when he decided to return to Chicago.
“When in you’re a club like this that has the history that it does, you get a pride for the club," he told Chicago Fire Weekly on Saturday. "Knowing where this club is going, seeing what they’re doing and how hungry they are, it was a no-brainer when Frank (Yallop) and I talked. We’ve got a great bunch of boys in the locker room and now we’ve just got to put it together on the field. That’s part of the challenge of coming back. I have a lot of love for this club."