Nov. 23, 2009
BERKELEY - Former California student-athlete Josh Saunders became the first goalkeeper to substitute into MLS Cup in the Los Angeles Galaxy's eventual 5-4 penalty-kick loss to Real Salt Lake on Nov. 22 in Seattle. Saunders replaced L.A. starter Donovan Ricketts in the 66th minute after the latter broke his hand. Saunders made one save through overtime, and the game remained tied at 1-1. He made two saves in the penalty-kick shootout before Real Salt Lake prevailed.
Saunders was a member of two previous MLS Cup winners (Galaxy in 2005 and San Jose Earthquakes in 2003) but did not play for the first team of either club those years. He made his debut for the Puerto Rican national team in 2008.
The Grants Pass, Ore., product has also played for three clubs in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1): the Portland Timbers (2003-05), Puerto Rico Islanders (2007-08) and Miami FC (2008).
Saunders played at Cal from 2001-02, when he was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection. Saunders' best season was in 2002, when he was named a College Soccer News All-American and became the first goalie to earn the Pac-10 Player of the Year award. Also in 2002, when Cal reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament, he posted Cal's second-best season shut-out total (10) and seventh-best season goals-against average (0.85). He ranks fifth on Cal's career GAA list (0.99) and is tied for sixth on the school's all-time shut-out list (15).
He graduated from Cal with a degree in American Studies in 2003.