Changes Aplenty for San Jose Earthquakes
By Tommy Brown
Coming off a spectacular and unexpected Supporter's Shield winning campaign in 2012, the San Jose Earthquakes find themselves making wholesale changes well before the Super Draft on January 17th.
While the Quakes maintain possession of their deadly attacking trio consisting of last season's MVP Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon, no less than seven players have left Buck Shaw Stadium. Headlining the list of departures is Quakes captain Ramiro Corrales, as well as the Quakes first selection (3rd overall) of the 2010 Super Draft, Ike Opara.
Corrales was joined by Tim Ward, Khari Stephenson, Jean Alexandre, and Joey Gjertsen, all of whom were either out of contract or had the option on their contract declined by the Earthquakes. None of them were selected in the MLS Re-Entry draft in early December. Jed Zayner, who was signed as defensive cover for the 2012 season, retired from the game following the Quakes MLS Cup elimination.
Opara, who had his contract option declined as well, was traded before the second round of the Re-Entry draft to Sporting Kansas City in return for Sporting's second round Super Draft pick.
Following this mass exodus that left them with only four registered defenders in their first team, the Quakes picked up three players in the second round of the Re-Entry Draft: Dan Gargan, a defender who played in 22 matches for the Chicago Fire last season, Ty Harden, a defender released by Toronto FC, and Bryan Jordan, a defender from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
All three are MLS veterans with at least five season of experience, though only Gargan saw consistent playing time last year.
With questions about their defensive depth, and uncertainty surrounding the availability of Simon Dawkins for yet another loan deal, expect the Quakes to use their three Super Draft to address these issues.