Quakes stock up in Expansion Draft
SAN JOSE -- The anticipation of the return of the San Jose Earthquakes has been building for some time, but that process kicked into overdrive on Wednesday as the team revealed the 10 players it had selected in the MLS Expansion Draft.
The announcement at a pub in downtown San Jose brought cheers from the fans assembled, and the excitement was also evident in the voices of general manager John Doyle and head coach Frank Yallop.
"I think we've selected a list that we're very happy with as a start," said Doyle. "It's a framework, and we're happy with the list [of players]."
Given the dearth of wide players made available by the league's 13 teams, the Quakes braintrust chose to focus on shaping the spine of their team, selecting three central defenders, as well as three central midfielders. And it was one those defenders who drew the biggest round of applause from fans, as former Earthquakes defender and Santa Clara University product Ryan Cochrane was the first player announced to the crowd by Yallop.
"I would use the word 'ecstatic' that [Cochrane] is coming back," said Yallop. "He feels like he's home, so we're really excited. He's a very good defender ... in this league."
Yallop followed up Cochrane's selection by revealing that Clarence Goodson was obtained from FC Dallas. Goodson's contract expires in December, but Yallop said he was confident of re-signing the former Hoops' defender.
"With these two guys, we really have something to build on," said Yallop of his first two selections.
But even as Yallop focused on defense, versatility was the theme of the day, and that is exactly what the Quakes got with the trio of midfielders who were announced next. Ex-Columbus attacker Ned Grabavoy, former New England utility man James Riley, and New York's Joe Vide all provide flexibility as well as solid credentials. Yallop even went so far as to compare Vide to a key player from San Jose's championship past.
"Vide is a good, young, emerging midfielder, who has a young Richard Mulrooney look him," said Yallop.
Of the other players selected, the one with the highest pedigree was Honduran midfielder Ivan Guerrero. The former Chicago Fire player was hailed by Yallop for his work rate and ability to keep possession.
The Quakes' selections were rounded out by U.S. international midfielder Brian Carroll (ex-D.C. United), former Chivas USA defender Jason Hernandez, long-time Yallop favorite Gavin Glinton from the LA Galaxy and Toronto FC's Chris Pozniak.
Of course, such is the nature of expansion drafts that at least a few of the just-acquired players will be used to facilitate trades, and Yallop warned those assembled not to get too attached to the Quakes' new additions. He said that a deal had already been struck for one of the new players, and that another trade was in the works that involved a draft pick.
San Jose's biggest position of strength would appear to lie in central midfield, especially with Vide and Carroll vying for the same position. For that reason a trade involving one of those two seems the most likely to occur.
But at the end of the day's proceedings, Yallop said he was satisfied with the players he acquired, and looked like a man who couldn't wait to continue the process.
"It's a start," said Yallop. "If I had to start an MLS game tomorrow, I've got no problem playing those guys all together."