Quakes face challenges bringing in new players

Quakes face challenges bringing in new players
August 12, 2011, 5:21 am
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Nicholas Rosano
SANTA CLARA-- Injuries and absences are steadily cropping up for the Earthquakes, and withthe playoffs drawing ever closer and the team behind in the race to make thepostseason, there is a particular sense of urgency around the team. Perhaps themost urgent need, though -- a new attacking player -- will be addressed evenbefore the team takes on the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 13. Scott Sealyis the latest name on the teams mostly growing casualty list with a groinstrain and the squad has become thinner with the need for replacementssimilarly increasing. With the hours ticking away until the Aug. 12 MLSdeadline for receipt of International Transfer Certificates (ITCs) and the endof the intrainter-MLS transfer window a few days later on Aug. 15, theEarthquakes are looking to move fast to bolster their roster for the playoffpush. As Sealys injury would suggest, the forward position is thebiggest one of need for the Earthquakes, as he joins Alan Gordon and StevenLenhart on the list of the Earthquakes absent forwards. Gordon recentlyunderwent surgery to repair a torn rectus abdominus and torn left and right hipabductors, while Lenhart has been granted an indefinite family leave ofabsence. To be honest we just need a real attacking a player, eitheran attacking player or a forward, just to help with that void we have with ourinjury crisis up front a little bit, head coach Frank Yallop said Thursday,reiterating a sentiment he has expressed throughout the last few weeks. Earthquakesgeneral manager John Doyle also explained that the teams injury crisis putplenty of pressure on him and Yallop to find a replacement forward who can comein and help the team win. It puts a lot of pressure, Doyle said. Because you want to win, you want tohave a player come in and helping the team win, and with so many guys injuredwere in a hard position right now. The Earthquakes thought they hada deal for an international player in place Wednesday, but head coachFrankYallop admitted the deal had fallen through, though not by fault of theEarthquakes. It would have helped our team out for sure, but it justfell through at the last minute, not from us, Yallop said. One pieceof news Yallop and the Earthquakes were happy to hear is that young Englishforward Simon Dawkins will return from an injury that forced him out of theteams last three games. While not fully fit, Dawkins will likely see time offthe bench and look to inject some creativity in the attack. WhileDawkins is a welcome return, the absences of Sealy, Gordon and Lenhart mean theEarthquakes are without a serviceable target forward to hold up play, long seena vital component for Frank Yallops various teams. Both Yallop and Doyleadmitted, though, it was not necessarily that easy to find the right fit. Youthink its like we like him, well sign him tomorrow, it doesnt work thatway, Yallop remarked. Its identifying players because agents send youeverything -- this guys free -- but theres no stipulation where he wants togo. Does he want to stay in his own country, does he want go to the States,what money is he looking for, does the club want any money if hes undercontract, just a ton of stuff to get through. Doyle, on the otherhand, highlighted the financial issues behind securing an internationalsigning. It is an especially challenging task for MLS teams to compete on theworldwide market because of the spending restrictions put in place by theleagues single-entity structure.Its financial, thats always aconcern here, its always financial first, Doyle said. Then theres thecompetition of the rest of the world, which kind of is the financialdifficulty. Doyle also made the point that the differing schedules inleagues throughout the world each offered their own complications whenapproaching an international transfer. Right now in Europe, its allpreseason, so you bring a guy in, it takes two weeks to get his visa, hes inpreseason, so hes maybe not as fit as youd like him to be, then you put himon the field right away and theres a chance hes going to get injured, so itsa gamble, Doyle said. Doyle had also recently been scouting in Brazil, both looking at players and furtherdeveloping contacts with San Joses partner clubthere, Internacional, from the southern city of Porto Alegre. However, Doyle acknowledgedthat the South American calendar posed its own problems. South America, its pretty good because theyre inseason, Doyle said. The problem there is, theyre in season and teams dontwant to let them go becausetheyre cover or theyre playing, so then you kindof have to be a little lucky and find somebody thats either fallen out offavor during the season with their coach, thats probably a good player. Despitethe difficulties associated with securing new players and the deal that fellthrough, Doyle did admit that there were a few players on the teams radar asthe transfer window draws to a close. For me its worth it, totallyworth it," he said. If we can find a player that we like and we want andthat were targeting, which theres three or four guys that weve targeted andare trying to get in -- if we can make it work financially with those guys andeverything checks out, then I think even if we have one game left, then itsworth it to bring a player in.For more Earthquakes, MLS andworld soccer musings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter:@nicholasrosano

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