A couple of familiar faces returned to the fold this morning as the San Jose Earthquakes announced the acquisition of midfielder Shea Salinas from the Vancouver Whitecaps for allocation money and the resigning of forward Steven Lenhart to a contract extension. As per the usual policies of MLS, the details of Lenhart’s contract were not disclosed.
Lenhart was a pivotal figure in the Quakes successful spring run of six games unbeaten, which was capped by his hat-trick performance on the road against DC United on June 11th. After having his season cut short due to a leave of absence in late July, the target striker finished 2011 with 5 goals for the Quakes.
"I thought Steven was great for us in the games he was available. He was a big part of that six-game unbeaten streak we had and we’re looking forward to having him paired up with Chris Wondolowski at the top of our attack in 2012," said General Manager of Soccer Operations John Doyle.
Salinas returns to the team that drafted him out of Furman in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, but then departed after two uneven seasons to expansion side Philadelphia Union. Following the 2010 season, Salinas was selected by expansion side Vancouver Whitecaps in that season’s Expansion Draft. The acquisition of Salinas for an undisclosed amount of allocation money brings the young midfielder full circle back to Buck Shaw Stadium.
"We’re excited to bring Shea back to San Jose," Doyle said. "He’s a versatile guy who can play in the midfield, up top or even as an outside defender. His high work rate and pace should be a big help to us next season."
Two players that should bolster the Earthquakes attack in 2012; two players that have been off-season priorities to add to the roster. While not considered impact players by many, Lenhart and Salinas should fit in comfortably with the Earthquakes team first mentality.