Salvadoran midfielder Jaime Alas finally had his long sought for trial with the San Jose Earthquakes this week, and according to the player’s representative his stint with the club was time well spent. The 22-year old currently is under contract with domestic side Luis Ángel Firpo for the next two years, but has repeatedly stated that he wants to pursue playing opportunities overseas. According to his representative, Alas hopes to learn this weekend whether he will be brought in to MLS and whether the deal will be structured as a loan or a permanent transfer.
In an interview yesterday with a leading Salvadoran television sports program, Alas went into great detail about his time spent with the Earthquakes. He expressed how helpful some of the players were in helping him acclimate to the team, mentioning fellow international Rafael Baca among others. Alas also talked about how Firpo requested that his trial with San Jose last no more than a week, and that he return to his domestic side immediately after. In a very telling comment from the interview, Alas claimed that Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop wants him on the team, and that they will work with Firpo to come to a transfer agreement.
Whether or not Alas could be brought to San Jose, the Earthquakes would need to take his salary demands into account in addition to what type of deal was reached with his contract holder Firpo. Earlier this week, Earthquakes general manager John Doyle expressed that the team was prepared to make more roster moves, but that he would need to take the team's salary cap numbers into account.
"We’re never done," said Doyle in a media conference call on Tuesday. "The cap does limit you. We're close to the cap but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t move players out."
Alas’ trial with the Earthquakes comes after an unsuccessful attempt in January to make a move to Guatemalan side C.S.D. Comunicaciones when his contract holder Firpo was unable to agree on a deal. The midfielder, who caught the attention of the Earthquakes technical staff last June during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, was then invited to train with San Jose during their week-long preseason training camp in Oxnard, Calif. During that time, Alas was able to work with the team and also participate in preseason friendlies against the Houston Dynamo and VC Fusion.
The San Jose Earthquakes have one unused International Player roster spot available for the 2012 season, so bringing Alas aboard is a possibility. If the Salvadoran left winger did make the move to San Jose, it would arguably give the team an embarrassment of riches in the midfield, which would probably signal that players currently on the roster could be moved in favor of addressing needs on the defensive line. Coach Yallop has already mentioned that avenue for player acquisition as a possibility leading up to the MLS roster compliance date of March 1.
The complete Jaime Alas interview with Fanaticos+:
A good collection of Jaime Alas goals: