Like life its own self, the San Jose Earthquakes are a work in progress on and off the field. Here's where we're at so far.
If you've been reading Jeff Carlisle's blog here at CLS (and if you haven't, you should), you know of the parade of players the Quakes have tried out at forward and/or midfield. Although the Fire game showed us a team capable of forcing a couple quality saves from Jon Busch (not to mention that unlucky bit of business in the 93rd minute), the Quakes are still a couple of players shy of being a playoff caliber team.
To their credit, neither John Doyle or Frank Yallop would argue with that, and even more to their credit, there is a sense of urgency as they search for some offensive spark, along with a refreshing lack of panic. At Media Day last Friday, Yallop told reporters, "We've got a lot of (players) we've chased and it's petered out at the end. It's been frustrating. We're trying our best to get the right players into the team. We could go and sign guys but we want to be sure it's the right ones, not just filing up a roster to have some guy sit on the bench — we want to make the team better. I think we have a pretty good team, off to a pretty good start, but we obviously have to add to that and we'll be doing that as we go along."
Fox Soccer Channel's Christopher Sullivan mentioned the Quakes are looking at Zinha, the 5'4" Brazilian-turned-Mexican midfielder who's currently captain of Toluca, and while he could be a welcome addition, there are no new names auditioning for the front line as I type this, and the current transfer window closes April 15. The good news, the transfer window opens again in mid-July, plenty of time to still make a difference this season if they can find the "right" forward. (Jay Hipps posted audio from the entire Frank Yallop media day interview on CLS — check it out here.)
Speaking of work-in-progress, I know the Quakes marketing team is very happy with the black jerseys, and specifically the sales figures for the black jerseys. I prefer the 2001 model blue and white shirt from Frank Yallop's first season in San Jose myself, but if you're going to go with the black tops, could we get the team some black shorts to match? Right now, the black and blue ensemble looks like the Quakes have a color-blind equipment manager.
The McAfee Coliseum is not the ideal venue for a soccer match, but given Lew Wolff's relationship to the folks in Oakland it's no surprise the big (read: Beckham) games will be played there. Big cheers to the grounds crew, who did a great job covering up the baseball diamond, laying turf over the entire infield. Next time, the club should also get the stadium crew to cover up the Athletics logos on the outfield wall (maybe with ‘Quakes logos?) since they face the TV cameras. Oh, and it'd be cool to have the other MLS games on the out of town scoreboard, too.
I hope you enjoyed the pre-game tailgating in Oakland. (I know I did.) Such partying will not be allowed down in Santa Clara (the school's rules - nothing to do with the Quakes) although the team may open access to the beer garden at Buck Shaw a little earlier than usual for season ticket holders. Stay tuned...
And, for those of you (like me) who noticed a CalTrain stop located a few blocks from the Buck Shaw stadium and considered taking the train down to games in Santa Clara this season, guess again. Here, in it's entirety, is what CalTrain sent me when I inquired as to coordinating a train schedule:
Thank you for your request for post-game train accommodations after the San Jose Earthquakes' games in Santa Clara.
Unfortunately Caltrain is not in a position to add service because of budget reasons, besides which management does not believe that the demand is there to warrant the addition of a train.
Nor can the 9:05 pm Saturday departure be delayed because there is no way to know when customers will be arriving at the train. A train cannot be held indefinitely when other trains depend on its timely performance. Also, there is construction along the right of way and adherence to a schedule is vital in order to have those areas cleared in advance of a train's passage without unduly interrupting the ongoing work.
We regret being unable to accommodate the Earthquakes' fans. However, if the team's executive staff wants to charter a train, we will be happy to schedule one.
So.... who's up for carpooling?