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Wanted: A Healthy, Non-Suspended Center Back (or Two)...

With Jason Hernandez suspended and Ike Opara sidelined, who pairs with Victor Bernardez in the center of the San Jose Earthquakes back line? Lisa Erickson looks at the options.

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

It is that scary feeling when you see the injury and suspension report and wonder if anyone will be available at center back. The San Jose Earthquakes normal winning crew has Victor Bernardez and Jason Hernandez anchoring the back line together with Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour out on the flanks.

However, in the last Quakes match on October 6th in Colorado, Jason Hernandez was issued a straight red for taking out Andre Akpan from behind in the first minute of stoppage time. See the video here. This has Hernandez joining Ike Opara in the on-field seats, the latter who is still listed as questionable due to "concussion-like" symptoms which incurred while playing Seattle back in September.

If that doesn't seem dire enough, it seems that the ever-versatile Justin Morrow has now been put on the official MLS injury list (under Probable) with his right shoulder sprained. Now all Quakes fans are praying that nothing befalls Victor Bernardez while he is down in Honduras playing in a World Cup Qualifier against Canada; since it seems that he will be manning the center back position with someone new for Sunday's home match against the LA Galaxy.

So what are the options at center back? Perhaps the time has come for Jed Zayner to take up that role for the Earthquakes, after having played center back (and on both flanks) for both for DC United and for the Columbus Crew in the past. Or will Ramiro Corrales move to the center on his bobble head night, leaving the left flank open for Zayner to slot in there?

Luckily, there are five more days for Morrow and Opara to get healthy before helping the rest of the Quakes finish the clean sweep of their nemesis from down south.


San Jose Earthquakes Injury Report as of 10/15/12:

Out: Mehdi Ballouchy (L – torn ACL), Jacob Hustedt (L - ankle surgery), Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R – groin strain), Tim Ward (L – non–specific soft tissue injury); Questionable: Ike Opara (concussion); Probable: David Bingham (R – wrist sprain), Simon Dawkins (R – ankle sprain), Justin Morrow (R – shoulder sprain).