Alas, we hardly knew ye.
As the San Jose Earthquakes continue building their 2014 roster, one name that will not be on the list is midfielder Jaime Alas. After his contract with Norwegian first division club Rosenborg BK was terminated, the El Salvadoran midfielder is set to sign with Ballenas Galeana Morelos of Ascenco MX, Mexico's second division, as a free agent.
After arriving in San Jose last summer on loan from Rosenborg, Alas made 5 regular season appearances for the Quakes as well as a pair of starts in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. Not at his peek physical condition, Alas found it difficult to get first-team minutes in his three month stay with the Earthquakes. Following the season, San Jose declined the transfer fee agreement in his loan deal, and Alas returned to his Norwegian club.
Following last week's addition of midfielders Atiba Harris and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Earthquakes general manager John Doyle told the San Jose Mercury News that he hoped to bring in Alas as part of the Quakes preseason camp to compete for a spot on the roster. Instead, Rosenborg sporting director Erik Hoftun told his club's website that moving Alas to Ballenas Galeana was "the best solution for both parties."
With the ascension of Cordell Cato as the heir apparent to Marvin Chavez as the starting right midfielder toward the end of the last season, Alas could not capitalize on his opportunity to play with the Quakes. The 24-year old La Selecta midfielder has earned 33 caps for the El Salvadoran national team since his debut in 2010, but his professional career has stalled. Alas made the move to San Jose in hopes of securing more playing time, but that did not work out as planned. Alas signed with Ballenas Galeana, also the club of another MLS refuge, former Houston Dynamo designated player Luis Angel Landin, in the hope he can achieve the same objective and further his opportunities with the national team.
The loss at the chance of re-signing Alas does not significantly affect the Earthquakes entering the 2014 season though it does leave plenty of room on the depth chart at midfielder on the current roster. Last week's addition of Harris helped build depth on the right wing along with Cato while starter Shea Salinas can count among his back-ups third-year winger Sam Garza. The MLS SuperDraft provides another opportunity to beef up the wings, but Doyle and head coach Mark Watson are more likely to look for central midfield and defensive help.
Jaime Alas Highlight With San Jose Earthquakes: