With the San Jose Earthquakes’ search for a new general manager stretching into another calendar year, there has been a paucity of roster moves ahead of the 2017 MLS season. In fact, as the Quakes wait to announce their choice of GM, the only experienced player addition since the close of their fourth straight season without a trip to the MLS Cup playoffs was picking up discarded Real Salt Lake forward Olmes Garcia in the second stage of the re-entry draft back in mid-December.
Sure, the club also added Cal defender Nick Lima as a Homegrown Player signing, but the former Academy product and Burlingame Dragons star has yet to play a professional game. He is projected by many to be an MLS starter in due time, but that doesn’t help a team today that will likely rely on a solid defense to make up for its anemic offense.
So what do the Quakes need to do to build experience on its back line? First and foremost, bring back 11-year MLS veteran Marvell Wynne.
Within the flurry of postseason transitions executed by interim general manager Chris Leitch and head coach Dominic Kinnear was the announcement that Wynne, whose previous contract had run out, was officially a free agent, eligible to sign with any team in MLS without the Quakes receiving any form of compensation. To date, his status remains as a free agent, and San Jose needs to step up and re-sign him.
Why? As dependable as they come, Wynne has played in 65 of a possible 68 games for the Earthquakes over the past two seasons. More than Chris Wondolowski, the team’s talisman, and more than Victor Bernardez, the heart and sole of the Quakes’ defense. Wynne was plucked from the re-entry draft heap ahead of the 2015 season, and he has been as loyal a servant for Kinnear as anyone on the roster.
But would it be money well spent? His reported salary for 2016 -- $224,375, according to figures released from the MLS Players Union -- made him just the 10th highest paid player on the team, on par with Bernardez and fellow stalwart Anibal Godoy. At just 30 years old, Wynne can expect a similar salary in his next contract, at least initially, and the Earthquakes should have the resources to make it happen.
Simply speaking, Wynne is not a commanding center back — a position that he was pressed to play for most of last season when erstwhile defender Clarence Goodson went down with injury — but his consistency alongside Bernardez or as a right back was instrumental in making the Quakes one of the stingiest defenses in all of MLS last year. He’s as dependable as they come, and he knows the system employed by Kinnear.
The good news is that this win Wynne situation looks to be going forward, as Center Line Soccer’s own Colin Etnire reported that the Quakes were in negotiations with Marvell to bring him back for another season in San Jose. It might not be a splashy transaction to re-sign Wynne, but it will mark a very shrewd bit of business.