As Quakes struggle, Doyle seeks new plan of attack
SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle has in recent weeks traded away two longtime members of his team, brought in three new players to address a variety of needs and had allocation money flowing both in and out of the club’s coffers.
That being said, Doyle still expects San Jose to make more noise before the summer transfer window closes August 15.
“I would sure like to,” Doyle said. “With Ike Opara being out, with [Steven] Lenhart being gone right now, I think ownership realizes that we need some help.”
Doyle went off Wednesday in search of said help, embarking on a Brazilian scouting swing with the help of Quakes' club partner Internacional.
“It’s not for a specific player,” Doyle said of his trip. “We’ve been looking at players now for probably the last four months, different players. It’s my job to always look at players, just looking at different things, trying to figure out how they fit.”
Quakes coach Frank Yallop said that the club could most use someone to bolster their flagging attack. Second-leading scorer Lenhart (five goals) has been out since July 20 on what the club acknowledged Thursday is an “indefinite family leave of absence,” with no timetable set for a return. Third-leading scorer Simon Dawkins (four goals) remains sidelined with a strained hamstring.
San Jose have been shut out in seven of their last nine matches, during which time they’ve gone 0-4-5.
“A creative player is what we’re lacking at the moment,” Yallop said. “We’ve got some key guys that have been missing, so we’ve got to try to just bolster the squad a little bit, but it’s not as easy as you think. We target guys, and then maybe it’s too much money, or it’s not the right time, or it doesn’t really fit into exactly how we want to play. It’s not just, pick him and he’s in. We’re working hard at it, and hopefully we can add someone.”
For his part, Doyle is content simply to add “the right player” to what he considers a solid base of talent. That player might need to be of a higher profile than Alan Gordon, Jacob Peterson or Nana Attakora, the three additions Doyle acquired from Toronto FC on July 14 in exchange for Ryan Johnson and allocation money.
While Brazilian attacker Geovanni, who the Quakes signed last August as their first Designated Player in franchise history, didn’t exactly set the world on fire from an individual standpoint, Doyle said the team benefited as a whole from his presence.
“Geovanni coming in last year, it lifted everybody,” Doyle said. “I think it lifted the whole team. Did he perform at the level we thought he would? No. Did he perform well? Yes. And did he lift the other players? Yes. Do you always want to try to do something? Yes.
“But can you find the right player, or do you just waste the money? That’s the thing.”
The Quakes don’t have long to separate the right players from the money-wasters. Not only is it a matter of getting someone signed before the transfer window closes, but with San Jose on a nine-match league winless streak — the longest such stretch in franchise history — the sooner any move gets made, the better for the Quakes’ chances.
“Everybody has great ideas of, ‘Get this guy. Do this. Do that,’” Doyle said. “And then if it doesn’t work out, they don’t say anything, right? If it doesn’t work out, it’s Frank and I that they ask about it. So we want to make sure that we [get it right]. I would think that we have a window still to improve our team, and we’re looking to do that, for sure.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes