SJ's Gordon goes from super sub to super starter in July

Alan Gordon

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Alan Gordon started off 2012 as the San Jose Earthquakes’ super sub.

In the month of July, he’s simply been super.

With Steven Lenhart sidelined by concussion symptoms, Gordon has started all four matches of San Jose’s matches this month as the Quakes’ target forward. And the 30-year-old has provided three goals in those four games, pushing his season total to a career-best eight and showing that last year’s abdominal and groin issues – injuries that came with him when Gordon arrived via trade from Toronto FC – are a thing of the distant past.

GOAL: Gordon's eighth of the season

“[I’m] very pleased for Alan, because he’s been through a lot of injury situations in his career, but what he doesn’t do is ... give up,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said after Gordon tallied the deciding goal in a 2-1 victory against FC Dallas on Wednesday. “He works really hard on his fitness. I think it’s at a great place right now.”

Gordon was brought along slowly after undergoing two offseason surgeries to correct a number of issues. The former LA Galaxy and Chivas USA man, who spent his offseason training at the Home Depot Center, appeared in only three of San Jose’s first 10 matches.

But Gordon has played in each of the Quakes’ last 11 games, scoring in seven of those contests. Prior to his 45th-minute strike Wednesday against Dallas, all of Gordon’s scores came in the final half-hour, and he had a stretch in May that featured two game-tying goals and one game-winner, none of which came earlier than the 88th minute.

Yallop still tries to take it easy on Gordon in practice when possible, but he doesn’t think the injury worry is in the back of anyone’s head at this point.

For his part, Gordon is going with the time-worn “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.

“It’s tough to say you’re 100 percent at this point of the season, in any season,” Gordon said. “But I feel healthy. I’ve been working hard. I’ve been saying that coming off the injury last year. I’ve been working really hard and I continue to do that. I’m not changing what I’ve been doing and it seems to be working.”

Things have kicked into high gear since Gordon stepped into the starting XI against Portland on July 3. After logging 323 minutes in his first 10 appearances, Gordon has 321 over his four starts, and has looked more dangerous for longer stretches of time as the month’s gone on.

“When you get minutes, you’re fitter,” Gordon said. “And when you’re not getting minutes, you get out there and sometimes you’re sucking wind, and that’ll affect your play. The more minutes I get, the more fit I get and it allows me to do more things on the field. In that sense, I am feeling strong and I hope it continues.”

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com.