SJ's Gordon "soldiering on" despite nagging ankle knock
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — If the San Jose Earthquakes are to reach their third MLS Cup final, it apparently will be with a gimpy Alan Gordon, at best.
Quakes coach Frank Yallop said Tuesday that Gordon, who suffered a sprained right ankle in training Oct. 19, probably won’t be at full strength “for another three weeks, if you really want to know.”
Gordon played 25 minutes off the bench during San Jose’s 1-0 win against the LA Galaxy on Sunday in opening leg of the clubs’ Western Conference semifinal, but didn’t look much like the guy who set or tied career bests with 13 goals and seven assists this season.
“If you watched the game, he’s struggling a little bit with it, so we’ll see how he is,” Yallop said. “He’s soldiering on and trying his best, but each step is really hurting him. ... He just keeps sort of tweaking it.”
Gordon headed to the sideline at the Quakes’ training session Tuesday after participating in opening calisthenics. Outside of one foul suffered, Gordon was a nonentity on the stat sheet from Sunday, and it’s an open question how much of a role he’ll play in the series finale Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium (11 pm ET, ESPN2; TSN2/RDS2 in Canada, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“He’s strapping it up and just getting out there and gritting his teeth, which Alan does,” Yallop said. “We’ll see. Another day of rest and getting off of it, maybe he can give us some minutes there.”
On the positive side of the injury ledger, the Quakes received a quality 31-minute stint Sunday from Simon Dawkins, who has been severely limited for more than a month with his own right-ankle sprain, missing three of San Jose’s last four regular-season matches.
“Sunday was the first time where I didn’t really feel anything,” Dawkins said. “I had been feeling it for a few weeks. So I’m hoping that the problem is gone now and I can just look forward to the next game.”
Dawkins wasn’t sure if he could go a full 90 minutes, but it appears more likely based off his successful work in Southern California that the Englishman could potentially be slotted in to start along the left wing. Conversely, Yallop might wish to save Dawkins for further use as a closer, bringing a calming influence in the latter stages if San Jose are trying to nurse a one-goal lead to the finish.
“When he’s on the ball, he makes great decisions and it’s hard to get him off the ball,” Quakes defender Jason Hernandez said. “He was a calming presence for us, and you saw that last match and I would imagine you’ll see more of that come this match.”
Yallop said midfielder Marvin Chávez was “fine” after coming off in the 59th minute Sunday. A team spokesman said defender Víctor Bernárdez, who left the pitch for a few minutes late in the second half, was suffering from cramps and not something more serious.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.