Is he indispensable? With Marvin Chavez sidelined, San Jose Earthquakes about to find out
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes have already discovered just how crucial Marvin Chávez is to their offense. With the speedy winger being handed a two-game suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee on Friday, they could get another bit of unwanted proof of that fact.
Chávez was caught delivering an off-the-ball elbow to Toronto FC’s Logan Emory in the 58th minute of San Jose’s 2-1 win against the Reds on Wednesday night. The play went unpunished at the time, but did not escape the notice of the MLSDC, which also hit Chávez with a one-game ban last season for his reckless challenge on New York defender Roy Miller.
Although the MLS Players Union is appealing the second game of Chávez’s ban, the Honduran international will definitely miss the Quakes’ match Saturday in Seattle (4 pm ET; WATCH FREE on MLS Live).
“Well, it’s not good,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said at training Friday. “Does he catch him [with the elbow]? Yeah, but I don’t know. It’s disappointing. … It wasn’t very hard, but that’s life. We’ll get on with it. It’s disappointing because Marvin played great.”
Yallop’s club has scored seven goals in their last four matches, a string that corresponds with Chávez’s return from a preseason knee strain suffered while on January duty with Los Catrachos. The Quakes only managed five goals in their first seven matches without him, which means their goals-per-match average has jumped by more than one full goal – 1.75 vs. 0.71 – with the 29-year-old speedster attacking from the flanks.
San Jose haven't had to make do without reigning league MVP Chris Wondolowski for any significant length of time since he burst into prominence during his 2010 Golden Boot campaign, but it’s hard to imagine even his absence having as much of an impact as Chávez’s did.
“You don’t think one player makes a difference?” Yallop asked rhetorically. “Most teams in MLS, they’ll say there’s one key guy [that] you kind of miss. And I think all our players are good, but I think we missed Marvin. I really do.”
Yallop didn’t identify who might replace Chávez in the Quakes’ starting lineup against the Sounders. He did say that Chávez’s countryman and good friend Walter Martínez, who made his MLS debut against Montreal last weekend and notched assists against both the Impact and Toronto, was in the mix.