Quakes very much alive, despite injuries
Even though they have added a lot of new faces to the team, the San Jose Earthquakes have fared well so far this 2005 season, losing only one of their first seven matches this year. You may not recognize a lot of the players out at Spartan Stadium this year after the departures of stars like Landon Donovan, Richard Mulrooney and Jeff Agoos to other MLS teams. But, with the recent injuries to some top players, the new-look Earthquakes have quickly learned that meshing well as a team and trusting each other is the key to success.
The Earthquakes lost three of their starters to serious injuries during the May 14 match against FC Dallas, and defender Craig Waibel tore his ACL and other knee ligaments earlier that week during a scrimmage. Quakes leading goal scorer Brian Ching injured his hamstring, midfielder Brian Mullan fractured his ankle, and veteran defender Troy Dayak tore his ACL during the game. But even with the loss of some of their key players, the Quakes aren't worried.
"Our team is still very positive about this season, especially looking at the guys coming in for the injured players," said defender Eddie Robinson, who has played in San Jose since 2001. "Alejandro Moreno, Ian Russell, and Ryan Cochrane aren't rookies by any means. They're all really experienced and quality players."
Robinson himself has dealt with injuries in the past, suffering both a ruptured hamstring and a sprained knee at different points in the 2004 season. He understands how frustrating it is to be unable to play and has some advice for his injured teammates.
"Mental strength is the biggest key to recovering from an injury," said Robinson. "When they tell you that you're out for the season, it's very rough because soccer is your life. Once you start the rehab process, you just have to keep your chin up and be really diligent because it's a long recovery process."
Robinson and the rest of the Quakes have good reason to be confident in the players that will replace Ching, Mullan, Dayak, and Waibel on the field. Forward Alejandro Moreno, who is a new addition to the Quakes roster this year after playing in Los Angeles for three seasons, has already scored two goals as a substitute this season. He's quick! Watch out for him breaking away from defenders and heading towards the goal at every chance he gets.
"Obviously, it's not good for the team that I get to start now because it's due to an injury," said Moreno. "But now it's my responsibility as a professional soccer player to come in and step up to play my best for the team."
Ricardo Clark will now be playing in defense in replace of Craig Waibel. Though Clark normally plays in the midfield, the former MetroStar has played in the back before. He is very talented on the ball and knows how to control the flow of the game from wherever he is on the field.
Ian Russell will take over the right midfield position in the absence of Brian Mullan. Russell is not a new face to the Quakes, as this is his sixth year on the San Jose roster. Russell has contributed a lot to the Quakes over the years, and he is expected to be great again this season with his amazing speed and crossing accuracy.
Ryan Cochrane will resume his position in defense in place of Troy Dayak. As a rookie in 2004, the Santa Clara University star started 18 games and even had an assist. With his strong position, great ball skills, and physical dominance on the field, Cochrane is expected to be one of the best young defenders in MLS.
Other new players have already made their mark for the Quakes this year. Central midfielder Danny O'Rourke has started every game in 2005 as a rookie. He is not afraid to get physical, and his passing accuracy and dribbling skills just add to his toughness. Another addition to the team is defender Danny Califf. You probably haven't heard much about him yet this year because he just recovered from a knee sprain. But as soon as he gets his game fitness back, you won't be able to miss his dominance in the air and his one-on-one defending.
So don't forget these major points, and head out to Spartan Stadium to cheer on the new 2005 San Jose Earthquakes!
Be patient when you're injured. It takes a long time to get better!
Every single player is an important part of your team. If you lose your best players, you have to trust other people on your team to step in and play for them.
Learn the skills of more than one position. You never know-you might have to play somewhere on the field you're not used to.
Always play your best! That's the only way your team can improve.