CHARLESTON, S.C. - With two goals against D.C. United on Saturday, it appears San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Brad Davis has put the 2004 season behind him.
Davis, who moved to San Jose as part of a draft-day trade that sent Richard Mulrooney and Arturo Alvarez to Dallas, has made the transition to his new team easily, and as a result has found the scoring touch that eluded him a year ago.
Davis has 12 career goals in three seasons in MLS, the last two with Dallas and one with the MetroStars. But after leading the Burn in scoring in 2003, Davis scored just twice in 2004, with both goals coming in a single match against D.C. United on July 24.
Almost immediately Davis has been comfortable in the San Jose system, where Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear has given him carte blanche on the right-hand side.
"With this team I'll play wide, with the freedom to come inside a bit," Davis said. "It's nice. I have the freedom to be out wide and get the ball and then get inside and try to make things happen. He has shown a lot of confidence in me."
Kinnear's confidence in Davis manifested in a two-goal performance Saturday night against D.C. United in the Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, a 2-0 San Jose victory.
The first goal came when Davis drifted into the middle of the park and found himself on the end of an Alejandro Moreno cross. Ronald Cerritos drew a defender with him to the near post, leaving Davis alone at the back post.
He got a little more creative on the second goal. After Moreno was fouled at the corner of the penalty area, Davis stepped up to take the ensuing free kick. Unfortunately for United goalkeeper Troy Perkins, the wall was not set well enough and Davis lobbed the ball over the defensive barrier and inside Perkins' near post.
"That's ideal for me," Davis said of his second goal. "It's one of those things, if you get the opportunity you want to take advantage of it."
From Davis' first day with the organization, it was obvious to everyone involved he would work well in the system Kinnear has laid down.
"He has played really well for us," Kinnear said. "I always knew he was a good player. He's finding his groove here, which is nice to see."
Davis said he has enjoyed the change of scenery, as well as the role of one of the more experienced players on a young roster.
"Things are a bit different here," Davis said. "I recognized that my first training session. It's a great atmosphere, everyone has a great attitude. I've adapted from the change from Dallas. The guys have been great. The coaching staff has been awesome. Coming here was a good change, and I'm really enjoying it so far. We're a young team, but we are still getting results."
On Tuesday, Davis and the Earthquakes face a Columbus Crew squad that struggled against the USL First Division Charleston Battery in their opening match as part of the three-game round robin tournament concluding on March 25.
Andrew Mosier is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.