SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It’s sadly representative of the San Jose Earthquakes’ luck this season that new acquisition Alan Gordon would score his first goal with the team just two days before a doctor’s appointment that could lead to surgery with a month-long recovery time.
Winless in their last 10 matches, the Quakes (5-8-10) need offense from anyplace they can find it. And Gordon, who now has five goals this season in 738 minutes between Toronto FC and San Jose, could be a huge boon, as proven by his sharply snapped header in the 67th minute of the Quakes’ 1-1 tie against Portland on Saturday.
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But the seventh-year veteran has been playing hurt since arriving in San Jose on July 14, and he’s scheduled Monday to receive a second opinion regarding an injury that the Quakes have been describing as a strained right quadriceps.
Gordon said it wasn’t a thigh problem at all, but a double-abdominal hernia he suffered three months ago. The target man could go under the knife as early as Tuesday, although a team spokesman stressed that no firm decision has been made yet between rest, rehabilitation or surgery.
“That’s just been our season in a nutshell, right there,” Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski said. “Get a glimpse, dude does well and then an injury or something happens that puts him on the shelf for a while. I don’t even know what it is, but I don’t think we’ve put the same lineup down all year in back-to-back games. It’s tough.”
Gordon was brought in to provide depth behind target man Steven Lenhart, and possibly serve as a replacement if Lenhart, who is out of contract after this year, does not return to San Jose. And with Lenhart away on an indefinite family leave of absence, the door is wide open for Gordon to make a mark with the Quakes.
He took enough advantage to tally a point-saving goal for the Quakes, cutting inside of Portland center back Eric Brunner to reach Steven Beitashour’s looping pass and whipping a 14-yard header to the back post past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
The goal broke San Jose’s scoreless streak at 283 minutes, just shy of their season-high but still eighth on the list of MLS’ longest droughts this year.
“I tried to play through it as long as I can, just to get us through this rough patch, but it’s something that needs to be fixed so I can be 100 percent and help this club,” Gordon said. “It was pretty painful out there, but I did the best I could.”
It’s painful for the Quakes, as well, not having Gordon at full strength exactly when they most need him. Gordon said he was disappointed he can’t contribute more to the Quakes after spending so long trying to play through pain.
“It’s frustrating coming into a club that you want to play for, but I’m not in a position to,” Gordon said.
Gordon put a three-to-five week timetable on his recovery if surgery is required, with “three being optimistic."
“I’m going to try to get back as fast as possible,” Gordon said. “I don’t want to miss any more games than I have [already] this year, and I want to get back on the field and continue to play for this club.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes