SAN JOSE, Calif. – Until this week, the San Jose Earthquakes had seen precious little of Alan Gordon in 2012.
What he’s showing them might just be worth the wait.
Gordon had been training in Southern California – including time rehabilitating at The Home Depot Center, home of the Quakes’ archrivals – for several weeks in the wake of surgery to correct a torn hip labrum and bone spurs. That followed on the heels of an August procedure that prematurely ended his 2011 campaign shortly after his arrival via trade from Toronto FC.
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When Gordon rejoined the Quakes on Monday, the 30-year-old looked able to move far more freely than he did last year. Gordon gutted out two appearances for San Jose in 2011 despite his litany of ailments, notching a point-saving goal against Portland before heading to the operating table.
“Alan’s been working really hard in the last month on the field, [doing] ball work and all those things,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said. “Now he’s ready to practice and it’s great. He looks good.”
Gordon, who signed a new deal with the Quakes this offseason, said he feels better than he has in a couple years and wants to put that health to good use as another potential target man at Yallop’s command.
“Working out by yourself and doing rehab gets old after a while,” Gordon said. “And I did a lot of it. I did a lot of hard work, and I’m ready to get joined up with the team and see it pay off.”
Although the Quakes think highly of Steven Lenhart – another striker in the same tall, muscular mold – there is room for Gordon as well. Yallop brought in Khari Stephenson to replace Lenhart in the second half of the Quakes’ 1-0 win against New England two weeks ago and admitted later the move didn’t provide the boost he wanted.
Gordon would be a better option in that role, once he gets acclimated to the new faces San Jose acquired in his absence.
“My lungs are good, I’ve just got to bring my legs along with them and get integrated into the team and jump in,” Gordon said. “I don’t think I’m far off.”
Yallop said Gordon is up for potential inclusion in the club’s travel squad for Saturday's match at Toronto (1 pm ET, TSN/RDS, ), although that possibility is a longshot at best – and Gordon understands why.
“I’ve got to wait my turn,” Gordon said. “I missed preseason. A lot of guys were here working hard and I can’t just jump in front of them. I’m going to have to wait for my chance. It’ll come, and I’ve got to be ready when it does.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.