SAN JOSE, Calif. – Justin Morrow had been planning to spend Wednesday watching Steven Beitashour, his partner in crime among the San Jose Earthquakes defensive corps, run himself ragged in the MLS All-Star Game.
“I was giving him a hard time,” Morrow told MLSsoccer.com Friday after training. “I said, ‘Oh, man, at least I don’t have to play 90 [minutes] against Chelsea.’”
It seems karma – whether good or bad – has struck back at San Jose’s iron man.
Morrow will join Beitashour and teammates Ramiro Corrales and Chris Wondolowski in Philadelphia next week after MLS All-Star coach Ben Olsen named the defender to the 18-man gameday roster in replacement of injured New York Red Bulls left back Heath Pearce.
The move might have been expected in the MLS Twitterverse, where Morrow’s name surfaced almost immediately as a potential replacement, but it still came as a surprise to the man himself – even with the impact he’s had on San Jose’s franchise-record 13-4-4 start. The Quakes lead the Supporters’ Shield race by seven points heading into their Sunday matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.
“Yeah, I was really shocked, to be honest,” said Morrow, the only Quake to have played all 1,890 regular-season minutes this year. “I think it was a position thing. It’s just crazy that I’m the one [going] out of all of our teammates. A lot of people on this team deserve it. … It’s a product of me doing well this season and our team doing well this season.”
This will be the first All-Star appearance for Morrow, as is also the case for Beitashour and Corrales, who was named to the team over the weekend by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. And while Beitashour and Morrow made it in their third professional seasons, Corrales – the only active MLS player who played in the league’s inaugural 1996 campaign – had to wait until his 14th year of service to get the call.
“I think [it’s] well deserved,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said of Corrales’ inclusion. “He’s the last guy in the league from ‘96, and he’s played well this year. The big thing for me is rewarding the guys who’ve shown longevity and played well in our league. I think it’s good for him. He’s been a great leader and a captain for us.”
Corrales, who has been dealing with a flare-up of pain in his always tetchy lower back, will miss the Quakes’ trip to Vancouver on Sunday (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online) and the Whitecaps’ unforgiving artificial surface. He is expected to be available for play against Chelsea and on July 28, when the Quakes host the Chicago Fire.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.