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San Jose SuperDraft Preview: Depth a question for Quakes

MLSsoccer.com continues its team-by-team preview of the 2013 SuperDraft with a look at what could be in store for the San Jose Earthquakes, the 2012 Supporters’ Shield champions.

The Quakes proved their depth all season long en route to 66 points and their first hardware since being reborn in 2008. They’ll need to do the same this year if they want to become the fourth team in a row to repeat as Shield champs.

And as it stands, they need that depth on the backline. They only have two true central defenders under contract – three if Ty Harden signs – and that’s the area of biggest concern. Especially since Víctor Bernárdez is somewhat injury prone.

San Jose Earthquakes SuperDraft Picks: #15 (1st Rd), #33 (2nd Rd), #34 (2nd Rd)

San Jose Depth Chart (21 players):

Goalkeepers (3): Jon Busch, David Bingham, Evan Newton

Right Back (1): Steven Beitashour, Dan Gargan

Center Back (2): Víctor Bernárdez, Jason Hernandez

Left Back (1): Justin Morrow

Right Midfielder (3): Marvin Chávez, Sam Garza, Mehdi Ballouchy

Defensive Midfielders (2): Sam Cronin, Brad Ring

Central Midfielders (2): Rafael Baca, Jacob Hustedt

Left Midfielders (2): Simon Dawkins, Shea Salinas

Center Forwards (3): Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon, Cesar Diaz Pizarro

Second Forwards (2): Chris Wondolowski, Marcus Tracy

Internationals slots (3 of 7 remaining): Baca, Bernárdez, Dawkins, Chávez

San Jose SuperDraft Priorities

Along with Harden, the Quakes are still trying to sign Bryan Jordan from the Re-Entry Draft and Ramiro Corrales from last year’s roster. So the defense isn’t as incredibly thin as it looks, but they do need help.

1. Defend The Center: Ike Opara gave the Quakes a lot of good minutes last season, and it only makes sense to bring in a new young center back to groom at that spot, as well as get the occasional spot duty during the regular season, US Open Cup and maybe even some CONCACAF Champions League play.

Wish List (center backs): Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (Washington), Eric Schoenle (West Virginia), Tommy Muller (Georgetown)

2. Switch It Up: Baca’s ability to win the ball, then play out of pressure with inch-perfect switches to the flanks so that the likes of Chávez and Salinas can create chances at pace was the secret ingredient in San Jose’s winning mix. Getting a backup with the same skillset would probably put a big smile on Frank Yallop’s face.

Wish List (central midfielder): Ian Christianson (Georgetown), Alex Isern (Winthrop), Michael Bustamante (Boston University), Jose Gomez (Creighton)

3. Bang Bang Bang: If Baca’s ability to switch the attack was the secret ingredient, the ability of Gordon and Lenhart to take physical punishment and still make dangerous plays was the painfully obvious ingredient. There are a bunch of forwards in that same mold who could be available in the second round.

Wish List (center forwards): Devon Sandoval (New Mexico), Will Bates (Virginia), Luke Spencer (Xavier)

4. Wherefore Art Thou, Ramiro: If they're not able to re-sign Corrales, left back suddenly becomes a major concern. Yeah, Morrow's got the starting job on lockdown, but there's nobody else for that spot on the entire roster.

Wish List (left backs): Greg Cochrane (Louisville), Kory Kindle (CSU Bakersfield), John Gallagher (Penn St.)