SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes’ Designated Player era is coming to an abrupt end. Brazilian forward Geovanni, the franchise’s first DP signing, will not be back in 2011.
Geovanni came to San Jose with a resume studded with high-level stops – including Barcelona, Manchester City and Benfica – but provided only one goal and three assists in 777 regular-season minutes for the Quakes.
San Jose coach Frank Yallop moved Geovanni around the lineup in an unsuccessful attempt to unlock the 30-year-old’s potential. Too often, Geovanni was found looping back into the Quakes’ defensive third to take possession of the ball – which meant he was much too far from goal to be the danger man San Jose had envisioned.
“I think it gave us a great boost when we needed it,” Quakes general manager John Doyle told MLSsoccer.com, “but then to hang onto Geovanni ... what he was looking for was a little bit too high for the output he gave us. He was looking three years at a high [salary]. I think we could get a little more impact for that.”
[inline_node:321914]The Geovanni decision underscores Doyle’s biggest offseason project: rebuilding his strike force around 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.
In addition to letting Geovanni walk, Doyle also chose to decline the options on Cornell Glen and Eduardo and watched the Portland Timbers pluck Arturo Alvarez with the next-to-last pick of Wednesday’s Expansion Draft.
Glen misfired on a bushel of chances for the Quakes this season, Eduardo was hurt for the vast majority of the season and Alvarez was inconsistent with his performances from week to week.
“We played Eduardo and Cornell Glen, and they didn’t have great impact,” Doyle said. “It’s just one of those things. Besides trying to find a player to play with Chris, we want to find someone who’ll play great soccer all over the field. If we can find somebody who scores bunches of goals, too, obviously we’d like that.”
Doyle said Alvarez’s departure was made more tolerable by the fact that the 25-year-old El Salvador international has made known his desire to move abroad when his current MLS deal expires after the 2011 season.
“Arturo is a good player, but he needs to be playing week in and week out, and Frank didn’t play him week in and week out,” Doyle said. “For us, it was a thing where, if Arturo had stayed, it would have been fine, but Arturo has visions of going to Europe or Mexico or South America. We thought we could move forward.”
Doyle said he’s not averse to bringing back Glen or Eduardo at a lower salary than their options were worth, although that option seems remote. He also said the team hasn’t given up on the idea of a San Jose DP.
“I think it’s something [to explore] if you find the right guy,” Doyle said. “When Geovanni came to us, the price was right – it was worth the gamble. We look at all kinds of players. We’re not not looking at high-priced players, it’s just to see if they’re the right fit.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes
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