San Jose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle wanted to add experience to fill out his 2013 roster, and he did so in one fell swoop in Friday's Stage 2 of the 2012 Re-Entry Draft.
The Quakes took home three players, the most of any club, snapping up defenders Dan Gargan, Ty Harden and Bryan Jordan, in that order. The trio has combined to make 253 MLS appearances over their careers – and each have appeared in CONCACF Champions League play – making them as ready as they can be to contribute immediately as San Jose look to defend their 2012 Supporters’ Shield and compete in the 2013-14 CCL.
“I think they all fill a need that we have,” Doyle told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “If you’ve played 50 or 60 MLS games, you’re more comfortable when you come onto the field. You kind of know what it’s all about.”
Gargan, 30, was a regular starter for the Chicago Fire and Toronto FC over the past three years, when he returned to MLS after a brief retirement. He will provide competition for incumbent fullbacks Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow, something the Quakes sorely needed after Jed Zayner, their primary backup at right back this year, retired at the season’s end.
“We look for him to fight for a starting job, that’s for sure,” Doyle said. “And with so many games, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to play, if [head coach Frank Yallop] selects him.”
Harden, 28, fills the hole left behind starting center backs Víctor Bernárdez and Jason Hernandez by the trade of Ike Opara on Wednesday. It also reunites Harden with Yallop, who was head coach with the LA Galaxy when that club took Harden in the second round of the 2007 SuperDraft.
“Frank had him, I watched him in LA and over the years, we’ve always kept a close eye on him,” Doyle said. “We think he’s a good player and another piece to add depth to our team. He’s definitely a center back and can play a little right back in a pinch.”
Harden most recently was with TFC, where he gained extensive CCL experience including multiple trips to Mexico and Panama for road matches.
“Central America, the Caribbean, you do have to get used to traveling there, and it’s a little different,” Doyle said. “The conditions are harsh. And it’s good to have somebody who’s been tested down there.”
Jordan, 27, has played all over the field for the Galaxy, with whom he won championship rings in each of the last two seasons. Doyle said he thinks “wide midfield is probably” Jordan’s best role, although he’s also seen time as a forward and an outside back.
“He’s versatile, but I think he’s versatile because he’s very athletic,” Doyle said. “He’s fast, strong, a good soccer player. He’s a good athlete and I think maybe a fresh start will help him.”
The Quakes declined to pick up any of their own quintet of players who went through the Re-Entry process, although captain Ramiro Corrales is expected to come back to the club either as a player, an assistant coach or some combination. Doyle said the team will talk with midfielders Jean-Marc Alexandre, Joey Gjertsen and Khari Stephenson about potentially coming back as well.
“I think we’ll probably revisit all of them,” Doyle said. “A lot of times, players have to go through that draft to realize where their value is. I’d be happy to have all three guys back.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.