Speed keys Shea Salinas' inspired performance for San Jose Earthquakes: “I’m a really good runner"

It’s probably a good thing that San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas wasn’t wearing one of adidas’ miCoach tracking devices during the Quakes’ 2-2 draw against Chivas USA on Saturday. The electronics might have burst into flame trying to keep up with all the data Salinas was generating.

Quakes coach Frank Yallop made it clear all week that speed on the flanks was San Jose’s top choice for how to attack Chivas’ three-man backline, and Salinas brought that game plan to life with unflagging effort over the full 90 minutes -- work that eventually was rewarded with assists on both goals.

First, Salinas delivered a 40th-minute free kick from wide out on the left wing to the back post, where Chris Wondolowski popped free for what, after a first half of domination, felt like an inevitable score.

Then, after the Goats stunned the Quakes with a pair of goals during a four-minute span early in the second half, Salinas delivered again, sprinting down the left side to catch up with a lead pass from Nana Attakora. Upon reaching the ball, Salinas immediately fed a left-footed cross to Quakes newcomer Cordell Cato, who outran Chivas USA defender Carlos Borja and converted with a first-timed shot from 10 yards.

“It’s a whole lot of running, but it’s fun,” Salinas told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “I like to say that I’m a really good runner and an OK soccer player, so track-meet games like that are fun for me. I’m just a little disappointed we didn’t get a few more goals on them.”

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So too was Yallop, who was frustrated at not getting three points despite outshooting the hosts 21-7, and leading 7-3 in shots on net.

“Well, I think if you look at the game plan and how many chances we created, tonight was perfect,” Yallop told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously, conceding two goals is never good, but we had enough chances to win this game tonight. . . . I thought we could have fed [Salinas] a little bit more, even in the first half. He did a great job. He was constantly getting behind them and whipping balls in and doing his thing.”

For Cato, another young flank speedster, Salinas’ performance was inspiring.

“It was unbelievable, his work rate as a winger,” Cato told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s hard, going up and down [the pitch] not even for 90, but for 60 or 70 minutes. He’s persistent. He never gives up. And that’s the kind of spirit that the entire team has.

With Marvin Chavez making his first start of the season, Salinas flipped sides against Chivas, playing against type as a right-footer on the left wing. Salinas gave a glimpse of what he can do from that spot in the 30th minute, when he cut inside and unleashed a shot that was blocked by an opposing player.

“I don’t really have a preference, left or right,” Salinas said. “I think I have a few more options when I play on the left. I can cut inside a little better and I can still go wide and cross the ball. I like playing on the left, but I don’t mind playing on the right, either.”

Just so long as there’s plenty of running, that is.