San Jose Earthquakes fans who are anxiously awaiting word of a major signing to bolster the forward corps will have to wait a little longer. But the team, scoreless in its first two games, has made a move.
According to a source with knowledge of the transaction, San Jose has landed former Rapids and MetroStars striker Jean-Philippe Peguero, who scored 20 goals in 58 games from 2004 to 2006 before being transferred to Danish club Brondby. He will be on loan for the MLS season.
A horrific knee injury he suffered playing for Brondby shortly after his arrival tore his ACL and MCL and sidelined him for more than a year. He has not played for the first team since the injury but has appeared regularly for the reserves and recently made the bench for a first-team match against Aalborg.
Brondby paid a reported $750,000 for Peguero. San Jose used allocation money to facilitate the loan and would need to pay a transfer fee if it wishes to acquire his rights. Because he left MLS on a transfer, his most recent club -- now known as the Red Bulls -- has no claim on him. (The same situation occurred when former Rapids defender Nat Borchers -- sold to Norwegian club Odd Grenland in 2006 -- returned to MLS this past winter and Real Salt Lake exercised its allocation priority to sign him.)
As a 2008 expansion team, San Jose ranked atop the allocation priority list and used that ranking to take first claim on Peguero. Teams drop to the bottom of the list, which is the reverse order of the teams' records over the past 30 games, upon use of its allocation priority on a player coming back to the league.
Peguero isn't the only Haitian player that Quakes head coach Frank Yallop has evaluated in the past two months. Another former Rapid and former Florida prep star, Fabrice Noel, trained with the team in preseason and played in two matches. He is under contract to Puerto Rico of the USL.
Last week, the team decided not to sign former Bolton striker Michael Ricketts, who at one time it was believed he was eligible to play for the U.S. because his father lived in New Jersey for many years. Ricketts, an English citizen born in Birmingham, played in the Quakes reserve match at Home Depot Center the day after San Jose lost its opener to the Galaxy.
Ricketts, 29, had his contract canceled by Oldham Athletic in January and has played for a half-dozen clubs in the past few years, including Middlesbrough, Leeds United and Preston North End.
"Every time we sat down to talk about him, Frank and I said, 'What do you think?'" said general manager John Doyle. "And we'd both just look at each other. We both decided to keep looking."
The USA/MLS primary transfer window, during which time teams can sign players currently under contract to other teams, closed Tuesday. The secondary window opens June 15. The Peguero deal has been finalized but only is official if he passes a physical, which a source said would be conducted Wednesday or Thursday.