Two new names will appear on the San Jose roster for Thursday's reunion match against Houston (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m. ET), but neither is the big name its fans are hoping for. Yet both have won league titles.
Backup goalkeeper Preston Burpo and a fourth-round pick in the 2009 SuperDraft have been traded to Colorado for well-traveled veterans Kelly Gray, a former Quake, and Jovan Kirovski.
The 27-year-old Gray, who attended high school in San Jose, has played for Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston as well as the first MLS incarnation of the Quakes. In 139 games, he's scored seven goals and recorded nine assists while playing outside back and central midfield. He won an MLS Cup with the Dynamo in 2006.
Kirovski, 32, may be able to add some punch to the sputtering Quakes attack. The former U.S. international has netted 24 MLS goals in 109 games for Los Angeles and the Rapids since coming to the league in 2004. His two seasons with the Galaxy included its improbable 2005 championship. He scored six goals in 28 games for Colorado last year.
"We have added two proven MLS players at key positions," said Earthquakes general manager of soccer operationsJohn Doyle, who was an assistant coach with the Quakes during Gray's stint in San Jose. "Kelly had a great season here in 2005 and he will provide a good option both in the back and midfield. Jovan has had a distinguished career around the world and we feel that he will make an immediate offensive impact for our team."
The Quakes will have to make roster moves to accommodate Gray and Kirovski. The removal of Burpo leaves them at the limit of 18 before Gray and Kirovski are added. Striker Jean-Philippe Peguero and his troublesome knee(s) are yet to be resolved, and the serious facial injuries and concussions suffered by defender Jay Ayers in a collision with teammate Ryan Cochrane might necessitate he be placed on season-ending injury reserve.