Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Time already an issue for Quakes and Convey
by Ridge Mahoney, March 27th, 2009 3:45PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

For better or worse, Quakes coach Frank Yallop is doing something akin to what he tried to do with the Galaxy; i.e., transform a wing midfielder, Bobby Convey, into an effective central player.

The same experiment failed miserably with David Beckham for many reasons, and though the situations are hardly similar, since so different are the players involved and the situations to which they've been introduced, Convey's return to MLS comes at a critical phase, not the tail end, of his career to a team nearing a crossroads of its own.

"I played there [in the middle] before when I was younger and with the youth teams," says Convey, who knows Yallop, then an assistant coach, from their time together at D.C. United. "We have very good wingers already, so I don't have to play out wide, I can play in there with Ramiro [Corrales, and Simon [Elliott] is a very good player. When I talked to Frank I said that's where I want to play."

Setting aside the tsunami of publicity set off by Beckham's signing and arrival, not to mention the Galaxy's grim recent legacy of incompetence on and off the field, the fact remains San Jose has shaken up its roster significantly to bring in Convey and is counting on him, not just the forwards it added during the offseason, to liven up an attack that finished dead last in MLS last year with 32 goals.

Though it hardly broke the bank to sign him - his base salary of $222,000 is two-thirds of what Darren Huckerby will earn - San Jose did play hardball in contract negotiations with keeper Joe Cannon and Ronnie O'Brien, while upgrading defender Nick Garcia to a bigger contract ($190,000) and a signing bonus. Cannon took a pay cut, O'Brien stormed off in a huff.

Jettisoning O'Brien opens up opportunities for two younger players, Arturo Alvarez (23) and Shea Salinas (22) on the right side of midfield, and also removes his combative, disruptive personality from the locker room.

Convey, who has never lacked for confidence, envisions San Jose and MLS as the best chance to revive a career that stagnated because of injuries after the 2006 World Cup. A sensational season in which Convey helped Reading win the English League Championship (second division) and earn promotion to the Premier League was followed by a series of medical nightmares.

"It was a bit of a difficult situation in England with my knee, it was misdiagnosed," he says of lingering and recurring injuries that didn't clear up until late last year. "That happens in England, so it was difficult. It's very difficult when people write you off, and say, 'You're injured, you're injured,' when you know you're not. I just to get on with it."

What the Quakes and Convey must get on with, and soon, is acquiring points. A banged-up New England Revolution escaped Buck Shaw Stadium last week with a 1-0 win despite creating fewer good scoring chances.

The revamped Quakes midfield is still a work-in-progress, partly due to Convey's arriving in the USA just three weeks ago and a minor quadriceps injury he suffered in a friendly during his first week of training.

"Bobby's first real game with the team [was] last weekend and you hate to say it's a little disjointed, but I felt it was," says Yallop." When we got going we were a little more fluid with the ball and I think Bobby started to pop a little bit more on the ball and try to burst from there when he felt he had cover and could afford to go. He doesn't know the players, he's just learning them. It's a shame we couldn't have got him in earlier and then he got injured. I think the guys are starting to get to know his strengths and vice versa."

One of those strengths is similar to that of Huckerby, sudden bursts of acceleration with the ball that rip open the opponent's back line. When one of them sets off, the other can either loop inside or outside to further confuse the defense, or trail in his wake to receive a ball dropped back, from which he can cross, move closer to goal, hit a square ball to either Corrales or Elliott, find left back Eric Denton joining the attack, or switch the ball to the opposite flank for whomever is filling that space. The possibilities are endless, if the participants are in sync.

Meshing Convey's abilities with those of his midfield partners is going to take some time, according to defender Kelly Gray, who has played in the middle of midfield as well as at center back.

"I think all of us are still learning each other, learning how we play and the positions you want to get the ball into," says Gray, who has earned a starting spot with a strong preseason and an ability to pass the ball as well as win it.

"Preseason was good, but Bobby wasn't around for most of it, so we're still kind of learning how and where he likes to get the ball. That's just going to come with time."

With four of the next six games at home, and the sting of losing its opener at Buck Shaw still fresh, time is already a bit pressing with about a dozen former Quakes coming into town representing Houston, coached by Yallop's former assistant, Dominic Kinnear. The Dynamo didn't win its home opener either last weekend, tying Columbus, 1-1, after taking a 1-0 lead.

"They want to win and they used to play in this town, most of the guys there, and they want to prove something and get their season off with a win," says Yallop.

Adds Convey, "There's much to be said for being on the same page: you might not always play your best but if you're on the same page you're going to win games."

 

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Soccer's scandals poison Gold Cup playing field    
As a child in the early 1960s, I was a college football fan, or as much ...
It's time to re-think the MLS All-Star Game    
As the league expands and teams sign more star players, limiting the MLS representation to just ...
USA gets reminder the red, white, and blue is not sacrosanct on Concacaf fields    
Defeat to Jamaica in the semifinals changes the U.S. landscape for the next few months. With ...
So you think you've been Concacafed?    
The Gold Cup is the tournament everyone loves to hate on, from the refereeing to the ...
USA has no one cut from Dempsey's mold -- thankfully, his exit is a ways off    
Before bagging a hat trick against Cuba, Clint Dempsey had scored three of the four U.S. ...
New MLS process twists its already labyrinth-like financial underpinnings    
In just over a week, two teams -- Portland and the Galaxy -- have announced deals ...
Galaxy breaks new ground with Dos Santos signing    
Is the signing of Giovani dos Santos another example of the rich getting richer in MLS, ...
FIFA hearing: Power, politics, the two-choice equation and why U.S. Soccer sells itself short    
According to U.S. Soccer's latest Form 990 return, secretary general Dan Flynn was its second highest-paid ...
Major roster changes reflect concerns over U.S. play at Gold Cup    
Tepid performances in the group phase prompted U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to bring on DaMarcus ...
U.S. Soccer in the Senate hot seat over FIFAGate    
Drip. Drip. Drip. That's the sound, day after day, of new revelations into FIFAGate, the massive ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives