[MLS] if it ain't broke, so goes the adage, don't fix it. But if it is, as in the case of the San Jose Earthquakes, well, get to fixin'.
San Jose, which sits last in the Western Conference with a 2-7-3 record, has overhauled its roster and salary-cap situation extensively with a pair of trades. Defender Nick Garcia, signed to a new contract worth $190,000 per year a few months ago, is headed to Toronto, and striker Cam Weaver - the USL Rookie of the Year in 2006 who came to MLS last winter after two seasons in Norway - is headed to Houston.
In exchange for Garcia, who lost the team captaincy early this season, the Quakes received only a 2010 third-round draft pick. They also traded the discovery rights, filed months ago, on Canadian striker Ali Gerba, who played this past season in England with MK Dons before being released.
This deal comes about a year and a half after San Jose, which held the No. 1 pick in the 2008 SuperDraft as an expansion team, traded that pick to Kansas City in exchange for Garcia. Whether the Quakes have a major move in the works - one rumored target is former England international defender Sol Campbell, who was released by Tottenham last month and is fielding offers - or are just ridding themselves of an under-performing player as well as cap space remains to be seen. A Caribbean player has also been in contact with the Quakes, according to a source.
In Toronto, Garcia, 30, is reunited with Mo Johnston, TFC team manager/director of soccer. They played together in Kansas City and won an MLS Cup in 2000, Garcia's rookie year. He has played 260 regular-season games and 23 playoff matches.
"We are very happy to bring in a defender with Nick's experience," said Johnston on the TFC Web site. "We tried to bring him in before and finally we were able to get a deal done. He plays 90 minutes every game, he's quick, and he knows this league inside and out.
"On Ali Gerba, he's another one that's been on our radar, and we look forward to sitting down with him and getting a contract signed as soon as we can." To make room on its roster, Toronto released goalkeeper Greg Sutton, a Canadian international who lost the starting job this season to rookie Stefan Frei.
The signing of T&T striker Cornell Glen last month prompted San Jose to deal Weaver, whose base salary is $64,980. The 6-foot-4 striker netted a goal and registered an assist when the Quakes beat Houston, 3-2, in late March - their only victory prior to beating Real Salt Lake May 30 - but registered just one additional assist in nine games. Weaver can give the Dynamo a big target to replace Nate Jaqua, who went to Seattle in the expansion draft last November.
In exchange, San Jose received Northern California product, forward Chris Wondolowski, 26, who began his league career with the original Earthquakes in 2005 and led the reserve league in scoring before moving with the team to Houston. He scored two goals in seven games this season and has tallied four times in 39 career appearances. Wondolowski scored one of his two goals this season against San Jose in the same game that Weaver notched a goal and an assist.