It’s April Fools’ Day and the game is afoot in the world of football. Yet for fans of the San Jose Earthquakes, it is hard to identify the difference between their latest injury updates and cruel pranks.
Anibal Godoy is the most recent addition to the Quakes’ growing injury list, having suffered a knee injury in Panama’s World Cup Qualifier against Haiti. In the absence of any official news, quite the extent of the injury has been subject to the japes of April Fool’s Day pranksters teasing Quakes fans. He is reported to be sidelined just three weeks, despite social media posts suggesting up to five months, such would be the Quakes’ recent luck.
Their injury list is now up to six players, joint top in Major League Soccer. Heading into their meeting with DC United this weekend, Clarence Goodson is still recuperating from a back injury that kept him out of the Quakes’ California Clasico loss two weeks ago. Chad Barrett (right groin) and Cordell Cato (right hamstring) will also be missing, as well as long-term absentees Marc Pelosi, Jordan Stewart, and Steven Lenhart.
Mark Sherrod, Adam Jahn and Tommy Thompson are all on loan at Sacramento Republic and Sanna Nyassi is no longer training with the team, leaving the Quakes with just seventeen available players this weekend (Simon Dawkins is also suspended). Innocent Emeghara is also unlikely to start due to the lingering effects of his long-term knee injury, which have limited him to substitute appearances so far this season.
Dominic Kinnear has actively recruited young, much-vaunted depth signings in the offseason, but surely never envisaged having to rely on them this much this soon. The Quakes’ added depth is biased toward attackers, perhaps a reaction to their dependence on Chris Wondolowski last season. So much so that injuries to a few key players have caught their whole system off guard.
To help bolster the defensive side of the roster, the club signed Kofi Sarkodie from the Houston Dynamo on a trade for targeted allocation money this morning. A twenty-five-year-old full-back, Sarkodie can play on either side, and having played his first three years in MLS under Kinnear, he is well-integrated with the Quakes’ style of play.
In the first three games of the season rookie Kip Colvey has filled in for Shaun Francis and Jordan Stewart at left-back with admirable confidence and has proven capable of handling the starting role. What he lacks in positional awareness he makes up for with youthful exuberance along with impressive fitness and vigor on the pitch. Although Francis has made a full recovery from injury, Colvey has done more than enough so far this season to keep the starting position for now.
Nineteen-year-old Matheus Silva is expected to start alongside Victor Bernardez at centerback this weekend, although Kinnear could also play Marvell Wynne through the middle and start Sarkodie wide right.
The Quakes’ biggest obstacle this weekend, though, will be mentally recovering from their 3-1 defeat to the LA Galaxy. They lacked width and were bogged down in the final third, even before Dawkins’ controversial red card.
While the loss appeared to stall their early momentum, they’re clearly never as bad as they look when losing or quite as strong as they can appear after a win. If the Quakes can find the right balance in their twentieth anniversary celebration against DC tomorrow, both in terms of their form and starting lineup, only then they can get there promising start back on track.