- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 10, 2009
- 6 Comments
- 2009 Season Previews, Bobby Convey, Cam Weaver, Frank Yallop, Season Preview
Almost near the end of our season previews here. Today we head out west yet again for the last of the California clubs with a visit to San Jose. The Quakes are in year two, and while expectations aren’t sky high the Quake fans probably expect a solid turnaround from their last place finish a year ago. Frank Yallop has been busy this winter making changes across the board. Will the payoff?
2008 record and finish: 8-13-9, 33 pts., seventh in west, failed to reach playoffs
Offseason Player Movement:
Peter Byers (Montreal Impact – USL1)
Cam Weaver (via transfer from FK Haugesund – Norway)
Bobby Convey (free transfer from Reading – England)
Pablo Campos (via weighted lottery, recently with GAIS Göteborg – Sweden)
Andrew Weber (via signing, recently with Montreal – USL1)
Aki Riihilahti (vis signing from Djurgårdens IF – Sweden)
Chris Leitch (trade with New York)
Quincy Amarikwa (SuperDraft)
Jovan Kirovski (trade w/LA)
James Riley (Seattle Sounders FC – Expansion Draft)
Francisco Lima (Taranto – Italy)
Ronnie O’Brien (out of contract)
Scott Sealy (signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv – Israel)
John Cunliffe (waived)
Michael Ghebru (waived)
Ned Grabavoy (waived)
Questions going into 2009:
1. Will the Quakes actually have consistent scoring in 2009?
Going into last year we knew the Quakes would struggle in this department. And for the better part of the season they lived up to our expectations with their low scoring. As we move to season number two for the 2.0 Quakes the scoring issue could still be one.
Yallop did do well though this winter in making sure his club would at least have a fighting chance when he signed Cam Weaver. He then got lucky with a lottery winning pick of Pablo Campos. I felt Yallop also drafted fairly well with the few picks he had this year. Also they still have young Davide Somma, someone Yallop expects big things from this year.
A lot of question marks surround this yound and unproven bunch but if it pays off Yallop and GM John Doyle could end up looking extremely smart for it.
2. Will the midfield really be that much better this season?
Aside from redoing his striking core, Yallop also took some gambles this winter with changing up his midfield. Out went Ronnie O’Brien and in came Bobby Convey. Ramiro Corrales or the recently signed Aki Riihilahti will probably be the ones holding down the defensive side of things while Convey will be left with the expectations of handling the offense.
I’ve always felt Convey was underrated as an attacker but switching from the wings to the center of the park is never an easy one. If it doesn’t pay off you could see Yallop and Doyle scramble in the summer to fix that issue and by then it could be too late.
3. Player to keep an eye on in 2009.
It has to be big 6-foot-4 forward Cam Weaver. This guy was a beast in the USL a couple seasons ago as well as in Norway last year.
One thing that Weaver will bring is a physical presence and an ability to hold-up play and bring others into the attack. Definitely something the Quakes lacked in 2008.
Look at the 2009 Schedule:
First of all, no big international dates schedule. Secondly, its a pretty balanced schedule with the exception of the final month of the year (the Quakes are away from home in their final three games).
Really though, early on in this schedule San Jose could see a fast start to the campaign if everything is clicking properly. Loads of early home games with few road stretches until the middle of May when they have their first three game roadie.
The thing that worries me the most is if this club is hurting for points late in the year it won’t come easy. The final two months they are on the road five out of the last eight games. Not a good way to get into the playoffs if they struggle in the summer.
2009 Season Outlook:
A quick start is what this club needs. Yallop and Doyle took gambles and hope they pay off quickly. If not summer won’t come soon enough for those two.
Defensively though this club is as sound as any in the league behind Joe Cannon and his defense. I fully expect the defense to be even better this year with Romario Corrales moving to his natural left back position.
It all rests on the offense for this club. If Weaver, Convey and company do well from the start they could see themselves in the post season. If they struggle they could see their way out of contention fairly quick. I love the addition to this club but with the unknowns in MLS play up top you just have to think they could be another year away from post season glory.
I for one though will probably go out on a limb with this club and say they will reach the post season in 2009 though. To me they just seem like a real darkhorse club.