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2009 MLS Season Preview: S.J. Earthquakes

The Recent Results: The Quakes were bad last year, but what could you expect from an expansion side? Their defense was quite stingy, but the offense was pretty poor. In fact, though they ended up tied for the fewest points in the league with the Gals, they scored only about half the goals LA did. But, they were improving at season’s end, unlike LA.

The Man in Charge: Frank Yallop is one of my favorite coaches. I love the fact he was crucial to SJE’s first two MLS Cup titles. I also love that he managed to escape the Gals and then tie them for low man on the MLS totem pole last season. Most of all though, I love him because he played for my (sniff) contracted Tampa Bay Mutiny.

On the Offensive: Darren Huckerby, who I call the “Sheriff of Nottingham” because he was born in Nottingham, England, is definitely the Quakes best offensive threat. In only 14 games last season, he scored six goals and had four assists. Who are his merry men? Well, in 2009 he will have help from Alvarez, Convey, O’Brien and Corrales.

For the Defense: SJE fields one of the better backlines in MLS and the new Seattle squad should be adopting their model of building from back to front. Joe Cannon is a fine keeper and Hernandez, Denton, Cochrane and especially Nick Garcia are strong defenders. SJE could make a run at the playoffs if they can score closer to two goals a game in ’09.

Movie They Resemble: Well, since I obviously love my “Sheriff of Nottingham” nickname for Huckerby, I am going to go with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Now, I hate that this movie features two of Hollywood’s all-time biggest douchebags, Kevin Costner and Christian Slater, but hear my out. Like Robin’s merry men, SJE tried to rob from the rich (via the expansion draft) to give to the poor (the local fans who had to watch while Houston residents celebrated their team’s titles). So, I think it’s a fitting selection. Of course, this pick also means I will have to start calling Cunliffe by the nickname “Little John”, but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.