San Jose's forward problem, and how Seattle can avoid one of their own

A little more than a month into the MLS season might be a bit early to declare the season lost for the San Jose Earthquakes. From their 5 matches they have garnered a win and a draw, and have looked well ahead of where last year's expansion team, Toronto FC, were at this point last year. They focused on building from the back, and thus they have an average-MLS-caliber defense and a very good keeper in Joe Cannon. But they made a sacrifice to do so, and that sacrifice is on the offensive end.

San Jose's forward corps is basically made up of bench players. Kei Kamara and Gavin Glinton, the two normal starters, are nothing special at all. Glinton in particular has been wildly unproductive thus far, putting just 2 shots on goal even though he's been given 4 starts. Newly acquired Peguero Jean Phillippe is sort of an unknown quantity, though his skill level probably lies somewhere in between 'meh' and 'decent.' They've even resorted to trying rookie winger Shea Salinas up front. Needless to say, the production has been less than spectacular. They have just 2 goals in 5 games, and what we've seen of their attack has not impressed us at all.

What San Jose has shown us is this. For 2009, the Sounders cannot afford to try and build their striker corps through the expansion draft and with the best of their USL side. Of the two main current Sounders forwards, Sebastien Le Toux probably projects to be a midfielder or winger in MLS, and Roger Levesque is aging and definitely not MLS starter quality. So they will need to look abroad for at least one and probably two good strikers. We can optimistically assume that some young forward will be signed out of Africa or South America due to Adrian Hanauer's travels. So let's look to Europe.

Three obvious names are out there. Cam Weaver, former Sounder and current striker in Sweden. Preston Zimmerman, a local 19 year old playing for Hamburg SV. And of course Thierry Henry, who has recently said that the only EPL team he would transfer to would be Arsenal, somewhat of an unrealistic proposition given that club's tight financial drawstrings. Yet Mr. Henry is probably going to be shown the door at Barcelona this summer. Don't get your hopes up, but that possibility remains out there. That would be the best way to avoid having a boring, unproductive San Jose-esque offense come 2009.

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