The San Jose Earthquakes have completed half of their 2013 MLS regular season schedule and the results have not been good. One year removed from sitting atop the Western Conference standings en route to the 2012 Supporters' Shield, this year's Quakes sit precariously close to the bottom of the table, with only woeful Chivas USA to break their fall.
Still, San Jose has a talented roster, which was made evident again this week with the release of the 23-man rosters for the participating nations in CONCACAF's biennial championship, the Gold Cup. From the 30 man Earthquakes squad, four players were called into action for next month's tournament: good news for the players but bad news for the team.
On Thursday morning, U.S. Soccer revealed its Gold Cup roster, and from the 35-man preliminary list sent out in late May, announced that forward Chris Wondolowski had made the team. The U.S. Men's National Team was the runner-up in the last edition of the tournament, losing to Mexico 4-2 in the final played in front of a raucous sold-out Rose Bowl Stadium. Wondolowski featured in the group stage back in 2011, and was most remembered for his missed scoring opportunity against Panama in a 2-1 loss. Wondo has never scored in 9 appearances for the USMNT, but he will always look back at that game at Sporting Park as motivation to do well for his country.
Later in the day it was revealed that the player former head coach Frank Yallop called "the most important player" on the Quakes, midfielder Marvin Chavez, had earned a call-up to the Honduran national team. Chavez had made a brief appearance for Los Catrachos in the last round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and is definitely one of the stars of the Honduras "B" team. The speedy winger has been capped 30 times by Honduras in a national team career that spans back to 2006.
The big news in San Jose on Friday morning was the Earthquakes announcement that the club had signed defender Clarence Goodson. The former Brondby center back was keen to make a move back to MLS to further his ambitions with the U.S. national team. The day before, coach Jurgen Klinsmann named Goodson as one of 8 defenders on the 23-man Gold Cup roster. With the call up to represent the tournament hosts, Goodson's Earthquakes debut will have to wait until later in July.
Rounding out the Quakes quartet of Gold Cup participants is center back Nana Attakora. The Canadian national team had released a 22-man roster earlier in the week with hopes that Attakora would be available to take the last spot. Still fighting the lingering effects of a concussion suffered in a May 8 match against Toronto FC, the part-time Earthquakes starter was on Friday ruled healthy enough to join Canada for next month's continental championship.
Four important players for the Earthquakes, all missing from the squad for up to four MLS games in July. Already struggling to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot in the West, missing these contributors until possibly August puts the team in a bind. At best, the remaining Quakes regain some winning chemistry and make a summer run up the table. At worst, the faint postseason hopes for San Jose dissolve and the club turns its focus on the CONCACAF Champions League set to begin in a month's time. At least for supporters, they will have some players to pull for in the upcoming 2013 Gold Cup.