Quakes trade for Salinas, ink Lenhart extension

Shea Salinas, Steven Lenhart will be in San Jose next season

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that they have signed forward Steven Lenhart to an extension and acquired midfielder Shea Salinas from Vancouver Whitecaps FC for allocation money. Per league and team policy, terms of the Lenhart deal were not disclosed.

Lenhart scored five goals and had three assists in 2011, his first season with the Quakes. He started 13 of his 14 games and played a key role during San Jose’s six-game unbeaten streak from May 11 through June 11.

The Jacksonville, Fla. native scored his first career goal with San Jose on June 4 in a 2-0 win against eventual MLS Cup finalist Houston Dynamo. One week later, Lenhart posted a hat trick in the Quakes’ 4-2 win against D.C. United at RFK Stadium on June 11, earning the rangy striker North American Soccer Reporter Player of the Week honors. His fifth goal was a crucial one, San Jose’s second in a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls in front of 41,028 fans at Stanford Stadium on July 2.

“I thought Steven was great for us in the games he was available. He was a big part of that six-game unbeaten streak we had and we’re looking forward to having him paired up with Chris Wondolowski at the top of our attack in 2012,” said General Manager of Soccer Operations John Doyle.

The Earthquakes originally acquired Lenhart on Jan. 13 as part of an MLS SuperDraft day trade that sent the club’s first round pick and allocation money to Columbus in exchange for the former target man. Before he joined the Quakes, Lenhart scored 13 goals and had four assists in three seasons with the Crew.

Salinas will be in San Jose for the second time in his career. The speedy winger was the first and only player taken by San Jose in MLS SuperDraft during the club’s 2008 expansion season. In that first year, he played in 23 games and scored two goals. Salinas showed more promise in 2009, starting 13 of his 23 games while recording a career-high five assists and nearly tripling his number of minutes played from his rookie season.

“We’re excited to bring Shea back to San Jose,” Doyle said. “He’s a versatile guy who can play in the midfield, up top or even as an outside defender. His high work rate and pace should be a big help to us next season.”

Following two years with the Quakes. Salinas was selected in back-to-back MLS Expansion Drafts. His first post-San Jose stop was in Philadelphia for the Union’s inaugural season in 2010. Salinas started seven of his 17 games and scored one goal for the Union while battling injuries. On the move again in 2011, Salinas scored one goal and had three assists while starting 18 of his 26 games for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. His lone goal was a game winner against MLS Cup Finalist Houston Dynamo on Aug. 27.

The reunion also brings back the SSVCF 2009 Andrew Bedard Spirit of the Game Award winner. Salinas was the second-ever recipient of the award, which is given annually to a player from the club each year for their commitment to community service. Past winners include Joe Cannon (2008), Jason Hernandez (2010) and Chris Wondolowski (2011).
   
Transactions: San Jose Earthquakes sign F Steven Lenhart to extension. San Jose Earthquakes acquire M Shea Salinas from Vancouver Whitecaps FC in exchange for allocation money.

Shea Salinas
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-10
Weight: 150
Born: June 24, 1986
Hometown: Grapevine, Texas
Place of Birth: Lubbock, Texas
College: Furman