Rare skills make Chavez an instant hit for Earthquakes

Winger adds speed, playmaking ability to San Jose lineup still in flux

Marvin Chavez Hondures

Photo Credit: 
Getty

The San Jose Earthquakes might have taken three items off the top of their holiday wish list with one acquisition.

The Quakes sent an undisclosed amount of allocation money to FC Dallas in exchange for 28-year-old midfielder Marvin Chávez, a Honduran international who fills a trio of needs for San Jose: someone to take control of right midfield, someone with game-breaking speed and someone who can take a portion of the offensive load off of 16-goal man Chris Wondolowski.

“For us to get a player of Marvin’s ability and speed, we’re excited to have him,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “He’s going to help us.”

The Quakes, who finished tied for 14th in scoring last season at 40 goals, were crying out for an infusion of acceleration on the wings to stretch opposing defenses. Chávez will bring plenty of pace, and, San Jose hope that will mean more open space in which forwards such as Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart can go to work.

“He gets the ball very quick and he’s very crafty, off the ball as well as dribbling with it,” Yallop said of Chávez. “It’s not often you get that. There’s probably a handful of guys [in MLS] that can break a game open by himself with the dribble or with his pace, and he’s on that list.”

The move caps a three-week stretch in which San Jose have brought back former winger Shea Salinas, re-upped the out-of-contract Lenhart and sent a Supplemental Draft selection to Real Salt Lake for defensive midfielder Jean Alexandre. Yallop allowed that Chávez will probably be the last big addition for the Quakes this offseason, barring a trade.

“We needed to move players out — i.e., Bobby Convey and André Luiz — to bring in players, and [the money] soon gets eaten up,” Yallop said. “Slowly but surely, it gets chipped away. We’re still looking at players. Is there going to be a massive addition at this point? I wouldn’t think so. I like the moves we’ve made.”

Yallop, who prizes versatility above almost all else, now has plenty of pieces he can move in order to change methods of attack.

“It gives us options to play a style that we didn’t have a chance to do last year,” Yallop said. “If it’s a breakaway game, you want to play that, we can play some speedsters. If it’s a possession game, we have good guys in possession. It just adds to our repertoire.”

There is one more potential move the Quakes’ sleeve: Yallop confirmed that the club is in advanced talks to bring Simon Dawkins back after an impressive rookie campaign while on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, San Jose’s club partner.

“Simon wants to come back, Tottenham wants it to happen,” Yallop said. “By all accounts, it looks good, but until he’s signed, you don’t know for sure. When he’s playing well, I feel that we’re going to play well.”

WATCH: Chávez shows his skill

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com.