Earthquakes' Honduran trio dance to their own drummer, and teammates feed off of it
SAN JOSE, Calif. – When the San Jose Earthquakes received some good news regarding the MLS Disciplinary Committee, there should have been no surprise that Marvin Chávez was right in the middle of things.
With his piercing yelps – audible from practically anywhere on the pitch – the effervescence of Chávez is perhaps the best barometer of the Quakes’ happiness. And the needle on that gauge jumped Wednesday when MLS Commissioner Don Garber upheld Chávez’s appeal to the second half of his two-game suspension by the Disciplinary Committee for catching Toronto FC’s Logan Emory in the head with an elbow.
That leaves open the possibility of reuniting San Jose’s trio of Hondurans – defender Víctor Bernárdez and midfielders Chávez and Walter Martínez – on Saturday, when the Quakes host Colorado in their last home game before June 29 (10:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
While it’s ridiculous to draw a conclusion from one match, it’s a fact that the Quakes were 2-1 winners last week against TFC – the only game Bernárdez, Chávez and Martínez have started together for San Jose.
The trio has crossed paths plenty of times before; all three have been at one point or another mainstays on the Honduran national team. Bernárdez and Chávez (pictured at top, middle and right) were integral parts of the Quakes’ run to the Supporters’ Shield in 2012, and the former pitched Martínez (at right) – who was looking to return to the Americas after a three-year hitch in China – to San Jose’s front office.
“You tend to gravitate to guys you know, and have worked with,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. “So those three are very close.”
The group helps set the tone in a San Jose locker room that has needed levity at times during a 3-4-5 start. Bernárdez often plays DJ on the Quakes’ in-house sound system after victories at Buck Shaw Stadium. Chávez can always be counted on for a stream of chatter. Martínez, the oldest of the three and a 2010 World Cup veteran like Bernárdez, provides something of a foil for the other two.
“The three of them have a camaraderie and a spirit, but they don’t just take that singularly, they move it into the team, where everyone’s involved in their love for each other, if you like,” Yallop said. “And I think that that’s a big thing. They’re three really nice guys and our team loves having them around. They’re very much on board with what we’re doing here.”
Said forward Alan Gordon: “It’s really fun to have them around dancing and not understanding what they’re saying. They’re three awesome people and great to have around. Plus, they’re great soccer players. So that just adds another level to it.”
They’re certainly in key roles. Bernárdez in the linchpin of a Quakes defense that has taken a battering of late. Chávez’s menace on the wing was sorely missed Saturday in San Jose’s 4-0 loss at Seattle. And Martínez, after taking several weeks to get into playing shape, contributed an assist on the game-winner in the Quakes’ victory against TFC.
With open international slots on San Jose’s roster, could the Quakes add another of Los Catrachos to their current band?
“I think there’s a limit on Hondurans,” goalkeeper Jon Busch joked. “But we take any good players.”