After spending more than a decade in professional soccer, Bobby Convey knows what will sooth even the most unhappy of fan bases.
“It’s easier when you win,” Convey said. “There’s not so much focus on what you did wrong. It’s more about the positives and moving forward. And now we’re looking forward.”
The Quakes are looking forward mostly because they were 2-1 winners over the Chicago Fire on Saturday—a victory keyed in part by Convey’s much larger presence at both ends of the field from his left-half position. The sight of a triumphant Convey was in stark contrast to how he was perceived after San Jose’s season-opening loss, when he felt he was made a scapegoat by being yanked at the half.
“I thought Bobby had a good game,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said. “Hopefully he gains confidence from this, and starts to play like he can really play.”
After watching Chicago forward Patrick Nyarko create havoc with his speed against Ramiro Corrales, Convey adjusted his positioning to provide enough support that Nyarko could be somewhat contained.
“[Nyarko] is fast and he was causing Ramiro a little bit of problems at the beginning, so I just made the adjustment to defend more on my side,” Convey told MLSsoccer.com. “He is so quick, and he kind of is one of those lucky guys, where he dribbles, and it bounces off his knee, and he doesn’t even know where it’s going half the time. I just wanted to help out Ramiro. That was what our team needed at the time.”
In the second half, Convey became more assertive on offense. Having swapped sides with Joey Gjertsen in order to take a corner kick from the right, Convey stayed on that flank as San Jose regained possession in the 81st minute. Arturo Alvarez fed the ball to the sideline and Convey did the rest, cutting smartly past Brian McBride and providing spot-on service for Ike Opara to head home the game-winner.
“Joey and I are comfortable on either side,” Convey said. “If we weren’t, then we wouldn’t do it. But we both like getting crosses in on one side and then cutting in on the other. It just gives the defense a different look, and I thought it helped us.”
With Gjertsen having played 120 minutes on Wednesday in the Quakes’ U.S. Open Cup match, it’s not clear if he and Convey will rekindle their partnership on Saturday against New England. But Yallop and Quakes fans will certainly be looking for more of the same from Convey, who was rested Wednesday to prepare for the Revolution.
“Let’s hope it’s another great performance,” Yallop said. “I’m sure it will be.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @sjquakes.