In a 4-0 thumping of the New York Red Bulls at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday, there were plenty of bright spots for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Ryan Johnson finally got on the board with his first goal of the 2010 season. Chris Wondolowski scored again, adding luster to his growing star. And the Quakes defense posted its third shutout in four games.
Watch: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
But no player shown brighter than Quakes midfielder Bobby Convey, who -- in a superb, three-assist game -- at once directed nearly every point of attack and defended with equal parts hustle and grace.
“Bobby is playing some of the best soccer of his career right now,” coach Frank Yallop said. “And I can’t say enough about his effort tonight.”
More than a month into a breakout season, Wondolowski said he owes a lot of the success he’s having to his partner in the midfield.
“Bobby has excellent vision, works so hard and passes the ball so well -- he makes it easy for me to make good runs,” Wondolowski said.
Quakes GM John Doyle thinks Convey’s play this season warrants the attention of U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley, who will release a 30-man preliminary World Cup roster on May 11.
“If Bobby doesn’t make the 30-man roster, it’s certainly not a question of whether or not he’s good enough, because he’s in very good form right now,” Doyle said. “I think Bobby was the man of the match. If he still had critics after the first few games, I think he really silenced them tonight.”
Doyle also noted that Convey’s form of late is rivaled only by his blue collar work ethic, which has has become a team-wide theme in 2010.
“We were up 3-0, the ball gets clipped into the left backside, and Bobby was racing to get back to the spot and defend -- up 3-0!” Doyle said. “That’s huge, and I think that energy that he’s bringing to the team is [pervasive].”
One might think Convey’s happy to soak up the attention that’s come his way this season -- especially after a performance like the one he had Saturday. But he says it’s all about the team and keeping his nose to the grindstone.
“[Tonight] was a total team effort,” Convey said. “We've got a great system, great players, and guys who are finishing chances off. It becomes a lot easier for me when guys are making great runs and scoring -- I'd rather pass than score.”
Convey attributes his stellar 2010 start to off-season rest and conditioning, citing a month with his trainer as a key to his current fitness.
As for the hope he’ll make this year’s World Cup squad, the former Reading star is both pragmatic and hopeful.
“Of course I would love to go to the World Cup. I got the nod [in 2006] because it happened to be the same year when I played my best in England,” said Convey. “Yeah, it's obviously disappointing to not be with the national team right now because I feel like I'm playing really well. But it's not up to me, all I can do is go out and play and train hard.”
World Cup or no, Doyle says the future is bright.
“Bobby is a very, very talented player and I still don’t think we’ve seen his best -- but he’s well on his way.”