The composition of the 30-man preliminary roster for the United States’ World Cup squad represents a win-win for the San Jose Earthquakes.
While several Western Conference foes will need to do without the services of key components -- most noticeably Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle from the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy -- the Quakes don’t need to fear losing the man who has been an integral part of their resurgence: 27-year-old midfielder Bobby Convey.
“To think that I’m not one of the best 30 players in our country is very disappointing,” Convey told MLSsoccer.com. “I think I’ve spoken to [U.S. coach] Bob Bradley three times in my entire life, so I don’t know what he’s thinking, and it’s not up to me. All I can do is play and work hard and that’s about it.”
Convey has been succeeding at that, and in a big way. Since taking over full-time on the left wing after sharing the duties there with Darren Huckerby last season, Convey has registered five assists -- second in the league behind Donovan’s nine and two shy his career MLS high -- to propel San Jose to a 4-2 record to open the season.
In addition, Convey's two-way work with left back Ramiro Corrales has significantly strengthened what had been a weak leg in San Jose's defense last season.
“To Bobby’s credit, he’s been doing a great job,” said center back Bobby Burling, who converted a Convey corner kick into his first career MLS goal Saturday against New York. “Obviously, his services have been great.”
To Burling, Convey’s assist total doesn’t tell the whole story, but instead just scratches at its surface.
“He does a lot of little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, and I think that now that he’s getting those assists, people are thinking, ‘Oh, he’s back to where he was,’” Burling said. “People don’t see it day in and day out like we do. He’s one of the fittest guys on this team. In fitness drills and stuff like that, he can run for days.”
Nevertheless, Convey won’t be making the trip to South Africa, which means he will be available for Quakes duty on May 22 (at Seattle), May 29 (vs. Toronto) and June 2 (vs. Columbus).
Although the 2006 World Cup veteran accentuated the positives of staying home and being able to focus on his team and family more, he admitted that he would have loved to be a part of the national team.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes