For all his accolades with Reading FC, all his headlines as a teen phenom with D.C. United, all his time spent with the US national team, Bobby Convey’s résumé – at least in terms of MLS playoff production – was practically blank: 180 minutes, one shot, no assists, no goals.
Consider that hole filled.
As the Red Bulls watched and waited for Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski to spring to life, Convey was busy laying the groundwork to end New York’s season.
Convey rushed onto a loose ball in the penalty area to deliver a sixth-minute goal that equalized the aggregate score line. After moving to left back in place of injured captain Ramiro Corrales, he snuck forward to the edge of the Red Bulls’ 18-yard box, spun rookie New York defender Tim Ream like a top and calmly buried another chance in the 76th minute.
Finally, with the stadium rocking in the wake of Juan Pablo Angel’s 78th-minute response, Convey delivered a cross from 40 yards to the head of Wondolowski, who knocked in the goal that put San Jose in the conference finals for the first time since their last title run in 2003.
“This is the culmination for me of three years working hard, every day [wondering] whether I was going to keep playing or stop playing and just go home,” Convey said. “It’s a lot of emotions know when you are in the playoffs with a so-called expansion team and you beat one of the biggest teams. It’s just a great feeling.”
[inline_node:322598]Even by the standards of an already impressive season – career-high 10 assists, a certain team MVP award if not for Wondolowski’s goal-scoring craziness – it was a breakout game for Convey.
“He was unreal,” Wondolowski said. “I know he’s probably had better games, but it was one of the best games I’ve seen him play. He was just head and shoulders above and carried us.
"Not only stats. He was defending, he was tracking back, he had Dane Richards to deal with the whole game. He was doing it all. I couldn’t be prouder of the guy. He really deserved it and deserves this. He’s a world-class player.”
Most impressively, Convey was able to stay involved in the attack despite being moved to the back line by coach Frank Yallop, who chose that route – with Eduardo coming on at forward and Ryan Johnson dropping to left wing – instead of bringing on right back Chris Leitch and flipping Tim Ward to left back.
“I move him around a little bit, and he’s not overly happy all the time with it, but he’s good,” Yallop said. “He can handle Dane. It’s a great finish for the opening goal and a terrific finish on the second one. It was a great turn on the edge of the box, and once in, he didn’t lose his cool. He just buried it.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes
Ready to launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The new official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!