Last week, Sporting Kansas City were able to make a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes to bring MLS All-Star midfielder/ defender Bobby Convey to Kansas City. I was able to ask Robert Jonas, who manages the SB Nation San Jose Earthquakes blog "Quake, Rattle, and Goal" his thoughts regarding the Convey trade, and what Sporting Kansas City fans can expect from the talented, yet sometimes malcontent 28 year old.
As always, a big thank you to Robert for taking the time to give us his thoughts.
The Daily Wiz- What was your initial reaction to the news of the Bobby Convey trade? Were you happy with the deal San Jose made?
Robert Jonas- It has been a foregone conclusion in San Jose that Bobby Convey would not be with the team in 2012. Made available in the expansion draft a week earlier, Convey was told his option would not be picked up and that his name would be submitted into the MLS Re-Entry process. Any attempts to move the disgruntled midfielder following the end of the season were stifled by how little leverage the Earthquakes held in negotiations on potential trades. That San Jose received anything for Convey has to be taken as a win for the team.
The Daily Wiz- What kind of player can Sporting Kansas City expect in Convey? As a player, what are his pros and cons?
Robert Jonas- Convey preferred to be a part of the offense, but was often saddled as the left back in head coach Frank Yallop’s starting XI. On the occasions where he did play on the left wing, Convey was very dangerous moving the ball from the touchline into the center of the field. Without the absolute burden of defensive responsibility conferred while on the back line, Convey could makes runs into the corner and look to unleash his team-best crossing passes. As a defender, he limited his participation going forward, and that showed in some frustrated play.
Convey can be very effective as a defender, but does not possess the physicality to match up with opposing target forwards. In San Jose, the Earthquakes often playing an unbalanced formation that favored attacks from the left side, with the right side midfielder and defender staying closer to their own half of the field. This allowed Convey more freedom to roam the left wing, but did not open up the center of the field. He can cover more ground offensively from the left midfielder position.
The Daily Wiz- There have been some concern among some Sporting KC fans about Convey's temperament. Was that a problem with Bobby in San Jose?
Robert Jonas- The mercurial midfielder was by far the highest paid player on the team, and he sometime spoke to the pressures that put on his shoulders to be a factor toward the team’s success. In 2010, when he contributed double digits in assists, that benefit was clear, and the Earthquakes qualified for the postseason. At other times, especially to start the 2011 season, he was not earning his keep with team, and that upset both the player and the coaching staff. As a difference in opinion about where on the field Convey could be most effective developed between the player and coach Yallop, the temperament of both became clear. When Convey started using the press to air his grievances about playing time and position, the writing on the wall became apparent that his days in San Jose were numbered.
Can Convey coexist with a team-based defensive-first coaching philosophy — Yallop before and now Peter Vermes in Kansas City — or should he be treated with a separate set of rules? He can be a very special player when he is motivated, and that will be the personnel challenge that Vermes will face with his newest acquisition.
The Daily Wiz- How have you felt about the moves San Jose have made in the off season thus far?
Robert Jonas- San Jose has taken three steps forward and two steps back so far this off season. Resigning target forward Steven Lenhart will be a big boost to the Quakes fortunes in 2012, while picking up both Shea Salinas and Jean Alexandre on the cheap were good moves to improve the depth on the Earthquakes bench. Losing Bobby Burling in the expansion draft will require San Jose to find another competent center back to back-up probable starters Jason Hernandez and Ike Opara, while the departure of Convey opens up a big hole on the left side of the formation. Given that Convey wasn’t coming back, their moves so far have been a net positive.