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Huckerby the Hero

610x Huckerby the Hero

If done right, it’s not that difficult to find a way to win in Major League Soccer. All too often MLS Clubs have been infatuated with signing foreign players who  are past their prime or have been out of form in their most recent club stops. Some of these concerns were articulated about Darren Huckerby a player whose differences with Norwich manager Glen Roeder led to the club parting ways with a player who had done so much for the Canaries.

Several weeks later Darren Huckerby has arguably made the biggest impact of any Summer transfer window signing in MLS. Unlike many English players before him including Steve Guppy, Chris Woods and Steve Howey, Huckerby seemed to fit right into MLS. The style of play and tactical acumen of MLS is completely different than the English Championship or Premier League. Yet Huckerby playing out wide on the left side for San Jose has seemingly fit right into MLS.  Not only has he fit right in but his enthusiasm for footballhas been contagious. San Jose now looks like a spirited team, not the bunch that was playing for consistent nill nill scorelines earlier in the season. The injury to Ramiro Corrales whose experience and leadership helped keep San Jose afloat could have ended the Earthquakes season. But Saturday night’s superb game winner from Huckerby and the fiery leadership he has shown especially since Corrales injury means that the Quakes have perhaps the gretaest X-factor and on the pitch general MLS has to offer.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

6 Responses to Huckerby the Hero

  1. Mark says:

    San Jose still sux.

  2. benjamin james says:

    Huckerby was always going to be successful in the MLS. All Norwich fans knew as such and are VERY grateful for his entertaining over the last 4 years. He is in Norwich's Best XI of all time and if he stays for the rest of his career at San Jose, he will be in theirs too.

  3. D.S. says:

    Hmm, I'll reserve judgment on Huckerby.
    I watched him this past weekend against the KC Wizards.
    He certainly saw a lot of the ball (courtesy of several neat passes into space from Lima); however, he demonstrated no pace or the ability the turn the corner that one normally sees in a strong left-sided wing player (which stands to reason, since he was primarily a striker at Norwich). And almost every time he got the ball, he *slowed down* on the dribble, and brought the ball (and the game) to a near standstill before attempting something not particularly dazzling. A good winger (Beasley, even Brad Davis) would take on a defender, use some speed and guile and develop space behind the defender — Huckerby did none of that. Other than one really nice pass that O'Brien volleyed into the side netting, Huckerby didn't do much — he lost the ball or forced himself near the goal line and either turned it over or won a corner kick — not exactly earth-shattering. One one of those plays where he pushed the ball to the goal line and attempted a weak cross, he completely failed to notice Alvarez in prime position for an angled backpass into the top of the six-yard box — you could see Alvarez throw up his hands in a bit of exasperation. On the goal he scored, Huckerby laid the ball off to Lima and made an intelligent run into the near post area, and when Lima sent a delightful chip to Johnson at the far post, Johnson was able to place it back into the near-post space, and Huckerby finished it clinically. Amazingly, he was the “man of the match” (more for his GWG than anything else, IMHO). The unsung heroes of the game were Scott Sealy, who held the ball brilliantly to create many chances, and Lima, who kept it all simple and well-connected. O'Brien was his feisty self as well, adding spice and some skill to the attack. [On a related note, Denton at left back for the Quakes seems like a disaster waiting to happen... poor marking, poor covering, and allowed Harrington, who was struggling overall, to send in a good cross that led to the goal.]

    No offense to Norwich fans, but if Norwich plays all the MLS teams, I would think the results would be 50-50, so it's not surprising that Huckerby fits in naturally. I'll be watching him against the Dynamo in a couple of weeks, and see how he does… that's one of the stronger defenses in the MLS.

    Kartik – nice blog, keep it going, but please send some time fixing the many typos that seem to show up :-)

  4. Ivan says:

    Huckerby had one very well so far. Hope San Jose and the league can keep him as long as possible. Even if past his prime, he is very much a quality striker. Foreign players like him, Schelotto, Blanco, Emilio are definitely raiseing the bar in MLS.

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