(Updated, 8:24 p.m. ET … with video of the players carrying Corrales off the field:)
With absolutely nothing on the line Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium, there really was no other way to do it.
Still, it was a classy touch by San Jose and manager Mark Watson to give retiring defender Ramiro Corrales the start as their Earthquakes wrapped up the 2013 season.
As the very last man still kicking in MLS who had participated in that inaugural 1996 season, Corrales certainly deserves nothing less.
Corrales, making just his 11th start this year, was in the midfield alongside Sam Cronin as the Earthquakes closed out their season against FC Dallas.
San Jose interim manager Mark Watson talked to NBC’s Brian Dunseth at halftime Saturday from Buck Shaw, where a pre-game ceremony honored the retiring 36-year-old. “It’s a proud moment for him, and for us to all be a part of it,” Watson said. “It [the pre-game ceremony] was pretty emotional, actually. We knows it’s a big day and a sad day for him. I thought it was really important that he be part of the day today, and you have to feel good for him.”
Corrales, the team captain for Saturday, is the club’s all-time leader in games (249), starts (227) and minutes (20,117). And those numbers would be more impressive but for three years Corrales spent playing in Europe.
A particularly classy touch on the afternoon: San Jose players took the field wearing all the various San Jose uniforms from years past, including the old San Jose Clash jerseys (before the team became the Earthquakes). All, in fact, were Corrales’ jerseys, with his name and the number he wore in those years.