Season Preview: San Jose Earthquakes

[ 0 ] February 17, 2014 |
San Jose

Can the high-flying Earthquakes return to 2012 form? Tyler says no.

The San Jose Earthquakes started the 2014 campaign really poorly before firing head coach Frank Yallop. Then his assistant Mark Watson stepped forward as head coach and turned the team around.

Watson’s record as head coach in 2013 was a formidable 11-5-3, leaving San Jose thinking its model wasn’t broken. Rather, in spite of missing the 2013 playoffs, San Jose thinks it’s headed in the right direction. Time will tell if that assumption is correct.

The Goal

San Jose wants to build momentum toward the opening of its new (and much larger) stadium. To do so, the team needs to be successful. Anything short of making the playoffs this year will feel like a failure for the Earthquakes.

Key Acquisitions

  • Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi signed on discovery
  • Atiba Harris acquired via trade from Colorado
  • Billy Schuler acquired via weighted lottery

Key Departures

  • Rafael Baca transferred to Cruz Azul
  • Marvin Chavez traded to Colorado
  • Steven Beitashour traded to Vancouver
  • Justin Morrow traded to Toronto FC
  • Ramiro Corrales retired

Remaining Issues

I just don’t see this club as a contender when the playoffs come around. Its ceiling is a mediocre playoff team that sneaks in and leaves early. I don’t think that can change as long as this core of players is together. The squad appears to be capped out, which is concerning given the low ceiling it has.

Predictions

Given the low-percentage, long-ball style of play employed by the Earthquakes, the massive amount of luck the squad experienced in 2012, that extra 2 minutes of extra time they got in every match they were losing, and the natural ability of league officials to catch onto Steven Lenhart’s bag of dirty tricks, 2013 was always going to be down year for the Quakes. However, their fall was far greater than even I (admittedly a detractor) suspected.

The 2014 season would probably have fallen in between 2012 and 2013 if the side hadn’t seen such talented departures. Those losses (cap casualties) will hurt.

San Jose will not get one of the top 3 seeds in the West, but the side will fight for a playoff spot. When the playoffs come, they won’t be a threat. A best-case scenario is a playoff appearance with an early round loss. The worst case is missing them entirely.

Just for Laughs

Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon will combine for at least 5 matches suspended during the course of the season. PRO officials will continue to tolerate Chris Wondolowski’s outrageous on-field outbursts, even though he is not Landon Donovan or David Beckham.

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