On the same day the San Jose Earthquakes introduced forward Marcos Urena and defender Harold Cummings, general manager Jesse Fioranelli said there were more player signings to come as he builds the team’s roster ahead of the 2017 MLS regular season.
“We have a clear idea, and in the next seven days, there will be a couple of announcements,” said Fioranelli. “I am looking forward to doing that really soon.”
The newly minted GM held up Urena and Cummings as examples of the club’s ambitions when signing players: under the age of 30 and with international experience. Urena is 26 years old and has made 40 appearances with Costa Rica, including scoring a goal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Cummings is 24 years old and already a mainstay at center back for Panama. Both players are expected be a part of their respective country’s CONCACAF Gold Cup rosters this summer.
“What we are looking at right now is absolutely aligned with what you are seeing right here, in terms of having players that are under the age of 30, players that have experience internationally, and players that will fit in with what we have as a team,” added Fioranelli. “So we are looking at a sound balance of attacking players, as well as players that might be able to fill in more on defense.
The Earthquakes roster rebuild is in full swing, but there are still other pieces to the puzzle left to acquire, especially those that can help turn around an offense that was dreadful in 2016, scoring a league-worst 32 goals. Fioranelli does not expect any of the winter transfer signings to qualify as Designated Players; instead, any big-money contracts will wait until summer.
One player that was an off-season target who won’t be part of the Quakes plans in 2017 is Panamanian midfielder Alberto Quintero, who it was announced late Sunday will be joining Peruvian club Universitario.
Fioranelli declined to speak about specific players the club is pursuing, and he wouldn’t address rumors and reports regarding any potential new signings. Dutch forward Danny Hoesen and Albanian midfielder Jahmir Hyka both have been linked with moves to San Jose, but the GM would only hint that he was after offensive-minded players. A third candidate was brought forth in a report from ESPNFC.com: 27-year-old German defender Florian Jungwirth.
“It is definitely more oriented to the attacking,” said Fioranelli about the announced signings he hopes to make in the next week. “More versatility in attack, a younger team, and at the same time, they are aligned with our desired profile for what the coaches need and what the team needs.”
Hoesen just turned 26 and Hyka is 28, fitting the profile Fioranelli spelled out. The former could compete with Urena for playing time alongside Chris Wondolowski in the starting line-up, while the latter is an accomplished attacking midfielder that could replace Quintero on the depth chart. No other names have surfaced as potential transfers to the Earthquakes, but that wouldn’t mean the team doesn’t have other players on their radar.
“We want to build a very well balanced team with experienced players,” said Fioranelli. “Players that also give us more versatility and excitement from a talent perspective that we can build on and want to commit to the San Jose Earthquakes for a long-term period.”
The Quakes are in Arizona this week and next where they will play three preseason matches against MLS competition: Sporting KC, Real Salt Lake, and defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders. With Urena, Cummings, as well as the new signings expected shortly, the Earthquakes will have a month to build chemistry ahead of their 2017 season opener against the Montreal Impact on March 4.