The San Jose Earthquakes released their roster moves ahead of the 2020 season yesterday. Nothing groundbreaking came from the information, so it looks like the core of the Quakes will remain together for the foreseeable future.
Three players that did not get their options exercised were Francois Affolter, Jimmy Ockford, and Kevin Partida. Combined, these three players only played 91 minutes this season, and Ockford did not make an appearance at all. They are all under 30, so they still have time to make a name for themselves somewhere else.
Three players who did have their options picked up were Paul Marie, Matt Bersano, and (shocker) Jackson Yueill. Paul Marie was signed as the 12th pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft and seems to be in the future plans of Matias Almeyda. He played in nine matches last season, totaling 345 minutes on the pitch. Most of that time was in June and July when the Quakes were going through a grueling stretch while missing a lot of players to injury and international duty. This is a player to keep an eye on next season.
I’m looking forward to seeing him develop, and what the Quakes and Almeyda have planned for him.
Matt Bersano is one of five goalkeepers on the Quakes roster and is going to be back for at least one more season in the black-and-blue. He has yet to make an appearance for the senior club but made 16 starts for their USL affiliate Reno 1868 FC. He kept three shutouts and on a team that finished second place in the USL Championship Western Conference last season.
Jackson Yueill is getting regular minutes for the United States Men’s National Team. He is positioning himself to be Tyler Adam’s backup for Gregg Berhalter. He is a valuable part of the Quakes midfield and has only gotten better as a soccer player under Almeyda. If the Quakes had not exercised his option, it would have been a significant failure on the front offices part.
Harold Cummings is out of a contract. Unfortunately for him as the duo of Florian Yunwirth and Guram Kashia just clicked as the season went along, and he became the odd man out. He is a strong defender with good timing on his tackles and is sure to land a new job soon. His “”no fear”” approach to defending in tough situations made him a personal favorite player of mine, so this one was harder to accept.
All that is left is the lingering question of Cristian Espinoza. And what a grand question it is. The 24-year-old Argentinian is the 2019 Quakes offensive player of the year and is a big part of the turnaround of last season. The Quakes did not win any matches in which he did not play, but he was in San Jose on a season-long loan from Villareal of La Liga. The report said that “”Discussions for a permanent transfer of Espinoza are ongoing.”” I say short of selling Avaya to the Galaxy, the Quakes front office should do everything in their power to make sure they have a good shot at bringing him back. If they can’t hopefully they have a couple of other players in mind that can fill the giant shoes Espinoza would leave behind.
Aside from la saga de Cristian Espinoza, there was no earth-shaking news in this announcement. We will have to wait and see what the Quakes do with their third designated player slot and how they round out the roster going into next season. Almeyda has shown his trust in the young players in his previous teams. The Quakes now have five players under 18 on their roster. No other team has more than two players of that age.
The second year of the Matias Almeyda project in Northern California will have a lot of the same parts of the first year. That group of players was in the Western Conference playoff race until the last match. This offseason, the Quakes have a couple of DP spots to work with and five players that are not old enough to vote. There is still room to make roster changes that will help them get over that hill into a team that is a regular playoff contender.