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San Jose Earthquakes 2020 player postmortem: Siad Haji

Youngster had handful of bench appearances again for San Jose.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Siad Haji was the No. 2 overall pick by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2019 MLS Draft, and after a season were he played 41 minutes at MLS level, he was back for more in 2020.

Remarkably, it was almost exactly the same story for him in his second year with the Earthquakes.

Haji spent a good amount of time on loan at Reno 1868 FC in 2019, getting his feet wet at the pro level, and he was also loaned out for Reno’s season opener this year, alongside several other Quakes players, and he started and went 65 minutes in that game, starting as an attacking midfielder.

But he had to wait his turn on the MLS front, making his season debut on Oct. 7 and again playing four times, all off the bench, for the Earthquakes. With no more loans after the season restarted, he didn’t see a ton of time in competitive matches all year.

Here are Haji’s stats with the Quakes in 2020:

Siad Haji Earthquakes 2020 Statistics

2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 4 0 49 0 0 1 1 0 0
MiB Knockouts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 4 0 49 0 0 1 1 0 0

Given his playing time was all of 49 minutes at MLS level, it’s hard to draw any big conclusions about his game in 2020. He just turned 21, he’s a Generation adidas player and appears to still be on that rookie deal, with the team announcing he’s under contract for the 2021 season.

We’ve seen that Matias Almeyda tends to give just about every player some playing time, but he also has a set group and the players on the outside of that core don’t get a lot of time to show what they can do. It’s not unusual, most coaches are like that, but it does lead to players like Haji who dip their toe in the waters but don’t really get a ton of playing time. Can he really succeed at the MLS level? It’s impossible to say at this stage, seeing as he’s played less than 100 minutes across two seasons.

Still, with another season ahead of him and some changes coming to the roster, perhaps Haji will get more of a chance on the field next season. I think it’s a make-or-break year for him, at least with San Jose, like some of the other players on the roster who didn’t get a ton of playing time. If he can break through and show he belongs at MLS level, then I can see him blossoming and working his way into Almeyda’s core group. If not, it may be another series of cameos and another run on loan. We’ll see what happens.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.