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San Jose Earthquakes 2020 player postmortem: Eric Calvillo

Depth midfielder got a bit of run again this year.

MLS: Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Calvillo returned for his third season with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2020. The midfielder was just 22 this year but it feels like he’s been around a lot longer, after turning pro with the New York Cosmos back in 2016 before San Jose picked him up in 2018.

Calvillo was expected to be depth again for the Quakes and so he was. Like other deep bench players, he was sent on loan to Reno 1868 FC for their USL Championship season opener, and he notched an assist in a 90-minute shift, a win over Tacoma Defiance.

Of course, the coronavirus shutdown scuppered likely plans for Calvillo to spend more time on loan with Reno this year, and his total playing time was reduced considerably as a result.

Here are Calvillo’s stats for 2020:

Eric Calvillo 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 6 1 184 0 1 2 1 0 0
MiB Knockouts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 1 189 0 1 2 1 0 0

Calvillo was a late sub in extra time to bring on fresh legs for the Quakes in the playoffs, but for the most part otherwise he was a substitute, getting nearly all of his playing time in September, when he played five of eight games that month.

His only start of the season for San Jose was the lopsided 6-1 loss against the Portland Timbers in September, and while he had an assist to make it 2-1 with San Jose trailing, the Timbers scored two more goals before he exited the match.

I think Calvillo does the job he’s asked, but even though he’s still just 22, I’m not sure I see the path for him to become an MLS starter at this point. Less than 200 minutes of playing time is a small sample size, but while he reached a career high in terms of minutes played in a season this year in the top flight, his playing time is relatively the same year to year.

Still, Calvillo is under contract for the 2021 season, and the Quakes look likely to bring the midfielder back for another campaign. I’m not privy to the coaching staff and front office’s plans for him, but it feels like a make-or-break moment for him to really establish himself in MLS. If he can do it in 2021, great! If not, I think he’ll be a very good player right away at the USL Championship level and have several teams interested in his services there.

There’s plenty of untapped potential for Eric Calvillo. But it’s still a mystery if he can fully blossom at the MLS level and for the San Jose Earthquakes. Time will tell.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.