First game, new season, what am I thinking about for the curtain raiser for the Quakes? Here’s three to kick us off:
New year, same crew feeling good?
The Quakes started 2019 in terrible form, with four straight losses, three of those by multiple goals, and then had a solid run until about the start of August, losing nine of their last 11 games. We’ve talked a lot about how San Jose hit a wall in the final months, so what did they do in the offseason? They signed one new starter, Oswaldo Alanis.
Is that enough? Matias Almeyda has insisted another year with this group will pay dividends, they just need to be in the best shape in the league. Can they ramp up to the opener in superior form and fitness to TFC? If they are in better fitness, will that translate to a result? This is just one data point in testing the club’s theory of continuity in 2020, but starting the season with a lopsided loss at home would be very concerning.
Who starts at forward?
Chris Wondolowski has both consistently earned the right to start for the Quakes and also been pushed to the bench as successive managers have looked to make a plan for a post-Wondo future, painful as that might be to reckon with. Both sides make sense. But will Wondo start in this game? If he’s not the option, will Danny Hoesen finally take the mantle everyone has eagerly awaited for him to do the last three seasons and become the top man up top? Will Andy Rios’ strong preseason make him the go-to option? What’s likely is whoever starts against Toronto, if he scores he’ll stay in and if he doesn’t play well, someone else will get a shot. But the first game can give us a hint of how Almeyda is approaching the start of the season.
Is there room for Nick Lima?
Lima is one of the top right backs in MLS, and also a player who seems to be on the outside looking in for the most part with Almeyda. Will Lima start on Saturday? If he does play, will he be moved to left back? Tommy Thompson seems to be a vital player for Almeyda and has done very well, to be honest, while the club seems high on weathering the ups and downs with young left back Marcos Lopez. But where would that leave Lima? Is this going to be another persistent storyline in 2020, a top player apparently not able to crack the lineup every week? Stay tuned.
What do you think? What are you thinking about for the opener? Let’s chat in the comments below!