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Earthquakes’ JT Marcinkowski happy to see action after waiting 2 years

Homegrown goalkeeper reacts after first MLS appearance since 2018.

MLS: Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been about 23 months since JT Marcinkowski last played in an MLS match, but the San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper had his number called Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Homegrown weathered a first-half concession to help the Earthquakes post a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers.

It’s the first MLS game of the Matias Almeyda era in San Jose where Daniel Vega did not start in goal, and while Vega has had his moments, fans had been clamoring for another look at Marcinkowski, seen as the No. 1 of the near future.

After finding out he got the start on the night, Marcinkowski was asked what he was thinking in response.

“What was going through my mind was hopefully to help the team win,” he told reporters in the postgame press conference. “That’s what I think all of us try to do, try to go out there and do our best and make sure we’re, at the end of the day, trying to get three points. It was nice to be back out there, of course, but a little unlucky not to get all three tonight.”

Although Marcinkowski did concede the goal on the first shot he faced of the night, in the second half he made two key stops to keep the Quakes in the game, and Vako’s equalizer gave San Jose hope they could continue to push for a winner.

He’s played in the USL Championship for Reno 1868 FC in the meantime, but Marcinkowski admitted he’s grown more comfortable with playing at the MLS level since the last time he saw action in the top flight.

“I think when I first played, back in 2018, I was 21, it was my first year and it was kind of a whirlwind. It was definitely a lot different, a lot faster back then and of course there’s moments today, you’re still trying to wrap your head around, but like anything we prepared in training and we make sure we’re ready if our number is called and so that’s what I’ve been doing. I love working with [San Jose goalkeeping coach] Carlos Roa, Matias, Vega, [Matt] Bersano, so we have a great group of goalkeepers that we help each other stay sharp and stay ready and kind of support each other no matter what.”

Will Marcinkowski play again, as soon as Saturday for another match against the Timbers? The player himself was in the dark, but was diplomatic should Vega return in goal for that game.

“That’s not up to me,” Marcinkowski said. “If that’s the case, I would love to, but if it’s not I’ll be the first one supporting Vega. We always have each other’s backs. It’s a really special group, no matter who plays, whether it’s the goalkeepers or any of the field players, everyone in that locker room supports each other, we’re a family. That’s something Matias really strongly encourages. I’ve never been a part of a locker room like this, where everybody wants the best for everybody.”

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