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San Jose Earthquakes 2020 player postmortem: Guram Kashia

Veteran defender wrapped up San Jose stint.

MLS: LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Guram Kashia started the 2020 season the same way he finished the 2019 campaign for the San Jose Earthquakes, as a starter.

But as Matias Almeyda proclaimed during a tough run in the season, he was evaluating which players were fits for his system and which would not be coming back after the season, and Kashia was one of the biggest casualties as a result.

Here are Kashia’s stats in 2020:

Guram Kashia 2020 Earthquakes 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 6 488 0 0 3 1 1 0
MiB Knockouts 2 2 180 0 0 1 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 8 8 668 0 0 4 1 1 0

The Quakes started the season with three truly starting-caliber center backs, in Kashia, fellow returner Florian Jungwirth, and newcomer Oswaldo Alanís. Figuring the new guy would get run right away, and he did, that left Kashia and Jungwirth to battle for the other slot, and Kashia won it at first.

Kashia provides an enforcer’s physicality in the back, which can certainly be useful going against MLS attackers who may shy away from a rugged opponent. In fact, I think Kashia would have been perfect in a Dom Kinnear Quakes team, a player who could serve as the anchor and do the dirtiest work in central defense for the team cause.

As it was, Kashia’s passing was somewhat underrated, but while his physical approach was useful, he also got torched on the counterattack. Make no mistake, Almeyda’s system means every player will get caught out at times, but a few occasions when Kashia missed a clearance attempt in the MLS is Back Tournament and the other team would race down to win the ball and get a shot or even a goal off made the Georgian look like a real liability.

From what I can recall, Kashia dealt with a minor injury coming into the local return to play, and Jungwirth got some run, and he seemed to finally click with Almeyda and the high-octane style, and the spot became the German’s for the rest of the season. Even when Alanís got hurt, Almeyda brought in rookie Tanner Beason or Homegrown Jacob Akanyirige instead of Kashia, and the writing was on the wall at that point.

I think Kashia had a good run with the Earthquakes and there were certainly good moments along the way. He was known as a good guy in the locker room and brought an upbeat attitude, and seemed to be well liked by teammates and fans. And don’t forget his social advocacy, standing up for the rights of LGBTQ people in his native country of Georgia, at considerable personal risk, and won an award from UEFA for speaking up, literally and figuratively, while facing a backlash for his advocacy.

Having said that, at 33 it was also clear that Kashia’s best days on the field are behind him, and he would probably want to be paid more money and have a more prominent role than San Jose would want to give him moving forward. He did a job, but it seemed to be not quite the perfect fit, and the Earthquakes opted to move on from the player after the season.

So far, he doesn’t appear to have latched on with a new team. Whether that means he’s looking at his options or is maybe considering retirement, is unclear. Again, I think he was solid for the Quakes, but his time here on the field had run its course. We’ll see what happens to him from here, and best wishes to the rugged defender with heart.

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