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San Jose Earthquakes 2020 player postmortem: Shea Salinas

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Veteran continued to show he can do it all.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Shea Salinas returned for his ninth season with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2020 — 11th overall with the club — and continued to write his name in Quakes lore throughout.

Salinas, now 34, remains healthy, fit and able to chip in through a number of ways. Mostly used as a sub option, Salinas often came off the bench to play left back, but sometimes he was put on as an attacker. Sometimes, he was called to start as a left back, and Salinas admitted it was a very different experience starting and coming off the bench from that position.

And he scored goals, not a ton but he seemed to pop up with the vital strike every time he scored, and aside from his timeless teammate, Chris Wondolowski, arguably had the most memorable goals of the season, again.

Here are Salinas’ stats in 2020:

Shea Salinas 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 23 4 774 2 2 10 3 1 0
MiB Knockouts 2 0 39 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 1 1 87 1 0 2 1 0 0
Total 26 5 900 3 2 12 4 1 0

Outside of San Jose, Salinas really gets no credit. He’s an A+ veteran glue guy, someone who plays multiple positions, assumes various roles on the team, capable of defending and attacking, and he is incredibly fit. If he played for the Seattle Sounders or Portland Timbers (shudder), he’d be hailed as an absolute legend.

Of course, he is quietly considered a legend in San Jose, and rightly so. I think the biggest endorsement of Salinas’ game is that he played in every single game for the Quakes in 2021. Matias Almeyda did well to keep him fresh, but again, it’s hard to find a player as good as Salinas who was willing and competent coming off the bench in MLS.

After some uncertainty going into the offseason and Salinas, who was going out of contract after 2020, saying he would “keep my options open,” for next season, he ended up signing a one-year deal with an option for another year in December.

I think it’s fantastic news. If Salinas can keep playing at a high level, he can continue to fulfill the role he had in 2020 no problem, and he can continue to bang in some important goals.

Like this one...

...and this one...

...and of course this one:

He may be overshadowed by Wondo in this department, but Shea Salinas remains a timeless wonder. Here’s hoping he’s got plenty left in the tank for the Earthquakes, because he’s been such a key player, even through 11 seasons in San Jose. Long may it continue.

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