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San Jose Earthquakes 2020 player postmortem: Tanner Beason

Rookie had a quietly solid debut campaign.

MLS: LA Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes stayed true to form by staying local and for their top draft pick in 2020 selected Stanford defender Tanner Beason. The North Carolina native was coming off a stellar college career, which included two NCAA titles and two All-American selections with the Cardinal.

It turned out, in contrast to the chorus that the MLS Draft “doesn’t matter,” it actually can, if you pick the right player and give him a shot, as Beason was solid in playing a third of the season for the Earthquakes.

Here are Beason’s stats in 2020:

Tanner Beason 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 9 9 810 0 0 5 0 1 0
MiB Knockouts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 9 9 810 0 0 5 0 1 0

Beason had to wait for his turn, entering the season with Oswaldo Alanís, Guram Kashia and Florian Jungwirth clearly ahead of him on the depth chart at center back. But with Kashia falling out of favor as the season progressed, and Alanís dealing with injury along the way, the rookie got his shot, starting the first two games of the local return to play, before making seven consecutive starts over the course of about a month in September and October.

The Quakes had a 4W-5L-0D record when Beason was in the lineup, and he played a role in jumpstarting the late-season rally to save the playoff prospects for the club in the back. Beason is a quiet, steady presence at this point in his career, he looks like he can hang at MLS level and I think he’s got room for growth, so all in all, it was a good rookie campaign.

Moving forward, Beason remains under contract for 2021, and with Kashia gone, it could open a path for him to see more playing time. However, it’s worth noting the Earthquakes allowed the most goals in the league in 2020, and their goal difference was truly eye-watering, the kind of thing that can absolutely stop a team from reaching the playoffs. Quakes GM Jesse Fioranelli openly stated the team needs defensive reinforcements this year, and I think you can make a case a new starting-caliber center back would be welcome, to help shore up the defense.

While Jungwirth and Alanís are experienced, they’re also getting old so I think Beason will get chances to play, but if a new center back is signed, his path to regular minutes may be blocked. It’s a potential challenge for the player, but a good issue for Matias Almeyda to have, potentially, with a player who’s got some minutes at MLS level under his belt and in the system waiting in the wings. So we’ll see what happens. Do I think Beason is ready to be a regular starter in MLS right now? I think he can do a job right now, yes, but I don’t know if he can elevate the backline at this stage in his career. Still, there’s room for growth and while he may need a few breaks along the way, Beason’s off to a pretty decent start to his professional career. We’ll see what happens from here.

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