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San Jose Earthquakes 2020 player postmortem: Andy Rios

Almeyda’s guy kind of came good down the stretch.

Seattle Sounders FC v San Jose Earthquakes

Andy Rios had his first full season in MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2020, and I think a difference was noticeable.

In 2019, Rios joined midseason and the Argentine arrived having mostly played in South America previously. With the Quakes struggling down the stretch, he scored just one goal in 10 appearances in his first action in MLS, and I think many wrote him off right there.

I would submit that Rios came good in 2020, however. He didn’t have eye-popping stats, which San Jose really could have used, of course. But he had a real flair for the dramatic, and he essentially played as a support forward, working his socks off, defending from the front, and grabbing the occasional goal.

Here are Rios’ stats for 2020:

Andy Rios 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 22 20 1,711 5 1 28 8 5 0
MiB Knockouts 2 2 148 0 1 1 1 1 0
Playoffs 1 1 33 0 1 0 0 0 0
Total 25 23 1,892 5 3 29 9 6 0

Rios may not score a lot, but every time he scored in 2020, the Earthquakes either won or drew the game. And his goals tend to be quietly spectacular:

Late in the season, as the team regrouped and found their way to a playoff berth, Rios played a significant role, scoring three goals in four games, including one goal apiece in Cali Clasico wins.

If you expect Rios to score 15 goals in a season? The guy is 31 now, I don’t think a true breakout season is ever happening. He reminds me a lot of Marco Ureña in the support striker role, but I think Rios is more technical and still more prolific than the Costa Rican.

So to me, what you see is what you get. I think if there are more productive attacking pieces filling in the Earthquakes lineup, his production could get bumped up a bit, but don’t count on him really banging them in. Somewhere around five goals is what you can probably expect for Rios moving forward.

Still, while the Earthquakes do need an upgrade to help supplement the aging Chris Wondolowski in terms of scoring goals, and that may mean Rios loses his spot in the lineup, I do think the dirty work he brings to the attack is largely unheralded. Rios really does the other stuff besides scoring goals regularly quite well. And the nature of support strikers is they’re easy to scapegoat — they have the highest-profile position and fail to do the one thing expected of them often enough.

But Rios is an above-average — nearing elite, in fact — passer and his defense is also better than most forwards in the league. So all in all, I think he did what he was supposed to, more or less, in 2020.

Again, I’m not saying Rios’ name should be written on the teamsheet in pen if they are able to pick up an upgrade at his position, but until they get that upgrade, I think he’s bringing more to the table than people realize. Ideally, he would score more and satisfy everyone, but Andy Rios is going to keep grinding and getting the ball in the back of the net every so often.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.