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Where was Judson? Almeyda explains midfielder’s absence in Earthquakes opener

Plus, reaction to Eric Remedi’s debut and more.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at San Jose Earthquakes Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It was a good thing the San Jose Earthquakes picked up Eric Remedi in the offseason, because they needed him in the opening game of the 2021 season.

Remedi, traded from Atlanta United in a rare trade for San Jose to bring in a player, started and went the full 90 against Houston Dynamo, a game the Quakes lost 2-1 on Friday. Remedi was expected to play a fair amount this season, but perhaps not necessarily to be the starter from the first game, given how dominant Judson and Jackson Yueill were in 2020.

“I think Eric Remedi covered his expectations,” Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda told reporters postgame via an interpreter. “He knows the league very well, he’s a champion in this league, so he has a mentality that he wants to win. It’s going to take him some time to adapt to a new system like most players when they get to a new place. But I like how he played.”

Remedi played in place of Judson, who was not in the matchday squad at all. Was he hurt? A coach’s decision? Nope, it was bureaucratic, as he had to leave the country in order to complete the Green Card process, which was successful.

“Judson was in Brazil until two days ago, yes, due to his Green Card,” Almeyda said. “He wasn’t able to do the preseason with us and the pandemic has been complicated for everybody, including us, in reference to us not having him in preseason and him being unavailable today.”

Considering Judson’s jaunt to his homeland did not appear to be a quick trip, it’s unclear if the dominant midfielder will be able to play in the next game, Saturday against FC Dallas, or not, although he should clear his quarantine to be able to be eligible on health and safety protocols.

But given Remedi’s presence with the club in preseason and his experience in MLS, the players may enter a timeshare over the next several games.

One player, Tommy Thompson, suffered an early injury in Friday’s game and gave way inside the first 10 minutes to another newcomer, Luciano Abecasis, at right back. There was no immediate word of the exact nature of Thompson’s injury — Almeyda noted, “We hope Tommy’s injury isn’t serious” postgame — but Abecasis looked solid considering he jumped into the action far sooner than he likely expected to.

Thompson posted a Tweet on Saturday that provided a trademark sunny and steely outlook from the player.

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