The San Jose Earthquakes did something in the offseason they have almost never done under current GM Jesse Fioranelli: They made a trade in MLS to acquire a player.
That player was midfielder Eric Remedi, who had spent two and a half seasons with Atlanta United. What can we expect from the player? Here’s a scouting report and some musings on how he’ll fit in.
Remedi is a defensive midfielder, and he’s not afraid to get stuck in and make life hard for opponents. In this regard, he’s pretty similar to Judson, but the players’ approach varies considerably. Judson is diminutive and his tenacity takes opponents by surprise — Remedi is a wide body who by soccer standards throws his weight around more overtly.
The Argentine has won a lot in a short time. With Atlanta United, he’s won an MLS Cup, a U.S. Open Cup and a Campeones Cup (ok, yes, but still a trophy). Remedi has been a contributor in all those winning campaigns, and his dirty work helps the skill players do their thing to the utmost.
Additionally, he already has experience playing for Matias Almeyda — the current Earthquakes manager gave Remedi his pro debut at Argentine club Banfield. Remedi knows Almeyda’s system and so the acclimation process will probably shorten as a result, with Remedi already comfortable with Almeyda’s energetic style that loves to sow chaos for opponents.
I don’t know that defensive midfielders will fully go out of style, but we’re in an age where destroyers are often looked down upon, for better or worse. Remedi has the reputation of a player who makes the tackle and passes it away to a teammate as quickly as possible. That is...often a defensive midfielder’s job, but the result is a belief that the player’s skills may be so specialized that they are actually a very limited player. It will be up to Remedi to see if he can show any additional dimensions to his game in San Jose. For what it’s worth, he mentioned repeatedly in this video that he loves to be on the ball.
In addition, Remedi fell out of the starting lineup while in Atlanta. He went from being pretty much the final piece in the MLS Cup-winning puzzle to tossed into the reserve pile, which again, could be a sign of his limitations as a player.
It’s worth adding a giant caveat to this: Remedi played under three separate managers in his time in Atlanta. Things went swimmingly under another Argentine, Gerardo “Tata” Martino, whose playing style is like an extreme normie version of Almeyda’s, and then it all fell apart under Frank de Boer. To be fair, everyone not named Josef Martinez fared poorly under De Boer, so take that failure with a grain of salt on Remedi’s part. And interim boss Stephen Glass was trying, in vain, to lead a thoroughly dispirited team.
So it’s entirely possible external forces took away from Remedi’s impact and dulled his play. One may hope that is the case, because his advanced stats from 2020 look pretty poor, admittedly.
And our friends at Dirty South Soccer gave him a “D” grade for the 2020 season.
This helps explain why Atlanta United and their fans weren’t sorry at all to see Remedi go. That’s not a definitive indication of anything besides a bad year, but it is possibly a bit concerning.
How he’ll fit in with the Earthquakes
One of the only spots on the field that has seemed easy to call in terms of starters is in midfield, where Judson and Jackson Yueill have locked it down over the past couple seasons. Do I think Remedi’s arrival will displace either of those midfielders? No, I don’t.
Having said that, Judson is tireless, but there is a risk he will tire out eventually, and even with the United States not qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Yueill will probably still have some international duty this year to attend to. Positionally, Judson and Remedi’s skill sets seem to overlap the best, but I imagine Remedi will get plenty of action off the bench spelling either starter, and I also think he’ll get some rotation starts, too. Plus, he’s insurance for that other i-word, injuries.
There’s also a chance that Almeyda could tweak his lineup a bit, take out an attacker and start three midfielders, two destroyers and a deep-lying playmaker, to provide some more support for the defense. If that is the strategy, then expect Remedi to be a regular starter, and while it would be a different look, it may not be a terrible idea considering the Earthquakes were very leaky last season.
I can’t say for certain that Remedi will have a bounce-back season, but I think a change of scenery could certainly do him some good, and I think he can also provide a boost for the Quakes. This is a good risk/reward move, he’ll likely see a good chunk of minutes on the field, and his experience winning trophies on an MLS team could really help a San Jose locker room that lacks that amongst the roster. We’ll see what 2021 brings for Remedi.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.