Quakes On Both Coasts Vol. 1 No. 16
Source: @sjearthquakes Instagram
Matt: It’s hard to believe it’s only been four weeks since the last Quakes game - November 7 feels like a year ago! And with the next game in eleven weeks, there’s not much time to rest and recharge for the 2022 campaign.
Josh: Not at all - a February 26 Opener makes for a short off season. Some of the team have gotten training and experience on the larger field - Marcos López saw some minutes with Peru, and the two young homegrowns Cowell and Walls played for the U-18s in the Revelations Cup. And *hot off the press release* Cade and Jackson are back at the USMNT camp before the January qualifiers! Do you think that’s helpful?
Matt: Experience is always good, and I hope both Cade and Jackson get some solid minutes. And López’s noticeable improvement for San Jose over the 2021 season has me rooting for him. With Peru playing again on January 27 and February 1, I hope he’ll get called again and be in more than game shape for the opener. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for Casey Walls. Maybe he’ll make his first appearance at PayPal Park this year, and having more young strong defensive players is something any team would look forward to. Speaking of looking forward, eleven weeks until facing the Red Bulls is something I am sure is on Almeyda’s mind. They are a tough team and will come in revved up to start their season with a win.
Josh: With so many starters continuing or renewed for 2022, I think the Quakes are going to be fired up for redemption next year. In February, you’ll have to bundle up for New England’s return to the field just as much as you were on Tuesday! And hopefully with less disappointment. A new season is a new chance at the Playoffs or the Cup!
Matt: I’m still in shock (and not just from the 32 degree game-time temperature), so it’s hard right now to think about gearing up for another campaign. To put it in perspective, I have to remember that the players are probably feeling it more than I am. At least the first game of the season is in Portland, with the first home game on March 5th. I’ll wait an extra week - soccer in March is significantly different than soccer in February! Here’s hoping that when the rest of the schedule is revealed that there will be a Quakes/Revs match!
Josh: Crossing my fingers and toes!
Matt: Speaking of next season, here’s the scoop so far. Under contract are GK Emi Ochoa, Nathan, Tommy Thompson, Casey Walls, Asomani, Espinoza, Gilbert Fuentes, Yueill, Cade “Kraken” Cowell, and Ebobisse. The team exercised their options on Marcos López, Remedi, Haji, Judson, Beason, Salinas, Kikanovic, Skahan, and JT Marcinkowski. The FO did not exercise options on Abecasis, Akanyrige, Paul Marie, Calvillo, Fierro, Rios, and Williamson.
One of the first actions I heard about was the team picking up Remedi’s option for 2022 and extending Chofis’s loan by six months. The rumor is if Chofis gets off to a good start in 2022 they will buy his contract. The timing says to me that those two were a priority. What do you think?? Are things moving in the right direction?
Josh: Definitely the right direction. These two were new to SJ and part of the highlights of 2021. Another season with them in Black & Blue, with a lot of the same teammates in key positions, is a recipe for a strong year.
Matt: I’m glad Nathan is returning. He gave the defense some greatly needed consistency and energy. As for Fierro and Rios not coming back, I guess I’m not too surprised. I think it’s probably more of a business decision than anything. I feel the same way about neither Marie or Abecasis coming back, but with the kind of rebuild this team needs, Leitch and Almeyda are going to do more than just tweak the roster. Maybe one of them will end up signing with the Quakes under a new contract. And it’s possible the Quakes extended some contracts with the possibility of trade options in mind.
Josh: I know it’s controversial, but I’m looking forward to seeing Jackson Yueill have Remedi’s support, maybe leadership, and the pair getting another season at midfield. I’m hoping Shea steps into the veteran Captain role that Wondo is leaving. Fierro and Rios made a good campaign for why they should be back for 2022 in the last two games, but too little, too late. It’s a big deal that Fierro, a Chivas player Coach Almeyda helped bring to San Jose two years ago, isn’t being optioned back.
Matt: And in the big picture, the Quakes have retained just about the number and type of players that they can protect from the expansion draft. In a few weeks we will see how much contract and protection maneuvering may be at play behind the scenes. We’ll just have to sit tight (and scroll through Twitter constantly) and see what happens during the December 12 trade window and during and after the December 14 Expansion Draft. And hey, since I won’t be at any more playoff games, maybe I’ll have the chance to catch Wondo’s analysis on Sirius XM for the Conference Finals and MLS Cup Final.
Josh: I’m happy for him, but he knows you can’t chew gum on the radio, right? We’ll see how the Expansion, Super, all the drafts pan out, hopefully see our new GM fill the last DP spot, put some good talent in the newly-opened International positions, and what talent ends up in the free agent pool. This time for the Front Office: Vamos SJ!