MLS newcomers LAFC selected San Jose Earthquakes striker Marco Ureña during the team’s expansion draft today, after the Earthquakes announced yesterday that they would not be adding him to their list of protected players.
San Jose Earthquakes Lose Marco Ureña to LAFC Expansion Draft: Analysis
While this move surprised some analysts, given Ureña’s success as a member of the Costa Rican national team, many fans of the Earthquakes were left less surprised. Even though Ureña did etch his name forever in Quakes lore with his stoppage time goal against Minnesota to send San Jose to the playoffs, he did little else during his tenure at Avaya.
The Earthquakes clearly expected more than the meager five goals he provided them. That total matched his entire output from international play. Quakes fans were left confused after watching him net a brace against the USMNT during World Cup Qualifiers. That Ureña never seemed to show up on Saturdays in a Quakes uniform.
For San Jose, this move appears to be addition by subtraction. Quakes Epicenter reported today that Ureña had been tagged by the team as a discovery player. As a result, his salary cap number was significantly higher than his actual $300,000 salary. In addition to serious cap relief, Quakes Epicenter also reports that the team will now get an extra $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money as well.
Getting rid of Ureña also frees up an international roster slot for San Jose.. The Earthquakes are linked to Swedish striker Magnus Eriksson. Ureña’s exit makes that move seem all the more likely, and would give the Earthquakes attack a major upgrade.
There were a few other notable names and exemptions from the Quakes list of unprotected players. Quincy Amarikwa, sidelined for much of the season after tearing his ACL at the end of the year in 2016, was listed as eligible for LAFC. General manager Jesse Fioranelli and new head man Mikael Stahre could look to replace him this offseason as well.
Danny Hoesen, who spent 2017 in San Jose on loan from Dutch side FC Groningen, was listed as a protected player. San Jose declined to exercise his option last month. This indicates that they might currently be working on a deal to keep Hoesen with the club permanently. Hoesen showed a lot of skill and promise this season, and would be an excellent addition to the Quakes attack for the future.
San Jose may have lost a striker today, but it is doubtful many in the organization are worrying over it. Fioranelli and Stahre appear to have a plan in place to revitalize the Quakes attack for next season. As the MLS’s breakneck offseason kicks off, we can sit back and watch it unfold.