San Jose Earthquakes Decline Options on Nine: What Does it Mean?

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 06: Clarence Goodson #21 of San Jose Earthquakes kicks the ball away from Kevin Doyle #9 of Colorado Rapids during the second half of their MLS Soccer game at Avaya Stadium on March 6, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

San Jose, California- The San Jose Earthquakes have formally announced that they will decline contract options on nine players. We’re going to take a look at who they were, and what it means for both the club next season, and in the future.

San Jose Earthquakes Decline Options on Nine: What Does it Mean?

The San Jose Earthquakes are coming off their fourth consecutive season of not making the postseason. After only making the postseason twice in the eight seasons played since “the rebirth,” significant philosophical changes needed to be made to the club. No longer will fans be drawn to games because of the size of the bar, or the shiny new toy in their stadium. American soccer fans are educated. They know a bad product on the field when they see it, and now the Earthquakes need to start providing that. These roster moves are the first step in cleaning house. In turn, it should allow for a brighter future for the San Jose Earthquakes.

Those Who Were Declined

Goalkeepers (1): Bryan Meredith

Defenders (1): Clarence Goodson

Midfielders (2): Tommy Thompson, Marc Pelosi

Forwards (5): Chad Barrett, Henok Goitom, Steven Lenhart, Innocent, Mark Sherrod

The club has confirmed with multiple reporters that Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson will have their contracts re-negotiated and are expected to return to the Earthquakes in 2017. There is no news on Clarence Goodson.

What It Says About 2017

With really only two of these players coming back next season, it signals the ‘Quakes are trying to clean house. I have seen a few “Worst MLS DP” slideshow articles out there, and none of them include Innocent. He just might be the one of the worst, and is certainly the worst DP signing in San Jose Earthquakes history. Him coming off the books, and off the squad in general is a major positive for the Earthquakes. With five forwards coming off, and the likelihood of all but one (Sherrod to Reno?) returning being next to zero, there will be a significant amount of additions in that department added.

The biggest thing is whether or not they re-sign Goodson. For a player who hasn’t gone over 1000 minutes played in more than one season with the Earthquakes, plus age and injury issues, it would be a relative surprise to see him back in an Earthquakes uniform. The Earthquakes would be wise to attempt to get younger at the center back position. Andres Imperiale would be a great complement to Victor Bernardez in the box. He can make timely tackles and strong aerial challenges. The biggest thing is his distribution out of the backline is significantly better than Bernardez and Goodson’s. He’s also a significantly better option at center back than Marvell Wynne.

What it Means For the Future

Well, it means we should see at least one Designated Player signing this offseason. The Earthquakes are down to one slot filled. It wouldn’t be wise to enter the season with two open. Ask Houston about rolling with two designated players, it doesn’t work. The Earthquakes will most likely target a forward or a winger for one of the Designated Player spots. With concrete rumors about the Earthquakes interest in Emiliano Izaguirre, the Honduran left back, you have to wonder if they’ll add him when his contract with Celtic runs out.

Some have called for a Designated Player contract with a left back. While it might seem “ingenious”, it’s also an irresponsible appropriation of money within the current MLS roster rules. The Earthquakes would be wiser using TAM money to buy down the hit of the contract a D.P. Calibre left back would require so they don’t end up as a DP. That way they can use that third spot somewhere else to improve the team even more. A left back would usually be cheaper than an impactful center back or attacking player.

We can expect a busy offseason for the Earthquakes. We’re approaching 100 days without a GM, and it seems like Chris Leitch and Dom Kinnear are making good decisions without Doyle. They may not even choose to add another general manager. Leitch might, and should just assume the role himself. After all, he is the director of the technical side of the Earthquakes. Why not let him put the players in that fit his vision?

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