Editorial (February 13, 2017)- The concoction of blended aromas from the single-file food truck line, flocks of black and blue patches swarming their way into a steel skeleton framed jungle: game-day normalities at Avaya. We might ask ourselves, can the San Jose Earthquakes 2017 season start already?
San Jose Earthquakes: Biggest Headaches Going into 2017 Season
Unfortunately, we are a tad more than two weeks out, and the undefeated preseason record is portraying a role similar to a smokescreen. Numbing much of the pain, but not enough to kill the nagging head aching pulses deriving from overthinking the Quakes: injuries, new signings’ effectiveness, mysterious player inactivities, etc. This by no means to discredit the sensational effort by the Bay-Area side so far, but to draw out the question marks that might want to be peeked on before March 4.
Crucial Long Term Injuries
The Quakes are on the healthier side of the scale, but two major injuries are still prevalent from last year. An additional new injury report surfaced last week, involving a league veteran who was arguably the Earthquakes most efficient player the past two seasons.
The first affects 22-year-old midfielder Marc Pelosi who has a no time-able return to the pitch. He’s missed the entire preseason so far. The Liverpool academy product was signed to a new contract this past December, but has dealt with persistent knee injuries throughout his short career. A new contract to a player who will not be featuring anytime soon is always undesirable.
Although, the Quakes made numerous offseason signings to try and replenish the void of forward Quincy Amarikwa, only one of the recent signings has had MLS playing time, Olmes Garcia. Amarikwa served as an inseparable partner to Chris Wondolowski, but will now find himself watching the games from the sideline until mid-summer due to his ACL, LCL injuries. The lack of league experience from his immediate projected replacements is enough to make you scratch your head.
Defender Marvel Wynne anchored his position at right back for the black and blue early on in 2015. He has since then capped 65 out of the 68 possible appearances. He’s efficient in his usual right back position, but a solid fill-in at center back when needed. Wynne, was recently diagnosed with heart abnormalities homogenous to Clint Dempsey’s situation which kept him out six months. There is an over-complication to the unsolved fullback position starters by eradicating its undoubtable right back starter. Causing nervousness and havoc to any Quakes supporter.
One of the two Quakes Designated Players has yet to officially play in this years preseason. It should not be alarming, since the club has made no “official statement” on Simon Dawkins health. But many should worry when, their highest-paid player has gone incognito weeks prior to the start of the season.
Will “TT” Find Playing Time?
Forward and Quakes first-ever homegrown signing Tommy Thompson, has been the face of the Earthquakes new generation. Being one of the fan favorites, the demand to see him develop on the pitch wearing black and blue has risen the past year. Unfortunately, this might not be the year for him. As the club decided to import TAM-wage based international players, who automatically climb above the youngster in the line-up. Finding a suitable position for Thompson had already been a hassle years past; now add four new signings to the mix. This might cause an undesirable delay for all those aboard the Tommy Hype Train.
Formation Accounts For Lack of Goals and Benched Talent
The migraine giver here is the similarity between this year’s offense and last year’s. Coach Dom Kinnear has constantly featured his traditional 4-4-2 formation this preseason, the exact formation that produced a league-low 32 goals last season. It is yet to truly affect the Bay-Area side this preseason as they have scored four goals in four matches, only conceded a single goal, and have yet to lose. But a ratio of a goal per-game is nothing to be cheerful about, and more importantly when they are generated by second-half preseason squads.
We are yet to witness a contrasting formation that would house the Earthquakes top players to play their respected positions. Action has taken place in order to beef up the attack, but Kinnear’s formation is incompatible for the ultimate efficiency of each individual, e.g., too many times did we see Dawkins play out of position.
With the integration of Albanian international Jahmir Hyka we can hope to see some modifications from the helm to maximize his creativity all-around. If not, the same routine will be rolled out and we can expect to see some TAM-wage player warm the bench.