2017 MLS SEASON PREVIEW
After missing out on the playoffs on the last day of the season in 2015, the San Jose Earthquakes hoped to use that as a springboard for 2016. That did not happen, as the squad fell to ninth in the Western Conference. Longtime general manager John Doyle was let go in August of last year and a replacement was named this winter in Jesse Fioranelli.
As a result of the disappointing campaign, the Earthquakes made changes at the top of the roster, moving on from many of their high-priced players who did not deliver on their salaries for one reason or another. Fioranelli has re-tooled the squad with acquisitions from Europe to help partner with Chris Wondolowski and revamp the struggling attack.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear remains in charge. But with a new general manager and new players to bolster the squad, the pressure will be on the veteran MLS boss to deliver results that are more in line with his successful tenure with the Houston Dynamo.
How did the Earthquakes perform in 2016?
2016 finish: Ninth in the Western Conference (8-12-14), missed the playoffs
After falling just short of the postseason in 2015, the Earthquakes fell further down the standings last season, finishing with just 38 points. A big reason why was their poor performance away from Avaya Stadium, winning just one game.
The Earthquakes' key offseason losses
San Jose jettisoned multiple expensive names in Clarence Goodson, Innocent Emeghara and Henok Goitom. It completed a large of an overhaul of the team's higher-salaried players after Matias Perez Garcia was traded midseason.
The Earthquakes also let go of veterans Bryan Meredith, Chad Barrett, Steven Lenhart, Mark Sherrod, Jordan Stewart and Alberto Quintero.
The Earthquakes' key offseason additions
The Earthquakes' big addition came at the top of the organization, hiring Jesse Fioranelli as the team's new general manager.
Fioranelli made multiple additions to the squad this offseason with many of those new players in contention to start. Panama international Harold Cummings will slot into defense. Florian Jungwirth, who can play on the backline or in the midfield, may end up alongside him. University of California product Nick Lima signed a homegrown player deal and will likely start out with a fullback spot.
In the midfield Jahmir Hyka will probably line up on the left side. Two new forwards, Danny Hoesen and Costa Rica international Marco Urena will look to take their shots at pairing effectively with Chris Wondolowski as Quincy Amarikwa is recovering from an ACL tear.
How will the Earthquakes starting XI look in 2017?
We know Wondolowski will start up top and David Bingham in goal. Simon Dawkins is likely to start in one of the midfield spots out wide, while Anibal Godoy and Fatai Alashe pair together centrally. Shaun Francis will be at one fullback spot. The rest may depend on fitness and whether or not Kinnear feels comfortable throwing his new signings right in. Hyka will likely start over Cordell Cato on the left side of the midfield. Nick Lima may have had a battle with veteran Marvell Wynne, but Wynne is sidelined with a heart condition. Cummings is recovering from hernia surgery and likely will not be fit in time for the start of the season.
Full Earthquakes roster entering 2017 season
Goalkeepers: David Bingham, Andrew Tarbell
Defenders: Victor Bernardez, Kip Colvey, Harold Cummings, Shaun Francis, Andres Imperiale, Florian Jungwirth, Nick Lima, Kofi Sarkodie, Marvell Wynne
Midfielders: Fatai Alashe, Cordell Cato, Darwin Ceren, Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy, Jahmir Hyka, Marc Pelosi, Shea Salinas, Matheus Silva, Tommy Thompson, Jackson Yueill
Forwards: Quincy Amarikwa, Danny Hoesen, Marco Urena, Chris Wondolowski
The Earthquakes' national TV coverage schedule
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Montreal Impact - Saturday, March 4, at 10 p.m. ET on TVAS and TSN
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps - Saturday, March 11, at 10 p.m. ET on TSN
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas - Friday, April 14, at 11 p.m. ET on UniMas
Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Saturday, April 22, at 4 p.m. ET on UniMas
Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Saturday, May 13, at 4 p.m. ET on UniMas
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy - Saturday, May 27, at 10 p.m. ET on Univision
Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Friday, June 2, at 11 p.m. ET on UniMas
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy - Saturday, July 1, at 10 p.m. ET on Univision
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Sunday, Aug.27, at 7 p.m. ET on FS1
Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Saturday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. ET on TSN
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Sunday, Oct. 15, at 5 p.m. ET on TSN