The San Jose Earthquakes were technically a playoff team in 2017, but it didn't feel like it.
Party of that is how poorly the one game they played in the postseason went - the Quakes were down in the 33rd minute and conceded four more to the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 5-0 knockout round thrashing.
The other part is the Quakes struggling during the regular season, giving up 60 goals and losing 14 games in the 34-match season.
This year, with new coach Mikael Stahre and general manager Jesse Fioranelli entering his second season, the Quakes are aiming not only to make the playoffs but to be a team that belongs in the playoffs.
How did the San Jose Earthquakes perform in 2017?
2017 finish: Sixth in Western Conference (13-14-7), lost in knockout round
The Earthquakes lost more matches than they won in 2017 and ran up a -21 goal difference, but still managed to lock up the final postseason spot in the West. The playoff run ended quickly, though, with the Vancouver Whitecaps winning the knockout round match by a 5-0 margin.
San Jose Earthquakes' key offseason losses
A number of players who had been in San Jose for several seasons departed Northern California this offseason, starting with Marco Urena, whom LAFC picked up in the expansion draft. El Salvador international Darwin Ceren and U.S. goalkeeper David Bingham both moved in trades.
Defenders Andres Imperiale and Matheus Silva each signed elsewhere, while Kip Colvey moved to the Colorado Rapids in the waiver draft. Victor Bernardez's contract option was declined and the Honduran center back is starting a coaching career.
San Jose Earthquakes' key offseason additions
Two players from coach Mikael Stahre's home country Sweden are now suiting up for the Quakes, with winger Magnus Eriksson and left back Joel Qwiberg arriving from Scandinavia in the winter.
Yeferson Quintana, a center back, arrived from Uruguayan side Penarol on loan. San Jose also signed Danny Hoesen from Groningen after he scored five goals on loan from the Dutch side last year.
Full San Jose Earthquakes roster entering 2018 season
Goalkeepers: Matt Bercano, JT Marcinkowski, Andrew Tarbell
Defenders: Francois Affolter, Jacob Akanyirige, Harold Cummings, Nick Lima, Jimmy Ockford, Yeferson Quintana, Joel Qwiberg
Midfielders: Fatai Alashe, Eric Calvillo, Magnus Eriksson, Luis Felipe, Gilbert Fuentes, Anibal Godoy, Jahmir Hyka, Florian Jungwirth, Vako, Shea Salinas, Tommy Thompson, Chris Wehan, Jackson Yueill
Forwards: Quincy Amarikwa, Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski
San Jose Earthquakes projected starting lineup
Mikael Stahre has used a 4-4-2 during the preseason and seems ready to stick with that after sometimes utilizing a 4-2-3-1 last season. Tarbell is set to start in goal with Cummings and new arrival Quintana in the middle.
On the left side, Qwiberg is yet to displace Salinas from the starting role, but Salinas will have to perform well to keep the offseason signing on the bench.
Stahre has plenty of options in the midfield, where we've projected Godoy and Jungwirth in the middle with Vako and Eriksson. Vako, a designated player who provided spark down the stretch, and new addition Eriksson are the likely starters but Thompson and Hyka both saw minutes last year and will push those players.
Up top, Hoesen and Wondolowski will start with Amarikwa providing depth off the bench.
San Jose Earthquakes national TV coverage
San Jose Earthquakes vs. NYCFC - Saturday, March 31, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Friday, May 25, at 11 p.m. ET on Unimas
Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Saturday, June 2, at 3 p.m. ET on Univision
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy - Saturday June 30, at 10 p.m. ET on Unimas
LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Saturday, Sept. 22, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Univision