A month ago, the San Jose Earthquakes camp was booming with excitement. A combination of having a handful of new faces and having a new person in charge, Matias Almeyda must have helped heal the previous season flop. Fast forward to the first three weeks of MLS: Fans and players alike didn’t anticipate a 0-3 record. In short, the struggle is real and it’s starting to raise questions on the capability of the current players under Almeyda. I for one believe he wanted to prune at least 50% of the staff but was prevented from doing so as the front office of the Earthquakes are NOT known to have:
A. Deep Pockets
B. Disrupt the fan base
C. Keep up with the pace of other MLS teams with regards to DP’s.
But if we forget the front office for now, my opinion is that Almeyda has entered a team that has three distinct issues:
- Wondo problem – Known as a great “MLS” striker and being so close to a record almost pressures Almeyda and company to start him and hold on to him. I’m suspicious there is some agreement with the front office to allow this to occur and his first year will not be penalized with regards to results. I get it, loyalty, but it should be at the cost of the team. At this point, make Wondo a super sub and have him earn his three goals under that role.
- Inheritance Issue – Honestly, it’s tough to do a deep cleaning and/or prune of the staff when the pockets are not deep. Most of his players are players he inherited from previous coaches that in my opinion wouldn't be sought after by 50% of the MLS teams. (IMH) This year should be the year that keeps those that work hard and earn their spot and get ready to offload all of the extra baggage.
- Homegrown vanity search - The San Jose Earthquakes want to be the team that is known to grow the best talent. For long term this is ideal, but it doesn’t mean that you force your home-grown talent into the starting eleven. Tommy T should not be on the A squad and should be playing for Reno and making that team stronger. Tommy T. is the globetrotter for MLS soccer, has decent technical skill, but lacks the soccer intelligence needed to play at a high level. I say cut the lose and send him asap. Or put him on the market and allow him to head out to another team.