Today the San Jose Earthquakes made their first of many off-season moves with their player pool. The move signals some interesting changes that are in store for 2018.
It should be noted that players that did not have their contracts renewed could still be eligible to play in 2018 as a contract restructuring or renegotiation may be happening.
Players that did not have their contracts renewed include Victor Bernardez (D), Cordell Cato (M), Kip Colvey (D), Danny Hoesen (F), Lindo MFeka (M), Marc Pelosi (M), and Matheus Silva (M).
David Bingham (GK), Andres Imperiale (D), and Kofi Sarkodie (D) all had their contracts expire at the end of 2017.
Players that were optioned for 2018 include Fatai Alashe (M), Matt Bersano (GK), Darwin Ceren (M), Anibal Godoy (M), and Andrew Tarbell (GK).
Players that are under contract in 2018 are Francois Affolter (D), Quincy Amarikwa (F), Harold Cummings (D), Simon Dawkins (M), Jahmir Hyka (M), Florian Jungwirth (D), Nick Lima (D), Shea Salinas (M), Tommy Thompson (M), Marco Ureña (F), Vako (M), Chris Wondolowski (F), and Jackson Yueill (M).
What It Means
It’s also safe to say Cordell Cato is out for good. After the birth of his second child, Cato was a rare sighting on the Quakes’ bench in the latter half of the season. Rumor had it that Cato showed up to the last game, made his appearance in the clubhouse, and left before the match had started.
Joel Soria tweeted that 2017 second round MLS SuperDraft pick Lindo Mfeka is probably not going to be a Quake. This is disheartening as Mfeka was part of a Reno 1868 FC team that finished third in the USL in their first season, had 27 key passes, six goals, and made 22 starts. Mfeka not returning might be due to his international status; he is listed as a South African player, although he graduated high school in the United States, and played four years at the University of Florida. However, the Quakes are stacked with international players, and Mfeka might have been the odd-man out on a roster that only allows for eight international players.
Kip Colvey will probably not return. He may also be a casualty of an overcrowded international Quakes roster, which is limited to eight players. Quakes GM Jesse Fioranelli may be looking to bring in other internationals this offseason, and will need space. The Quakes could trade with another team to buy more slots, but this would not be the most cost-effective use of salary money for a player not expected to start next season.
Marc Pelosi is another player that will probably never see pitch time in a Quakes uniform. At just 23 years of age, Pelosi has been plagued with injuries, including a broken leg with Liverpool, two knee surgeries with San Jose, and most recently a sports hernia surgery. If Pelosi can stay healthy, he could be a valuable midfield distributor, but with Alashe, Ceren, Godoy, and Flo Jungwirth proving their durability, Pelosi’s cost is too high.
Matheus Silva is out. Silva was an extremely young prospect when San Jose first acquired him (just 18 years old). However, Silva was rarely seeing pitch time in Reno, even before his near-death accident in Lake Tahoe. Silva had just 166 minutes in two starts with Reno 1868 FC. It appears that he was a prospect bust.
Andres Imperiale probably won’t be back. Imperiale was hit-and-miss as a defender last season, and his age (32) means that the Quakes will probably look for younger talent, rather than spend an international slot on “Imp Tuna.”
Kofi Sarkodie probably won’t be back. Sarkodie was a largely inconsistent defender, and with the Quakes giving up a club-worst -21 goal differential, Kofi was one of the problems. The Quakes had a -9 overall goal differential in games in which Sarkodie started.
Danny Hoesen should be back. Hoesen was on a loan from FC Groningen, and even though the Quakes had an option to buy at the end of the season, the Quakes did not exercise that option. However, according to several sources, the Quakes are “working” to bring Hoesen back next season. Hoesen proved his value with San Jose as the Quakes made their post-season run; Hoesen started the final six games, and the Quakes finished 3-2-1 to make the playoffs. Hoesen had three goals and 18 shots over that span.
Victor Bernardez probably won’t be back. Some media outlet are reporting that Muma’s time is done in San Jose, which seems to have been verified by Joel Soria. It’s a shame as Muma’s experience and durability could still be an asset for the Quakes going into 2018, even if he played in a diminished/bench capacity. Bernardez no longer says he is a player with San Jose on his Instagram profile.
Edit: UPDATE: Muma said goodbye on his Instagram. 🙁
Marvell Wynne is a wildcard. Technically, he’s not under contract, which is why he’s not listed in any of the current lists of players for San Jose. With Sarkodie likely gone, the Quakes should look to Wynne to take over at fullback, but he still needs to pass a physical before he’s eligible to play.
Next up: the Quakes need to announce the players they plan to protect for the MLS Expansion Draft. The Quakes can protect 11 players. My guess: the Quakes put up Francois Affolter, Quincy Amarikwa, and Simon Dawkins among others, and will probably cut ties with all three players sooner than later. Their cost-to-output ratio is simply too high.