As the 2015 season is now less than a week away excitement is building. We’ve had a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday in the build up and today we take a look at what the San Jose Earthquakes will be looking to do this season…
The San Jose Earthquakes are looking like a new team ahead of the 2015 season. They have a new manager as Dominic Kinnear has returned after eight seasons with the Houston Dynamo, a new Designated Player in Innocent Emeghara and most importantly a new stadium as San Jose begin life in the brand new Avaya Stadium in 2015. Last year was disappointing. There’s no hiding that as the Earthquakes won just six games (their lowest tally ever) and finished bottom of the Western Conference. Things can only improve and the club will hope a new stadium will breathe a sense of fresh belief into the players and fans alike.
Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 9th – P34 – W6 – D12 – L16
What needs to change this year?
Firstly, the San Jose Earthquakes need to start winning more games. They won just six last year and finished the season without a victory in 15 straight games. That is incredibly poor and needs to change immediately. The Earthquakes also need to improve away from home as they picked up just one win on the road in 2014. Defensively, they were pretty solid considering their bottom-placed finish but scoring goals was a major problem as they netted just 35 times in 34 games – the second worst record in MLS last year. A lot needs to change on the pitch but a lot has changed throughout the club, including the actual pitch they will be playing on. Dominic Kinnear will hope to bring success back to the team in his first year back in charge but that will be no easy task in a highly competitive Western Conference.
Key changes to the squad:
Ins: Leandro Barrera – Midfielder, Mark Sherrod – Forward, Marvell Wynne – Defender, Sanna Nyassi – Midfielder, Fatai Alashe – Midfield, Innocent Emeghara (Designated Player) – Forward, Paulo Renato – Defender.
Outs: Jason Hernandez – Defender, Jon Busch – Goalkeeper, Atiba Harris – Midfielder, Yannick Djalo – Midfielder, Sam Cronin – Midfielder,
Key Player: Innocent Emeghara – Forward
Innocent Emeghara has been brought in as a Designated Player in the hope that he will score the goals to fire San Jose back into playoff contention in the Western Conference this season. The Swiss striker has bundles of pace and will inject some much needed life into an Earthquakes attack that underperformed in 2014. Chris Wondolowski will hope to form a successful partnership with Emeghara this season and make sure you keep an eye on the 25-year-old new boy because he could be dangerous.
One to watch: Fatai Alashe – Midfield
Fatai Alashe was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in January and could play a key part for the Quakes in his debut MLS campaign. He is not afraid of a tackle and the 21-year-old could really improve San Jose in the middle of the park if he is given minutes by Kinnear. His energetic play could turn defence into attack with the blink of an eye and make the Earthquakes one of the most dynamic teams in MLS this season. Watch Alashe as he could be set for a big year.
Predicted finish: Western Conference – 9th
Although things look set to improve for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2015, it’s difficult to see them finishing above so many quality sides in a frightening looking Western Conference. The additions of the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City have only made the conference more difficult and although San Jose won’t finish bottom this year, they will have to accept a third straight year without postseason soccer.
What are you expecting from the San Jose Earthquakes in 2015?