2017 Fantasy Primer – San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose

2016 Review

Missed chances was the theme for San Jose in 2016. With an Expected Goals total of an acceptable 43.51, they managed to put away only 32 tallies. That was worst in the league by six. With a defense-first approach, they were able to tie for second-fewest goals conceded with 38. The insistence on conservative, blue-collar soccer leads to uninspiring play where everything looks more difficult than it should.

Transaction Watch

Just as I was ready to write the Quakes off for another year of grinding, depressing soccer, they brought in a new GM and surprised me with some attacking signings. I was hoping they’d be able to land Darwin Quintero, but that was too good to be true. D

anny Hoesen is a 26-year-old Dutch forward arriving from Groningen. He’s a former Netherlands U-21 international who has scored 18 goals in 88 appearances in the Eredivisie, mostly coming off the bench. He has struggled with injuries. I recognized Marcos Ureña’s name from the Costa Rican National Team. But once I dove into his stats, I was left wanting more. He’s never scored more than five goals in a season, putting him on par with Simon Dawkins. Harold Cummings has 50 appearances with the Panamanian National Team as a 24-year-old. He’ll be a starter in central defense, pushing Marvell Wynne back to the outside where he is more comfortable. They recently signed Jahmir Hyka, an Albanian left midfielder who most recently played for FC Lucerne, to a TAM deal. Florian Jungwirth is a defensive midfielder who helped Darmstadt gain promotion to the Bundesliga. Both are 28-years old.

You might have had Alberto Quintero on your fantasy team last year because of his affordable price, but he is off to Peru.

Tactical Analysis

Dominic Kinnear’s teams always play a 4-4-2. There is no chance creator. They get the ball down the line and cross it in. Then everyone hustles to get behind the ball and stay compact. Every midfielder is expected to play both ways.

You know what you’re gonna get from Chris Wondolowski. He’s scored double-digit goals for seven years in a row. I expect Danny Hoesen to be making runs underneath him, as long as Hoesen can stay healthy. Ureña and Quincy Amarikwa are in the rotation, too. In midfield, Kinnear has a glut of options. Anibal Godoy, Darwin Ceren, Fatai Alashe, Marc Pelosi, rookie Jackson Yueill and Jungwirth are all viable in the middle. Did Tommy Thompson win the right midfield spot? Probably not, with Simon Dawkins likely to shift there since Hyka is a natural on the left. The backline sees the additions of Cummings and homegrown Nick Lima. Victor Bernardez is a lock at CB with Wynne at right back. Other options include Shaun Francis, Andres Imperiale, and Kofi Sarkodie.

There was outrage when David Bingham was not a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year as many believed he was top three in the league.

Predicted San Jose Starting Lineup

2017 Expectations

I don’t think the Quakes will be any different. They are content with their scrappy, blue-collar approach and are again bound for mid-to-low table performance where they might make the playoffs if enough bounces go their way. San Jose’s highest-scoring midfielder, Dawkins, finished 40th in midfielders in scoring last year. That’s not even high enough to show up on the first page of results. This crop of midfielders will once again spread the points around with a number of two-way guys but no chance creator.

I can always recommend Wondo. Even at 33 and with no playmaker to feed him throughballs, he managed 0.52 expected goals per game. That places him as one of the top dozen forwards in the league. He’s the best value at forward priced $8.5 or less. In the back are several intriguing options. Bingham is $6.0, which is the most expensive price for a goalie, but he will be popular on weeks with the right matchup. Matt Doyle thinks that Lima will win the left back spot at a non-starter price of $4.5. Cummings is the expected to be a center back starter at $5.0 when most CB starters are $5.5 or above.

Conclusion

San Jose is once again bound for a year of uninspiring mediocrity. There isn’t a midfielder on this roster that should be on your fantasy team. With a defense-first approach, you can benefit from what appear to be a couple undervalued starters on the backline, like Cummings and Lima. Bingham will always be a popular choice when a clean sheet is on the line. Wondo is the best value forward with an affordable price tag of $8.5.

About Phil Luetchford

Computer Engineer by day, Professional MLS Analyst by night. Phil finished 18th in MLS Fantasy and won the FC Dallas league prize in his first year of taking it seriously, even after taking a -44 when he forgot to click "Use Wildcard!" He is also the Technical Project Manager of the Dallas Makerspace's Competitive Robotics Team "Pegasus Rising," competing at RoboGames in the Bay Area this April.

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