Previous Year Recap
2020 was a very interesting year for the San Jose Earthquakes. Their form in the MLS Is Back Tournament showed promise for a decent MLS season, but resulted in arguably the weirdest team to make the playoffs. This defence had 4 games last season in which they conceded 5+ goals, their top scorer was off-the-bench legend Chris Wondolowski (5 goals) and the only real bright spot was DP Cristian Espinoza (110 fantasy points in a 16 game season). Many wonder if Matias Almeyda is the right man to coach this team, who are struggling to adapt to his unique man-marking strategy. Expect that the ‘Quakes will give up a lot of goals this season, but they may have some sneaky offensive picks depending on the matchup.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Goalkeeper: Perennial bargain keeper Daniel Vega saw his seat as starter dethroned in 2020 by JT Marcinkowski. JT will likely be the starter this year as well and could be a bargain keeper if the matchup looks tempting. Knowing the Jeckle/Hyde mentality of the ‘Quakes, don’t be surprised if Vega could see minutes this season as well.
Defenders: The easiest pick for SJE defense would be Nick Lima, but his talents now reside in Austin. Lima was SJE’s top pointed defender in 2020 and 2nd overall for the team. Florian Jungwirth was the next highest pointed player, but the aging defender may not see as many minutes this year. Shea Salinas wont start this year, but off the bench could be dangerous once again. I would stay clear of SJE defenders.
Midfielders: It’s all about Cristian Espinoza. The 25 year old will be the focal point of the Earthquakes’ offense. Espinoza was top ten in fantasy in crosses and key passes last year and 1 assist shy of the top spot. If the matchup looks good, Espinoza should be a great differential pick. Judson is also a smart move, think of him as a defensive bonus Hoover (and a hesitant hot head).
Forwards: The most prolific goal scorer in MLS history is back to kick father time in the face. In 2020, Chris Wondolowski had his first non-double digit goal season in 10 years. Bottom line: if Wondo is on the field he will most likely score. If SJE has an early game in the week and if Wondo is starting, he should be a consideration. Another player to keep an eye on is Wondo’s son, Cade Cowell. Just kidding, but seriously this kid could have a breakout season and will be at a bargain.
San Jose fantasy will be like betting big on roulette in Vegas. If you can predict the outcome of these upcoming lopsided games, you may hit the jackpot or you may bust. Don’t count on consistency with SJE this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Earthquakes make a coaching change this season, which usually means a rotating door of a starting 11. With limited outer conference games, the ‘Quakes should struggle in a strong Western Conference. Let’s see what this team looks like after a few games before adding players to the fantasy rotation.