SAN JOSE, Calif. — It’s a bye week for the San Jose Earthquakes, as MLS takes a short break for the FIFA international window, but there’s still plenty going on in and around the club.
The team has been following a regular training schedule, under the watchful eye of head coach Matias Almeyda, as it looks to use the extra time to build more familiarity with his system. The Quakes looked impressive in the first half of last weekend’s game at New York, even taking a one-goal lead into intermission, but a dominant second-half performance saw the Red Bulls cruise to a 4-1 victory.
San Jose has started the season with three straight losses for the first time since 1998 — all three of those losses came via the shootout after finishing level in regulation time — and have two upcoming home games in which to secure their first points of 2019.
It will be a tall order in the first assignment, with undefeated LAFC visiting Avaya Stadium on March 30, but the Quakes might be considered the favorites when the Portland Timbers, who play on the road for the first two months of the season while their stadium undergoes renovations, come to town the following weekend.
Here are some of the other stories surrounding the Quakes this week.
Danny Hoesen completing Green Card acquisition
After his attempt to secure his U.S. Green Card was delayed in the preseason, Danny Hoesen will complete the process this week. He left the team following the game in New York to return to his native Holland to finalize his paperwork and is expected back in San Jose by the end of this week or early next week.
Hoesen’s two-week absence during preseason put him behind the progress of his teammates in learning and applying Almeyda’s new playing system, so he was relegated to bench duty in the Earthquakes first three games of the season. The striker, last year’s team MVP and leading goal scorer, pronounced himself nearly match fit ahead of the game at the Red Bulls. He will be a candidate for the starter’s job next weekend against LAFC.
The Earthquakes currently stand at eight international spots filled on their roster, so Hoesen’s green card acquisition will lower that number to seven. San Jose is hoping to lower that number by one more ahead of the MLS summer transfer window, a time when the team will look at bringing in additional international players. No specific transfer targets have been identified.
Marcinkowski, Yueill receive USMNT U-23 call-ups
In addition to having six players called up to their senior national teams for games this week and next, the Earthquakes learned that JT Marcinkowski and Jackson Yueill were named to the 23-man roster for the US U-23 team that will convene in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain.
Under the leadership of newly named head coach Jason Kreis, the U-23s are slated to take on Egypt on March 22 and the Netherlands on March 24 while in Spain, with both games kicking off at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time. This is the first time both Yueill and Marcinkowski have represented the U.S. at the U-23 level after both featuring at younger age divisions in years past.
There will be another San Jose connection with the U-23s in Spain, as former Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch has joined Kreis’s coaching staff as the team’s goalkeeping coach. Busch was San Jose’s starting ‘keeper for four-and-a-half seasons, beginning midway through the 2010 campaign. He’ll now provide tutelage to the Quakes’ future goalkeeper, Marcinkowski.
The current camp marks the beginning of a long journey to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with Kreis aiming to guide the U.S. to qualification for its first Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since 2008. Qualifying from the Concacaf region will take place later this year in host nation Costa Rica.
Quakes take on Monterrey in friendly
With eight players missing from the roster, the Earthquakes are a bit short on bodies ahead of this Saturday’s friendly against CF Monterrey at Avaya Stadium. Still, Almeyda is looking forward to the opportunity to see what some of squad’s second teamers can provide against one of the strongest teams in the region.
Monterrey recently defeated Atlanta United over two legs in the quarterfinal round of the Concacaf Champions League, beating the defending MLS Champions at home before surviving a one-goal thriller in Atlanta in game two. The Liga MX side next face Sporting KC, the last MLS team left in the tournament, in the semifinals. Los Rayados captured the title for three years running between 2011 and 2013.
The Quakes played a friendly against Mexican competition at the same time last year, as Club Leon visited Avaya Stadium and won 1-0 through Landon Donovan’s goal. Monterrey currently sit in third place in the Liga MX table with a 6-1-4 record. Tickets to the game this Saturday are still available through the regular channels.
Cade Cowell roster status update
The Earthquakes made a splash back in January when they signed Cade Cowell to an MLS Homegrown contract, making the 15 year old the youngest professional athlete ever signed by a Bay Area sports franchise. The forward had a very impressive showing in the Quakes Academy, and he’s expected to continue his development with the senior squad.
Cowell, however, will not be eligible to appear for the Earthquakes first team until he finishes up the Academy season, which runs into June. As a requirement of his Homegrown status, Cowell needs to complete one year with the Quakes Academy. He is currently featuring for the U-17 team, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Ballistic United SC last weekend in Pleasanton.
Given Cowell’s Academy duties, the forward is unlikely to play for San Jose’s USL Championship affiliate Reno 1868 FC either. He will continue to train with the first team while he awaits his official eligibility this summer.
SuperDraft selection Sergio Rivas signs with Reno
With their second selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, the Earthquakes picked dynamic midfielder Sergio Rivas from Seattle University. A two-way threat on the field, Rivas was projected to go very high in the draft, but his non-domestic status scared off some teams from selecting him. The Quakes were pleased to see him drop to the second round.
Rivas was born in Mexico and brought the U.S. at an early age. He holds DACA status and is permitted to live in the country, but this also complicates matters when it comes to securing a work permit and signing an MLS contract. Add to that the fact that Rivas missed a large portion of San Jose’s preseason when the team trained in Cancun, and the 21 year old had to pursue other options.
Last week, Rivas posted on social media that he had signed with Reno 1868 FC, and the club made it official in an announcement on Wednesday. While Rivas won’t directly get to realize his pre-draft dream of playing for Almeyda, he will still be a part of the Quakes extended family. Reno next face Fresno FC in USL play, and Rivas is expected to be available for selection.