SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Earthquakes made a move to clear a logjam at the goalkeeper position by trading away backup Andrew Tarbell to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.
The Quakes entered the preseason carrying five goalkeepers on their roster, more than required as they prepare for their 2020 Major League Soccer season opener against Toronto FC on Feb. 29.
The transaction with the Crew nets San Jose $75,000 in General Allocation Money, which could rise to $100,000 if Tarbell meets certain performance incentives in Columbus. The move to secure more GAM comes as the MLS roster compliance date approaches next week.
Tarbell, 26, was the Earthquakes starting goalkeeper in 2018, making 29 appearances but was replaced late in the season by rising Homegrown signing JT Marcinkowski after Tarbell conceded 60 goals in those starts. In 2019, Tarbell remained on the bench as new top goalkeeper Daniel Vega was added to the team. His hefty salary — reported at $235,000 by the MLS Players Association — was significant for a team not having the luxury to spend so significantly on a backup.
“I would like to thank Columbus, Andrew and his agents involved for working diligently to find the most mutually-beneficial outcome,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a statement. “We are grateful for Andrew’s service for the Earthquakes over the past four seasons. He stood out as one of the most respected players in our club and I am glad that this trade gives him a great opportunity to pursue new personal and professional goals.”
Since his selection in the first round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Tarbell made 41 regular season appearances for San Jose. He was also the Quakes starting keeper during their stirring 2017 U.S. Open Cup run, when they reached the semifinals but lost to eventual champions Sporting Kansas City in a penalty shootout.
The 2018 MLS season, the worst in San Jose’s franchise history, was bittersweet for Tarbell. The playing time was welcomed by the third-year professional, but the results were disastrous. Tarbell’s goals-against per-game average was a league-worst 2.07, so Fioranelli brought in veteran keeper Vega in the off-season to provide some stability in the Quakes’ defense. The Argentine played every minute for San Jose, and Tarbell finished the 2019 campaign without a single regular season appearance.
Entering 2020, Marcinkowski will take over as the team’s backup goalkeeper, with veteran Matt Bersano and 14-year-old Homegrown rookie Emanuel Ochoa rounding out the squad. Bersano was inactive on the MLS roster last season, spending his time on loan with USL Championship affiliate Reno 1868 FC.
With Marcinkowski expected to compete with the U.S. men’s national team vying for a 2020 Olympics berth this spring, Bersano could ascend to number two behind Vega. Ochoa is likely to continue gaining experience with the team’s academy sides.