Top 5 questions facing Earthquakes entering 2016 season
Top 5 questions facing Earthquakes in 2016 season
The San Jose Earthquakes begin their 2016 Major League Soccer season with a match against the Colorado Rapids at noon on Sunday at Avaya Stadium. As with any new season, the hope of raising the MLS Cup at season’s end leads to a number of questions. Earthquakes reporter Julio Lara details the Top 5...
5. What matches should we look forward to most?
While the California Clasico against the LA Galaxy is always a blast, the matches to watch are the first six. San Jose doesn’t catch any breaks and needs to get off to a good start for a number of reasons. After Sunday’s 12pm opener at Avaya Stadium, the Quakes' next five opponents are tough and will be a good measuring stick for the season. San Jose faces the reigning MLS champion Portland Timbers, the very talented rival Galaxy in Carson, a good defensive team in the D.C. United, a promising FC Dallas club, and an intriguing NY Red Bulls team. --Julio Lara
4. Which returner is primed for a breakout year?
There are plenty of possibilities here. What’s a full season with Quincy Amarikwa up top going to look like? Innocent Emeghara is making that Designated Player money, but is he healthy and will that translate into a more potent attack alongside timeless wonder Chris Wondolowski? In goal, David Bingham now has a United States Men’s National Team cap (and shutout) under his belt. Does that propel him into the upper echelon of MLS goalkeepers in his second full season? All viable options, but we’re going midfielder Anibal Godoy. A full season with him in the fold could work wonders for a team looking to build offense from the back. --Julio Lara
3. Who is the new face to watch this season?
The Earthquakes have a reputation for scouring the globe for undervalued talent and this offseason was no exception. Perhaps the most intriguing addition is Panamanian Alberto Quintero, an offensive-minded midfielder. San Jose needs an element of danger to its attack. Quintero and returning newcomer Simon Dawkins are expected to provide just that for the Quakes. --Julio Lara
2. Will the back line hold up?
The defensive line for San Jose is probably the team’s biggest question mark. While no one questions the brilliance of Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson, the reality is that father time is creeping and they’ll need to have strong seasons to help settle fears. Marvell Wynne and Shaun Francis are serviceable players. Jordan Stewart is looking to bounce back from injury to add depth. And Andres Imperiale and Kip Colvey will be interesting players to watch. --Julio Lara
1. Do Quakes have the pieces for a playoff run?
Head coach Dominic Kinnear has always said his goal is to compete every game. San Jose has the players and talent to give all comers a challenge. Things swung in San Jose’s favor at the midpoint of last season, but the team cannot afford a slow start in 2016 if they want to end an MLS playoff drought that dates back to 2012 (when they won the Supporters’ Shield). --Julio Lara