We ask David from Center Line Soccer on the new and improved San Jose Earthquakes. 3 questions, 3 answers
1) With San Jose finishing out of a playoff spot in 2016, how is the 2017 roster different? Are supporters more optimistic about qualifying for the 2017 playoffs?
Last season was undoubtedly the most turbulent in recent memory, and as you mentioned, ultimately ended with the club missing the postseason for the fourth-straight year. After San Jose dropped to ninth in the Western Conference, general manager John Doyle was sacked. But the rebuilding effort has been tireless at Avaya Stadium, and Quakes fans might be about as excited as ever to see a new season kickoff. Jessie Fioranelli, formerly of AS Roma's sporting direction unit, was tapped to replace Doyle. He's gone out and acquired players such as Panamanian national Harold Cummings, Florian Jungwirth from the Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt and Albanian national Jahmir Hyka. Danny Hoesen and Costa Rica national product Marco Urena were added as the club's newest forwards.
2) Who do the Impact need to 'watch out for' on Saturday night? Any new exciting faces with the 'Quakes?
The most anticipated of San Jose's offseason acquisitions is undoubtedly Jahmir Hyka, who arrived via a transfer from the Swiss Super League side FC Luzern. In 15 Super League matches last season, Hyka scored six goals and added three assists — during his Avaya Stadium debut at last Saturday's preseason finale against Sacramento Republic FC, he dazzled immediately. His pace and vision were put on full display, and it didn't take long for him to find the back of the net.
3) Chris Wondolowski feels like he has been with the 'Quakes 'for forever'. How much does Wondolowski have left in the tank? Do you see him having a future in managing; with San Jose or elsewhere?
Wondolowski will without question go down as the most storied player in the history of the organization, and I wouldn't dismiss the idea of his no. 8 being retired one day. As far as what's left in the tank, I think we can realistically expect to see two or three more seasons of Wondo scoring 10-plus goals in a season. He has managed, somehow, to find ways to fight against father time, so the true amount of time he has remaining is truly unknown.
As far as life after MLS goes for Chris, I could definitely see him slotting into an academy coaching role, or being involved in academy development. It's not a difficult image for any Quakes fan to picture — Wondolowski has the most notorious reputation for sticking around to take every picture and sign every autograph.