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2013 Off-Season Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'San Jose Earthquakes' started by Via_Chicago, Nov 9, 2012.

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  1. Via_Chicago

    Via_Chicago Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Country:
    United States
    Our season, sadly, is over. Time to evaluate our roster and look at possible off-season moves by the FO.

    Needs:

    Central midfield
    All season, I worried about the spine of the team. However, as the season progressed, and as Cronin came into his own, I worried less about the future of center midfield. What was worrying, however, was Baca's noticeable drop in performance. This may have been a factor of fatigue, but while I'm bullish on Baca's future, I'm less bullish on his position in the starting eleven. The team could do better. Who do Yallop and Doyle bring in? Do they look within MLS? The international market?

    Central defense
    Opara showed flashes of his GA potential, but with his GA contract expiring, do we retain him? Who do we pair alongside Bernardez? Do we stick with Hernandez and draft young? Depth at this position ought to also be a priority, as injuries and suspensions hurt the team all season.

    Forward
    As great a season as our forwards had, there are some worrying signs. It's possible that Wondo will not be back next season (more on that below). Gordon was beset by injuries all season and isn't getting any younger. Lenhart also suffered from knocks and suspensions. Pizarro never got a serious run-out with the team and Guvenisik was awful in his limited minutes with the first team. Should the FO try to grab an undervalued quality from off the MLS scrap heap? Or do they look abroad?

    Likely Roster Movement

    Simon Dawkins, M/F - Dawkins seemed to enjoy himself more as the season progressed, but he'll doubtless want to engineer a return to England.

    Khari Stephenson, M/F - No question about this one. It's not just Stephenson's whopping $190,000 contract. Rather, Yallop appeared to lose total faith in Stephenson by the end of the season. Even while the team struggled with injury and form, Yallop kept Stephenson firmly rooted to the bench. He's out.

    Sercan Guvenisik, F - Front offices do not like to pay $90,000 contracts to forwards who not only don't score goals, but who don't even make the bench.

    Contract Restructuring

    Chris Wondolowski, F - The biggest question this offseason is whether Wondo will leave and try his luck abroad. If he does, we'll all be grateful for the service he rendered this team. However, there are a lot of things that I think will keep him here. First, the FO understands how valuable Wondo is to the team and to the community. If they're smart, they'll offer him a DP-level contract that he can't refuse (and he'll have earned it). Second, Wondo's 29; he'll find it difficult to latch onto a European club in a first division league outside of Scandinavia. Third, Wondo is the most competitive guy on the Earthquakes; he wants to win MLS Cup. My guess is he stays, but the team ought to prepare for the possibility that he won't.

    Ramiro Corrales, M/D - The season started brightly for Ramiro, but he faded badly as it went on. While he was still able to contribute in a limited capacity, with a guaranteed contract of $183, 875, the team needs more production to justify the expense. Ramiro's career, however, is in its sunset. If he and the FO can come to an agreement to cut his salary (perhaps he can become a player-coach and take some of the salary off the books?), he could still be a valuable contributor off the bench next season.

    Rafael Baca, M; Stephen Beitashour, D; Justin Morrow, D - All of three of these guys were on the Rookie minimum this past season ($44,000). They'll all deservedly receive raises this off-season.

    Jason Hernandez, D - I think Jason comes back next season. Even at the $175,000 price point.

    The big questions:

    1. Will Wondo be back next season?
    2. How do we replace Dawkins?
    3. How can we improve the spine of the team (central defense and midfield)?
    4. Who does the FO pick up to improve team depth?
     
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  2. SoccerMan94043

    SoccerMan94043 Member+

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    Based on Wondo's post season performance, I don't think he'll get too many interesting calls.

    While Cronin played better as the year progressed, he is still a large reason we're getting so many goals scored against us (Baca too). An upgrade of one or both are required for us to compete.

    I think Ike could be great, but needs to have an open mind and the right mentor/coaching. BV is that person, but does BV want to?

    I don't think we can replace Dawkins, we need to play differently: focus on more depth and speed at outside mid (another Chavez please) and focus on spreading the opposing defense and great crossing... this would better take advantage of Gordon/Lenhart . If you could upgrade Cronin (in D-Mid) and Salinas (outside mid), you could drop Wondo into a attacking center mid role... while he's not fast, he's got great feet and doesn't loose the ball.
     
  3. fadedtoblack

    fadedtoblack Member+

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    Wait, so 2 sub-standard games for Wondo in the postseason completely wipes clean the fact that he's scored 60+ goals over 3 seasons? LOL.

    Morrow already received his pay raise, forget what it was off the top of my head.
     
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  4. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

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    First things first. Fitness must be a top priority again this coming pre-season. It's one of the reasons we were good this year, and probably the main reason we scored so many late goals. The other guys just wore out trying to keep up with us.

    If we could get Feilhaber or some other quality central mid within MLS, then we should do that. Failing that, let's look in Central America. Let's find a guy in his 20's, not 30's. We can afford Central Americans, and if we look hard enough, we can find a good one.

    Yep. We can draft good defenders, or even find guys that went undrafted that we can mold into quality defenders. Another place to look will be in countries that just missed qualifying for the WC. We should be able to find a bargain or two there. Maybe also look for guys who were drafted by MLS clubs, cut, and then spent a year or two in NASL or even USLPro. We might find a guy who is still young enough and now a bit more seasoned, that we could make into a good defender.

    I think that Sercan is the odd man out here. Keep D-P because he might develop. Look at the MLS scrap heap, there's value there once in a while. See who's available in trade, especially if we're going to trade Bingham or Opara. (Did Bingham really say "start me or trade me?") We might find another forward in the draft, or we might be able to snag one overseas. Garza can play forward too. We might look in the lower divisions, but I'm not hopeful about that.

    Morrow got a restructured deal toward the end of the season. So he's good.
    Baca and Beta need more money.
    Jason returns to us, even at a high price.

    I'm not as worried about replacing Dawkins. I think there's a good chance he stays. If he doesn't, we go out and sign another creative player. Let's look in Honduras. Know what I mean? Maybe Argentina or Uruguay, or Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, places we can afford.

    Here's a question, do we lose one of Ian Russell or Mark Watson to another team as head coach? Even a USLPro or NASL side could steal one of them.

    GO QUAKES!!!
    SJ is still a way better place than frigging el-lay!!

    - Mark
     
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  5. tonyh01

    tonyh01 Member

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    Let's not forget we have Marcus Tracy next year as well.

    I think we lose Dawkins. Although, he really seemed much more into playing for us this year, and being apart of everything than he did last year. So...maybe an outside chance we get him back for another year, but doubtful.

    Corrales, could be valuable off the bench, but he will likely retire.

    We will likely get rid of Pizarro, Gjertson, Guvenisik, Stephenson, and Ward. Alexandre is likely in the mix in this bunch as well.

    We will have Ballouchy back next year, which will give us a different dynamic in the mid.

    With Tracy coming it will be interesting, but I think it is very important to keep Wondo, Gordon, and Lenny. Lenny causes a lot of problems up top, and Gordon is just pure energy and heart.

    With the free cap space we should go after another CB to pair up with Muma. Perhaps use Ike or Hernandez as trade bait to free up even more space.

    Next year is going to be huge for us. I don't see either LA or Seattle being as strong next year, so we will likely win our division again, and will make a serious run at the shield. But, because of the added games of the Champions League our depth is going to be even more important.
     
  6. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

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    Mark, you get me. dead on that whole thing

    and excellent point on tracy.

    we got a TON of coin coming off the books coming up Sercan, Khari, Gjoey, Ward, Corrales are probably gone. Like mark says, can afford us a pretty toy like Benny to light a fire under Baca's ass who floundered hard in the playoffs. We have the money for at least one toy.....possibly two coming off the books. we need to use it.

    and lest we not forget, Bellouchy can play a bit of CAM if called upon too, very versatile player.
     
  7. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

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    I had forgotten about Ballouchy and Tracy. So yeah, that gives us another forward of some quality and another outside or inside mid, with a decent track record. Hmmmmmm.

    And I half expect to lose Dawkins, but half not. Do any of us think that Spurs will want him? Maybe he can hook on with some other Euro team, maybe not.

    GO QUAKES!!

    - Mark
     
  8. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

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    i suspect Dawkins will land with a needy championship level squad like Wolves, Ipswich, Charlton, or Sheffield Wednesday, theyll pay much better. I wouldnt say no to a totally new Tottenham player of a similar mold though.....would be a great help.

    point is, we have money for at least one nice toy, probably two, and we will be a potent force if we grab them. Baca and Hernendez arent terrible, but we can find upgrades certainly
     
  9. SoccerMan94043

    SoccerMan94043 Member+

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    Yes...I think a 30 year Old striker from a "lesser" league, that didn't perform under post season pressure, is unlikely to get many interesting offers.
     
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  10. nivla

    nivla Member

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    For the backline, it will be great to have a CB upgrade to pair with Bernardez. With more games to play next year, do we want 3 or 4 CBs on the team? Bernanrdez, Hernandez, Opara + ?

    Then I guess we are covered with RB (Beita, Zayner), but not at LB. I want another LB if Ward is not back.

    For the midfield, I will keep Cronin as the starting CM. I was sketical with him for a long time but he has improved and matured so much. He can't do everything himself. I would keep Baca as a CM option if he is not looking else where; however, I certainly want a stronger 2-way CM to pair up with Cronin. We need an upgrade or at least starter quality CM. I don't think Khari or Ring is that player. Ballouchy can play CM but he has not shown that he can cover a lot of ground yet. This CM pairing is critical to SJ because when that area is swamped by other team's pressure, we can only pass the ball back to the defenders to kick it up field.

    A little more on the CM position. A true AM will probably won't fit into Yallop's system. It will be more like the Eklund-Mulrooney than Clark-DeRo. I think Cronin is closer to the Mulrooney mode and now we need to find another Eklund type player who can help the transition and relieve pressure with quick (and elegant) moves and good passing with vision. I know, this is a tall order and we've been trying to find that player since 2008. Baca came close for a while but his growth seems to stop or slow down. Fatigue?

    We may use another quality LM if Dawkins leaves. Salinas is a good back up as LM and RM, but as a regular starter, something is not quite there. Garza may fill the role someday.

    Those are the areas I think we need to strengthen to take us to the next level. CM is where I see the biggest need.
     
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  11. JazzyJ

    JazzyJ BigSoccer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Forwards - Keepers: Wondo (duh), Lenhart, Gordon

    Biggest need here is more speed - someone who can run to a through ball and finish. Tracy could fit the bill.

    Midfield - Keepers: Dawkins (if you can at a reasonable price), Cronin, Baca, Chavez, Salinas (as a bench guy, not a starter), Ring.

    Need more depth in the center - especially players who can win the ball and hold possession and move it forward with their feet as well as with the pass. Bring in a strong d-mid to compete with Cronin and Ring, and an a-mid / two-way guy to compete with Baca. Baca had a great 1st full year and now he needs to take his game to the next level - more aggressive offensively and defensively. Cronin had a good year and is solid but unspectacular as a d-mid. Could use more bite there.

    Outside mids are good - could use one more solid player there in addition to Garza - maybe the Salvadoran guy who's name I can't remember but starts with "A"?. I'm not a big Ballouchy fan, but he is OK as depth at outside and center.

    Defense - Keepers: Bernardez, Beita, Morrow, Hernandez, and Ike - need another solid center back and some depth at outside back. I'm OK with Corrales as depth if he wants to play another year.

    Keepers - Keepers :): Busch and Bingham - don't care who the 3rd guy is - Newton is probably fine.
     
  12. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

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    another guy everyone keeps forgetting......young man Hustedt......he was a 2 way middie in college, and he was injured half the year, we really dont know what we got there.

    I really want to see him loaned out next year to get game experience. This guy works out that pick looks genius
     
  13. JazzyJ

    JazzyJ BigSoccer Supporter

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    I've seen him play just a little bit, and he has been intriguing. Definitely a guy to hold onto and see how he develops.
     
  14. Goodsport

    Goodsport Moderator Staff Member

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  15. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

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    there it is in black and white, Dawkins doesnt want another deal, can put that one to rest. it was a great project, he served us well, lets go get another tottenham plaything next
     
  16. alexiskool1991

    alexiskool1991 Member

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    Not really, didn't he say earlier in the season that if he came back he wanted it to be a permanent transfer. Hopefully Tottenham don't want much for him, they didn't really value him until San Jose was interested about him.
    IF he comes back, he needs to pick up his defense. He rarely drops to defend. When he does drop it's just to get the ball.
     
  17. elvinjones

    elvinjones Member

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    I'll just say this which I've never explicated regarding the bulk of the early/mid season vs the end of season and playoffs: I think we have the attitude, the workrate and team attitude necessary, but as things heat up the team approaches that asymptote where pretty much every team (look at Portland, LA, Dallas) is trying their hardest and truly exerting themselves to their fullest capability, that's where we need work or maybe a few players.

    I love all Earthquakes. But for *Elimination games only*, where *effort is assumed to be truly maxed out*, this is how I'd group our players in terms of how much they can help our our team advance to the next game:

    Dawkins, Chavez, Busch, Bernardez can be effective despite the other team playing hard and well
    Wondo, Lenhart, Gordon are the next tier
    Morrow, Beitashour should know how to be more helpful by next year
    Cronin and Hernandez are adequate when on form
    Corrales, Baca, Salinas are best used for specific roles when needed

    No rating for Khari, Sercan, Garza, Opara because I didn't see any of them/enough in the post season to know. I think Sercan honestly would have been at least as good as Wondo in the last game. I know it's sacrilegious to say but sorry I think it's true. It's also true that Wondo could have been better which is clearly why you leave him in. However he is inexperienced when it comes to elimination games. He didn't look dangerous and I think that a Sercan type if fit would be more likely to combine and get past a defending team in a game like the last. He is a Robbie Keane type; a slasher.

    So we are pretty close and I think that this year's success will breed more success.
     
  18. SJTillIDie

    SJTillIDie Member+

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    He doesn't want another loan... but I believe his contract with Spurs was only for 2 years... so it should be up in March 2013. We should be able to sign him on a free transfer as long as we throw more wages at him than a championship club does.

    source:

    http://www.thereggaeboyz.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=203071

     
  19. ant0n

    ant0n Member+

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    For the pretty toy it's hard choice...Freddy or Benny? Same Salary. I know watching Philly Adu could have had a shit load of assists if their forwards were any good. Benny would certainly be an upgrade for Baca though. Also I just looking at player salaries and Omar Cummings that slasher type player that we need only has a base salary of 83k. Perfect replacement for Sercan.
     
  20. ant0n

    ant0n Member+

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    How much does a Championship club pay? He'd earn a wage comparable to like a Robbie Findley I would guess.
     
  21. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

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    championship wages is 10-20,000 pounds a week i think. He gets an offer even from a bottom feeder we have no chance, would be a no brainer for him.

    I think if we were after a pretty toy id like benny to come here, but i wouldnt say no to either. The principle remains the same though, tell them you can be an asset to us and we'd love to have you, but we have no problem planting you to the bench if you dont perform. no sweat off our back, we have plenty adequate quality if they dont work out.
     
  22. elvinjones

    elvinjones Member

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    I think Feilhaber would be a great signing but I feel like the FO would rather go for a South American signing...
     
  23. fadedtoblack

    fadedtoblack Member+

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    Ah, I see. Now his age, the league, AND 2 substandard games are the problems?
     
  24. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

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    Adu might be a head case. He's certainly got some serious skills, but would he fit in with our fight for each other work ethic? I don't know. It might be that he'd work out great, or he might crash and burn.

    Feilhaber on the other hand is more like a Frank-type player. He's more of a two way mid, more defensive. He could really help us put it all together.

    I don't get all the Dawkins love, really I don't. He's good, sometimes very good, but he's not brilliant. I bet that JD and Frank try to re-sign him, that is, sign him to a permanent contract, which would be OK with me. But he couldn't start ahead of Salinas at the beginning of the year. Shea never really regained his early season form after Marquez mugged him, but I bet he's on form at the beginning of next season.

    I'd look to replace Dawkins with either a serious outside mid, or a serious A-mid. Really, Simon ought to play Wondo's role, but we already have Wondo ... so he's not that good a fit for our team.

    GO QUAKES!!

    - Mark
     
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  25. elvinjones

    elvinjones Member

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    In the meantime, you read it here that Wondo is probably done with the national team. Good for the Earthquakes chances. I think Klinsmann has given him his due credit vocally/media wise but I don't think he rates him and don't think he wants to incorporate Chris into the first team.
     
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