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San Jose Earthquakes 2024 MLS season preview

We’re taking you through San Jose’s offseason action, hopes, fears, tactics & much more.

7 min read

Where we left off last year

2023 season: 44 points, 9th in the Western Conference

San Jose showed real promise early in their first year under Luchi Gonzalez, creating in their new manager's positional play possession structure and, at times, looking comfortable in a deeper block.

That early promise never turned into consistent success in 2023. While the Quakes technically made the playoffs by finishing in the last wildcard spot in the Western Conference field, it wasn’t a year to remember. Star right winger Cristian Espinoza didn’t have enough help in the attack to help turn the team’s new tactical principles into repeatable, goal-dangerous opportunities in the final third. The glimpses of defensive solidity didn’t lead to something more, either — the Quakes allowed more non-penalty xG than all but six other teams in the league.

Daniel, who joined San Jose from the Brazilian top-flight ahead of last year, was a bright spot. Despite an injury, he had an elite season in goal and cleaned up a bunch of the messes that came his way. The 29-year-old was the best shot stopper in MLS on a per-90 minute basis last year, according to FBref.

At the end of the year, though, things came crashing down in a wildcard game loss to Sporting Kansas City. The Quakes haven’t finished higher than eighth in the West since 2017 and haven’t finished higher than sixth in the West since 2012.

What changed in the offseason

Notable arrivals:

  • Victor Costa, LB: MLS teams have had plenty of success targeting recently relegated players in past transfer windows. Costa, a 29-year-old left back, was part of a Maritimo team that was relegated from the Portuguese top-flight after last season. Costa likes to push forward down the left wing and will add comfort on the ball when the Quakes’ attack.
  • Bruno Wilson, CB: Another addition from Portugal, Wilson is a skillful passer with his right foot. He’ll be a starter for a San Jose team that lost a couple of center back options in the offseason
  • Amahl Pellegrino, W: This is a fascinating move from general manager Chris Leitch and the Earthquakes’ front office. Pellegrino is a 33-year-old Norwegian winger who scored 49 goals for Bodo/Glimt in his last two league campaigns. Pellegrino is tall, super wiry, and has a fantastic right foot. We don’t see a lot of MLS teams sign players from Norway and we don’t see a lot of MLS teams go out and sign attackers on the wrong side of 30 from abroad. One thing is certain: the Quakes will have the most entertaining pair of right-footed wingers in MLS between Pellegrino and Espinoza.

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