The Quakes’ season finally ended in Seattle on Sunday. It was an exciting game that showed the potential of the Quakes’ offense coupled with their awful defense. Now that the season is over, it’s time to look back at what moves helped the team and which hurt.
Since Chris Leitch took over as general manager, he has tried to mold the Quakes into a successful MLS team. This has, for the most part, meant drastically changing their transfer policy.
This shift has meant reshaping his team into one that fits into modern MLS. More academy players playing larger roles supplemented with MLS veterans. Sprinkle in the effective DP players and you got yourself a playoff side.
With this mindset, Leitch went to work in both the winter and summer transfer windows. Including the draft, the Quakes added 10 players over the course of the season. Some had great seasons while others made fans wonder why they had been signed.
It’s now time to evaluate these moves to better understand how the Quakes will operate in the coming months. If the team is serious about making a playoff push next season, the work starts now.
For the most part, the additions over the past year have been positive. There is a mixture of MLS veterans who have cemented themselves in the team to younger players with great potential.
All talk about transfers begins and ends with Jamiro Monteiro. This was one of the higher profile trades in Quakes’ history given the production he put up in Philly. Leitch’s gamble has clearly paid off here, as he has become the team’s best creator.
Monteiro was the Quakes’ second best player this season and gave the team a creative outlet that they hadn’t had since Vako’s first season. His ability to dribble through tight spaces allows for the forwards to have so much more space. The stats show just how important he was, as he finished near the top of the league in terms of passes and progressive passes.
Ján Greguš was another MLS veteran added to the roster during the winter. While he didn’t have the impact of Monteiro, Greguš proved himself to be a quality bench player. He is a perfect player to bring on to calm the game down and make things easier for others.
Francisco Calvo played a large role for the Quakes early in the season. Despite a truly mixed set of results, the largest positive comes from his sale. The Quakes were able to earn $545,000 from a player that they signed for free which is just excellent business.
Onto the young guns, as there were a few that showed immense potential. From the draft, Ousseni Bouda has the ability to be the winger of the future for the Quakes. Niko Tsakiris has won a starting spot and will definitely play a larger role next season.
Leitch has had a mostly positive year that has seen him stamp his style onto the Quakes. If you included the Ebobisse signing as well, it seems like Leitch has been the best Quakes’ GM in years.
To be totally fair to Leitch, the Quakes haven’t had any really awful transfers this season. Rather there are a few that have yet to fully showcase what they can do.
Rodrigues will need to become the Quakes’ defensive leader next season. The Brazilian did have some great moments and is an elite interceptor of the ball. However, his fit with Nathan has been awkward and was showcased in their embarrassing demolition by FC Cincinnati.
Miguel Trauco, in his two games, should excite fans, as he may be a great replacement for Marcos López. Already recording an assist, Trauco looks excellent going forward and shows enough skill defensively to excite fans. The only reason why he’s ranked here is that he has only played two games and it’s risky to assume that this form will continue.
Carlos Akapo hasn’t played for the Quakes, as he has been nursing an injury. It’s impossible to know how he will impact the team next season, but he is another experienced fullback.
Fans can’t be blamed if they don’t remember Oskar Ågren and Will Richmond given how little they played. Ågren was drafted to fill in a long term need at center back, but will see his opportunities further shrink with Beason also now on the bench. Richmond has only played two games with the Quakes, but has impressed with the Quakes 2 and could play himself into a larger role next year.
While there weren’t any truly egregious deals, there were a few players whose value with the side is yet to be determined. These players will likely see next year as the make or break year with Leitch paying a close eye to them.
Another season has passed with the Quakes watching the playoffs from the sidelines. With a pretty decent transfer window over the course of the past year, it’s time for a change. The front office must take what worked this season and build upon it.
Featured image: San Jose Earthquakes