Going into next season, plenty of players will have much to prove. Luchi’s first season will offer certain players a fresh start and others a final chance. For a club that desperately needs a new beginning, this next season should be defining for players.
After another few years wandering the MLS desert, the Quakes have been offered a new chance. Luchi’s regime will offer the beleaguered side fresh hope of a bright future.
This means that fresh starts will be offered to some players while others will receive final chances. Youngsters will be handed more chances, as Luchi will likely continue his reputation as a player developer. At the same time, certain veterans will be on thin ice, as Luchi looks to mold this squad into his image.
Cade Cowell should see Luchi’s appointment as great news, given the manager’s work in Dallas. Same thing should go for Niko Tsakiris, as the youngster has become a MLS starter before the age of 18. While Nathan may see Luchi’s appointment as a final chance to become that top tier defender that he has flashed in his tenure in San Jose.
For the club as a whole, Luchi will give everyone a chance to take stock of the state of the club and project. Fans, and the league to be honest, have to hope that Luchi’s appointment isn’t a false dawn otherwise it may get even worse in the Bay.
Cade Cowell has tantalized MLS fans for a while now, with his incredible physical gifts setting him apart from other prospects. However, he has yet to put everything together consistently to truly become MLS’ next export.
Since his electrifying debut in 2020, Cade has experienced some incredible highs with some truly deep valleys. Luchi should offer Cowell a chance to develop given his track record at FC Dallas with plate development. MLS stars like Pepi and Ferreira all developed under Luchi and there is no reason why Cade can’t develop either.
The physical tools are all there for Cade and helped propel him to that all star nod in 2021. His mixture of elite pace and strength are reminiscent of a prime Gareth Bale. There are few, if any, players in MLS that can match the raw skills he has.
However, his decision making has yet to fully develop to the level of a starter. There are moments in games where he fails to make correct reads either passing it to the wrong player or losing the ball. This is of course fixable, if he gets more reps.
Luchi should offer Cade his best chance at truly developing into that next Quakes great. If Cowell is truly destined for Europe, this next season has to be his breakout.
Niko Tsakiris went from an interesting prospect to starter in the span of a few months. Tsakiris will likely be a starter next season and Luchi could mold him into a star.
Signing his first MLS contract in the winter offseason, it seemed like it would take a year or so for Tsakiris to make the first team. Covelo thought otherwise and sporadically gave him chances throughout the summer. When the Quakes were all but eliminated from playoff contention, Covelo finally made Tsakiris a starter.
There is plenty for Quakes fans to drool over with the performances Tsakiris has had so far. A player who is clearly at ease in the center of the park, Tsakiris is a natural play maker. Already notching an MLS assist, playing him in a midfield with Monteiro and Yueill would help his development.
For any young player, the most important thing for development is game reps. If Tsakiris is able to show Luchi his potential, the opportunities will be there. It’s imperative that Luchi gives him the properly balanced midfield that will lift some of the pressure from him.
The Quakes’ academy remains their best asset, given the talent that is in there currently and that has passed through it. Tsakiris is another one of these high potential players and will see chances under Luchi.
Nathan is the Quakes’ emotional leader, with his thunderous tackles and yells a staple at PayPal Park. At the same time, he has struggled to develop into a top tier MLS defender for those same qualities.
When Nathan made his debut for the Quakes, it seemed that the side had found their defensive anchor. To a certain degree they did, as he helped shore up some of the worst Quakes’ defensive lines in recent memory. However, he has still played a role in some of their worst performances of late.
Going into tackles with such power and excitement gives any team some much needed morale. Nathan has also developed into a good facilitator of the ball, willing to delve deep into the opponent’s half when needed. All this combined with his leadership has given the team a defensive presence that they haven’t had since Bernárdez.
Taking a look at the horror show against FC Cincinnati will show any fan the concerns surrounding Nathan. He is easily pulled out of position and when he’s too aggressive, opponents take advantage of the space that he vacates. This leaves the backline too vulnerable and hands opponents chances on a silver platter.
Luchi will, hopefully, find a way to control Nathan while still allowing him to be that needed defensive leader. If things get off to another slow start, it may be time to get concerned about Nathan’s future in the Bay.
For players and fans alike, this has to be the start of a promising project. Otherwise, the league will likely step in and take stock of the situation, as MLS continues to become more ambitious. The Quakes can’t afford to let this situation get worse and Luchi will have a heck of a job to do.
Featured image: ESPN