Progress is often hard to gauge in sports. What makes a successful season for a team building something can vary across the season. This offseason will test the Quakes in understanding how much progress has been made and what needs to happen.
Earlier this week, Luchi gave a press conference to discuss this season. Nothing too surprising came up, but Luchi has a plan for this offseason.
By far the most interesting quote was Luchi describing the potential of outgoing transfers. Just about every Quakes fan can take this as a hint towards Cowell’s future being elsewhere. The front office’s going to have some big decisions to make this season, if the goal is to have outgoing transfers.
At this point, it’s a bit useless to imagine the incoming moves. Luchi seemed to confirm that Rodrigues would be brought in on a permanent basis. However, Hoppe’s future in San Jose is seemingly anything but certain.
Plenty of work will be donor this offseason to capitalize on the positives that Luchi’s project has brought. It’s still so early in the offseason that it’s tough to see what the club will do, but it’s clear that the front office is committed to success.
Not often will you see any sort of manager or team official be so open about the possibility of sales. There are plenty of players whose future in the Bay are uncertain, but this offseason will revolve around Cowell.
MLS insiders confirmed that the Quakes rejected the advances of multiple European clubs for Cowell. With how he ended the season, it may have been the front office’s biggest mistake. Not only is his value lower, but the uncertainty is hurting the club.
Almost surely the Quakes won’t receive the $5 million that Bologna had offered earlier this year, but the team needs to move Cowell. It’s not good for both club and player to have the player on the roster going into next season. Cowell needs to be in an atmosphere where he can continue his development and the Quakes need a left winger who fits into Luchi’s system.
The team is in desperate need of a more impactful winger and Cowell just hasn’t been able to give that to the team. Moving him to a team that will help him reach his potential is the best the team can do for their former all star.
Outside of Cowell, the rumor mill isn’t really churning. It’s totally possible that players like Kikanović or Thompson could be on their way out given how little they played. Additionally, Ågren and Bouda could benefit from loans to further their development.
Ebobisse should be seen as untouchable and will likely stay unless an offer is too great to ignore. Monteiro might also be on his way out, but the Quakes do have Tsakiris ready to take his spot.
If the front office is really focused on cleaning the squad up, there will be a litany of declined contract options and transfers. As sad as it might be to see some of these players move on, this front office is determined to make something of the Luchi experiment.
Incoming transfers are difficult to imagine at this point, especially with the transfer window still almost two months away. What is easier is predicting who will stay long term in the Bay.
One of the best pieces of news for Quakes fans during this press conference was hearing that the team is going to try to keep Rodrigues long term. The Brazilian is one of the best defenders in MLS and can put together a defensive player of the year season in 2024. Keeping him in San Jose will go a long way to creating a solid backline for the Quakes.
After resigning Rodrigues, it’s imperative that the club finds the correct partner for him. Nathan will have his chance, but that pairing looked weak in 2022. Beason may not be a good passer like Nathan, but he fits better defensively with Rodrigues.
Then there’s Mensah whose contract is up this offseason, but struggled alongside the Brazilian. If the Quakes could bring back Mensah on a good contract, he could be a great depth piece.
Hoppe’s loan to San Jose is over and from his most recent Instagram post, so is his future. Every effort needs to be made to bring the forward back to the club. Especially if Cowell gets moved, the club will not be able to survive without Hoppe.
Outside of Hoppe, the frontline desperately needs help in terms of depth. Perhaps this means Luchi will have to trust Bouda more or look to the Super Draft. Ayo Akinola barely played this season and unless the front office can’t find more depth, he should probably be let go.
Once the MLS season is over, there will be more clarity on which players will be brought back. However, fans may have to wait until the winter window opens to see who comes to the Quakes.
Despite the tough loss, the front office and management are clearly focusing on making Luchi’s project a success. If fans take one thing away from Luchi’s presser, it’s that the team hopes that the loss to KC is the lowest point of this project. There is plenty of work to be done in the coming months, but there’s a unified attempt to make this team even better in 2024.
Featured image: San Jose Earthquakes