With a few weeks until kickoff at the Coachella Invitational, the rumor mill is swirling for the Quakes. It seems more and more likely that the team will aim to get a few more transfers as the MLS season nears. The glaring holes at two positions will need to be addressed before the season begins and they just may be.
Coming into the offseason, the left wing and center back positions desperately needed some sort of stability. With Cowell out and no partner for Rodrigues, addressing these two issues became the goal of the front office.
According to a find by Jamon Moore, the Quakes are planning on bringing in Amahl Pellegrino to be Cowell’s successor. An experienced winger, Pellegrino torched the Norwegian league over the past few seasons. At 33, it’s unlikely that Pellegrino is the long term solution on the wing, but he may be able to raise the team’s ceiling.
To finally give Rodrigues a capable partner, Bruno Wilson provides an interesting match for the Brazilian. A career that has been spent in the Spanish second flight and Portuguese top, Wilson brings that experience that the backline missed at times last year. His numbers don’t scream elite, but partnered with Rodrigues, there’s at least hope.
It’s refreshing to see the front office correctly meeting the team’s needs. There’s a clear plan that the front office is looking to execute for the first time in a while.
For the majority of his career, Pellegrino has been scoring for fun across Norway. Recent seasons have seen him explode, seeing three seasons of over 20 goals over the past four years.
Very much the opposite of Cowell, Pellegrino profiles to be a scoring threat from the get go. Cutting in from the left on his favored right foot, the winger has terrified Norwegian defenses. Pellegrino’s non-expected goals is elite even if his passing numbers aren’t as exciting.
2023 was the best year of his career, with Pellegrino scoring over 30 goals and winning the Eliteserien’s player of the year. In that season, the winger outperformed both his expected goals and assists. Last season’s shotmap shows the efficiency of his play, constantly cutting in and looking to score in the box, rather than peppering the goal from the outside.
Even if the Eliteserien is not on the same level as MLS, Pellegrino is still an exciting transfer for the Quakes. Fans shouldn’t expect a 30+ goal season, but if he can be a threat that can open up space for Ebobisse and Espinoza, he will be worth it.
Pellegrino’s fit in San Jose is interesting given who he is replacing. Unlike Cowell, who liked to dribble down the flank and cross, Pellegrino’s impact may be more like Hoppe. When he began to replace Cowell last season, Hoppe was refreshing due to his willingness to actually attack the goal.
The hope has to be that Pellegrino is a more attacking version of Hope, who is better at cutting in. Additionally, having two threats should give Espinoza more space to operate in and make life easier for his teammates. Even if Marie is to be the Quakes’ left back this season, he’s shown enough to be a worthy overlapping partner for just about any winger.
Replacing Cowell had to have been part of the front office goals since last summer. Choosing Pellegrino as his short term replacement is a worthy gamble, but it will all depend on him acclimating well to MLS.
Over the past season, the Quakes tried to build a defense around Rodrigues. From Nathan to Mensah, they failed to find a proper partner for the Brazilian, despite having a good defense.
Bruno Wilson’s career has spanned both Portugal and Spain, with the majority of his time spent at F.C. Vizela. None of the sides that he’s been part of have been among the best in their leagues, but have hovered around mid table. However, this season, Vizela is on the verge of relegation with one of the worst defenses in the league.
Wilson’s performances, according to whoscored, haven’t been outstanding, but above average. It’s hard to gauge whether he’s just an average player or Vizela’s defenses have pulled him down. The experience he brings is definitely a plus, even if it’s been mostly fighting to stay up.
The most important part of any new center back is how they will fit with Rodrigues. In Wilson’s case, he profiles to be a good player alongside the Brazilian.
When taking a look at his numbers, there are some concerns. Comparing him to other players in the Portuguese league, he’s a reluctant passer who struggles with completing passes. Additionally, the tackle won rate doesn’t inspire a lot of hope.
The one area where he does excel at is intercepting the ball which should match up well with Rodrigues. Also, the Brazilian is one of the best passing defenders in MLS which should relieve that duty from Wilson. Fortunately for both player and club, Rodrigues is such a great player that he can boost the game of Wilson.
With only Beason on the roster who can play the center back position, Wilson will be a welcome addition. However, to truly have an impact, Wilson must become the player that can anchor the Quakes defense with Rodrigues for years to come.
As strange as it may seem, the MLS opener is right around the corner. This Quakes side desperately needs reinforcements at two crucial positions to properly compete this upcoming season. Time will tell whether theses moves can help, should they come to fruition, but it’s encouraging to see a front office willing to be active after their project hit a snag.
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