San Jose earthquakes don’t rush appointment of new head coach

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By Mike Rice.

When Matias Almeyda was relieved of his role as head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes on April 18, it looked like the long-awaited end to an ever-intriguing drama.

Almeyda’s tactics entertained and frustrated fans and neutrals alike. It’s impossible to say his time in San Jose didn’t attract attention, but in the end it seemed like a sideshow in the club’s history was over.

His tactics and philosophy were different from the manager he replaced, and his style of play will no longer be adopted by earthquakes in the future. It just didn’t work out in San Jose and Almeyda is now trying his luck in Greece with AEK Athens.

San Jose general manager Chris Leitch himself hasn’t been in the role for long. He took over as general manager on a permanent basis in November 2021 after being part of the team in a number of roles from player to head coach over the past 13 years.

He and his San Jose colleagues also didn’t rush to replace Almeyda and let the dust settle and plan appropriately after his departure.

Alex Covelo took over as interim after being promoted from San Jose’s second team and, in his first game, guided them to a spectacular comeback against the Seattle Sounders.

After dropping two goals, San Jose recovered to win 4-3 for their first victory of the season, a spectacular and exciting way for the interim head coach to begin his tenure.

San Jose, however, has recruited a new technical director. John Wolyniec started in May 2022 after serving as head coach of Red Bull New York II from 2015 to 2021.

The plan, it seems, is not to make the same mistakes they made with the hiring of Almeyda. In this hire, they were looking for a big-name coach who could bring a philosophy and reputation that would elevate the level of the first team without the heavy investment of other Major League Soccer teams. The mistake I mentioned was that the first team then broke away from the academy and philosophies the club had previously played.

Now, San Jose is looking to imprint a clear and fixed philosophy and direction for its first team, which can also be seen throughout its academy.

Lietch was credited with much of the good work that happened at the academy. He sought to shift the emphasis at this level from winning to developing players, not relying on the final score of a game as a metric, but on how many players they could prepare to fit into the first team.

Since being part of the academy’s planning and development, quality players have been developed, like Cade Cowell, who has made distinct impressions at first-team level.

Academy players like Emi Ochoa and Cruz Mediana have attracted interest from foreign clubs even before making the move to the first team.

This philosophy and this system must be integrated before finding the right head coach who matches their short and long term visions as a club.

To make sure the search isn’t rushed, Covelo are doing a great job with a team that are adapting well to system change and have put in some impressive performances which have seen them win three, draw two and lose one. times in MLS, as well as the Seattle Sounders being knocked out of the Open Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout.

Their cup run ended against USL Championship team Sacramento Republic in the Round of 16 in which a heavily rotated squad was used.

They have a strong attacking roster and ditching the frantic man-marking system seems to make the most of it.

Cristian Espinoza has always been one of their most creative players, although at times in his San Jose career he fell just short of what you’d expect from a Designated Player of his ilk.

He responded to the head coaching change with a hat-trick against Seattle, while Jeremy Ebobisse has scored seven MLS goals this season and is showing form that should at least catch Gregg Berhalter’s attention.

San Jose even became the first team this season to score at least three goals in five separate games, including three since Covelo took charge.

Jackson Yueill now has teammates around him in midfield and the extra support has seen him move with a little more confidence in the attacking third and he has three goals this season, two in the last two games.

Defensively, there are things to work on, although it’s still just the beginning of a new era for Earthquakes.

Their roster, on paper, is one that should meet the challenge of a playoff berth this season, though that may not be Leitch and co’s defining goal; a new direction with positive steps for next season is vital.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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