The 2016 season is here and the San Jose Earthquakes open up their 2016 campaign at home against the Colorado Rapids. The Quakes narrowly missed the playoffs last season ending the season with a 13-8-13 record and 34 points on the season. With a long off-season, the Quakes had plenty of time to regroup and prepare for 2016.
While some teams have been wheeling and dealing to sign new players, the Quakes front office has not been very active with signings. The Quakes were able to sign journeyman, Chad Barrett in late December as a free agent. Shortly after the new year, it was announced that Simon Dawkins would be returning to the club for the first time since 2012. Dawkins will be a welcome addition to the roster, as he was a key player in the Quakes wildly successful 2012 season when they won the Supporters Shield. The Quakes also managed to sign Andrés Imperiale, an Argentinian defender coming from Deportivo Suprissa. Goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell is the Quakes only signing from this year’s MLS Superdraft. Many questioned why the team went after a goalkeeper when depth is needed in many other areas. It’s speculated that Coach Dominic Kinnear is preparing to have a solid backup in case David Bingham is called up to the U.S. National Team again. The most recent signing has been attacking midfielder, Alberto Quintero, on loan from Club de Fútbol Lobos de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. During the off-season the Quakes said goodbye to Mike Fucito, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Khari Stephenson, Paulo Renato, Tomas Gonzalez, Leonardo Barerra, and JJ Koval.
The Quakes have played a number of preseason games in front of their fans this year. In late January, they played their U-18 academy team in front of their season ticket holders. The first half saw the regular starters premiering their new away kits and sponsor for the 2016 season. The starters were only able to notch one goal during the half. During the second half, the players fighting to earn a position this season turned up the goals notching 7 goals!
On February 13th, the Quakes traveled to Las Vegas to face rival LA Galaxy in a 1-0 loss at Cashman Field. February 20th, the team traveled to Sacramento to play their USL affiliates, Sacramento Republic FC. After letting in an early goal, the Quakes were able to come back and win the game 2-1 with a brace from Quincy Amerikwa. Their final match was against NASL’s New York Cosmos back at Avaya Stadium with the Quakes taking a 1-0 second-half goal victory.
While some Earthquakes fans are struggling to get excited about the upcoming season, the Quakes have some exciting things ahead for 2016. Shortly after the home opener on March 6th, the Quakes face D.C. United on April 2nd for the 20th anniversary of MLS’s inaugural game on April 6, 1996. Another big event is the annual Stanford Cali Clasico on June 25 against the LA Galaxy. This will continue the tradition of hosting over 50,000 soccer fans, military appreciation night and post-game fireworks. While not only related to the San Jose Earthquakes but the entire MLS, Avaya Stadium is hosting this year’s MLS All Star Game along with the Chipotle Homegrown Game. This year’s opponent will be ELP powerhouse Arsenal.
The San Jose Earthquakes open their 2016 campaign 12 pm PT at Avaya Stadium on March 6th
*all photos and article are by Heather Hendricks