Editorial (February 4, 2017)- Since the arrival of general manager Jesse Fioranelli in early January, the San Jose Earthquakes main objective was transparent: rebuild. After a massive offload of players from last years squad, the Bay-Area side was destined to face a busy transfer. Fioranelli promised; Fioranelli delivered. Now, it is my time to deliver some letter grades and thoughts on the five international window signings that have arrived in San Jose like thieves in the night.
Grading the San Jose Earthquakes Winter Transfers
With the season opener exactly a month away, and the squad stationed in Arizona firing at all cylinders in preseason tune-ups, there are several new faces under coach Dom Kinnear’s command.
Five are integrating from abroad, and four of the five were signed with their tightly stashed Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).
What seemed to be an insipid season ahead for many fans, now mimics the composition of an exquisite five-star platter. Allow me to grade what can arguably be the Earthquakes most exciting transfer window and its signings.
Danny Hoesen (ST) 26-years-old/Netherlands/ FC Groningen
Familiar to new challenges, Hoesen, arrived in San Jose with a hefty resume at a relatively young pre-prime age.
Hoesen experienced a stint in England representing London-side Fulham, as well as suiting up for Dutch giants Ajax for two season in which he bagged 13 goals. His international experience spanned from 2007 to 2013; representing Netherlands at both U-17 and U-21 levels.
Hoesen, is a versatile attacker who primarily plays as a striker, but can also provide services as a right winger if needed.
He possesses abilities to stretch opposing backlines with above-average pace and adept dribbling techniques anywhere inside the box: an area in where his precise finishing can be showcased. Aside from his attacking aptness, Hoesen can serve as a reliable free-kick taker; a large void in the Quakes framework.
Hoesen was brought to San Jose from Eredivisie side Groningen FC on a one-year loan with an option to purchase at the end of the calendar year.
Overall, there are major expectations for the Dutch to perform and compete for the voided second forward position, as forward Quincy Amarikwa’s injury leaves captain Chris Wondolowski duo-less.
His relatively young age, and well-rounded European experience headlines his transfer.
Overall, impressive loan-signing by Fioranelli and co.
Transfer Grade: B
Florian Jungwirth (CDM, RB) 28-years-old/ Germany/ SV Darmstadt 98
German defensive-oriented midfielder Florian Jungwirth joins the Quakes from Bundesliga side Darmstadt 98. Jungwirth, 28, spent his last two seasons playing in one of the world’s most renown leagues, tallying 35 appearances along the way.
Jungwirth, fell out sync with Darmstadt manager and former MLS player Torsten Frings, after expressing his desires to make MLS dream move a reality.
The former Germany U-20 savvy defender, will incorporate himself to an Earthquakes side with many players like his kind (Anibal Godoy, Darwin Ceren, and Fatai Alashe).
Having the ability to feature as a holding-defensive center midfielder or as a fullback at times; Jungwirth brings an overwhelming defensive presence with his impeccable slide-tackling and ground dominance.
What is to be believed as a pure Fioranelli oriented singing, Jungwirth, will find himself as the clubs most complete defender and possible starter from day one.
He might not be the creative midfield piece that was desired by many, but the defensive qualities he holds at a TAM deal, is an absolute steal.
Transfer Grade: B+
Marcos Ureña (ST, RW) 26-years-old/Costa Rica/Brondby IF
This World Cup group stage scorer has seen it all at a tender 26 years of age.
Ureña has played abroad from his native Costa Rica since 2011, having featured in Russia and most recently in Denmark with Brondby IF where he failed to score in 13 appearances.
A remarkably pacy player and efficient passer inside the box,Ureña,was penned as an attacking reinforcement to better the appalling league low 32 goals that the Quakes were able to tally.
Surprisingly, Ureña, was signed in on a TAM deal during a harsh period of his career.
Glimpses of tremendous upside and worth ethic have been showed during his time in Denmark.
Ureña can be categorized as an attacker who is able to originate efforts from as deep as the last third of the field: creating open spaces inside the box.
Due to his goal drought, Ureña is undoubtedly my biggest question mark.
Transfer Grade: C
Harold Cummings (CB) 25-years-old/Panama/LD Alajuelense
At 25 years of age and with 46 international appearances, Cummings was the desired reinforcement to replace former USMNT and Quakes stronghold Clarence Goodson.
On the pitch, Cummings replicates much of his national partner and captain Roman Torres’ play.
He’s quick to the attackers back, physical with his large frame, and an aerial dominator.
For not being signed to a TAM deal, he’s a perfect snag. The Earthquakes were getting outdated in the center-back position, Cummings is a reflection of the direction the black and blue are headed towards.
Unfortunately, Cummings is the first Quakes player to suffer an injury setback this season, but lets leave it out of the transfer grading as his acquisition might possibly be the best bang for the buck.
Transfer Grade: B
Jahmir Hyka (LM) 28-years-old/Albania/FC Luzern
Yesterday, the Earthquakes announced what is to be believed as the final signing prior to the start of the season.
You can say Fioranelli saved the best for last, with Hyka being the dynamic piece that can bolster the squad to be a playoff contender.
Preferably a left-midfielder, Hyka is unpredictable, offering lower-level Messi-esque magic in matter of seconds with his agileness and bob and weave fluidness. He is a preferred right-footed, but can offer his great shooting abilities from the means of his left foot. Most importantly, Hyka will be utilized as the tool to create in the means of the midfield, expect to the “Albanian Messi” as the main offensive facilitator this upcoming season.
That’s well worth every dollar on what is presumed a TAM deal.
Transfer Grade: A
The beauty of Fioranelli’s recruitments are in the manner that they were reinforced, with no DP slot being utilized.
This gives the Bay-Area side leverage in the summer transfer window assuring one open DP slot, and in that case a true push for playoffs can be executed.
Overall, impressive commence to the Fioranelli era.