San Jose Earthquakes: Plan unfolds to transform problem player to asset

San Jose Earthquakes (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
San Jose Earthquakes (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Once the one-year loan contract gets inked, C.D. Guadalajara midfielder Javier Eduardo La Chofis Lopez will have one season to show he’s got what it takes. San Jose Earthquakes want to replace former team captain Magnus Ericksson.

That midfielder has transferred to Swedish club Djurgardens IF as of last August. Ericksson enjoyed two full, productive seasons with the Earthquakes. He played in 32 games each of those seasons. All but three of them were starts.

Then, through his five games in 2020, the magic was gone. He scored one goal and posted an assist in those appearances, all starts. The team had tried focusing on both 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 formations with Ericksson in prominent roles. But it just wasn’t working. So he transferred.

Even without him as captain, San Jose finished 16th in the league and eked out a playoff spot. The playoffs ended too quickly for the Quakes in November, in a shootout with Sporting Kansas City. So the hunt for the magic is back on in San Jose.

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Head coach Matias Almeyda knows perfectly well what to expect from midfielder Chofis Lopez in his squad. He coached Chivas as the team won the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League in 2018 with Lopez on the team.

While with Chivas, Lopez tallied 21 goals and 12 assists in 185 games. But he was suspended last November after an abuse allegation. That soured his relationship with the club.

Almeyda already has other former Chivas players on the squad. Defender Oswaldo Alanis and midfielder/forward Carlos Fierro. These two players quickly found their place in Almeyda’s preferred system.

Both of them started in the Quakes’ one playoff game, working mostly in a 4-4-2 double diamond. Fierro scored and was among the highest-rated in the game in scouting reports. Alanis was solid, if not remarkable, in his center-back position. He helped in passing and possession enough to ensure his team had a chance for a win.

So these two players opened the door at the Earthquakes for Lopez. Lopez has shown promise on potential since going professional in 2013. As he earned a starting position on the club, then complaints arose regarding his training and production.

Next. Juventus getting Bryan Reynolds from FC Dallas. dark

It was last November’s allegation and aftermath that led to the team deciding they wouldn’t want to work with Lopez any longer. But here’s a team who wants him now. If Lopez is ready to make good on his promise and potential, he’ll earn a great career and appreciative supporters at last.