Matías Almeyda is a fighter, a man who in 2005 walked away from professional soccer only to come back and be one of River Plate’s best players in 2009 at the age of 36. Almedya played on the fateful day when the Argentine power was relegated to the Nacional B and quickly retired to coach the team in their darkest hour.
Matías Almeyda loves a challenge, not only did River Plate return to the topflight of Argentine soccer, Almeyda would take his soccer mind and life philosophy on the road and guided Chivas of Guadalajara to five championships after a nine-year title drought. At the height of his coaching career, Almedya took on one of the least attractive jobs in Major League Soccer, the San Jose Earthquakes in 2019.
The road has not been easy, after 2 up and down seasons, where the team was able to qualify for the postseason in 2020, the latest losing skid has left the fighter thinking what else he can do to get anything more out of one of the smallest budgets in all of MLS. In the Earthquakes latest defeat to the Galaxy by 1-0 the Argentine coach stated, “if I feel that I can't give more, that I can't transmit more to the group, I will talk to the people I have to talk to."
The San Jose Earthquakes under Matías Almeyda
Since Matías Almeyda’s arrival in San Jose he seems to be the only true star on the team. The clubs marketing and social media feed usually has at least 1 content a week around their coach. On the field it may not be time to hit the panic button. San Jose have won 3 games and lost 5 and sit sixth in playoff position, but among the 5 losses is a four-game losing streak after a very healthy start to the season.
Almeyda knew what he was getting himself into, San Jose would not go out and spend $15 million on a Pity Martinez player like Atlanta United did, but the coach has had to watch as his team, one of the few in all of MLS that has only 1 DP and 2 DP slots open, not provide any real lift in quality to the side. Rather San Jose’s management hopes that Almeyda will work his magic and make San Jose a good team with sheer grit and fighting spirit.
Imports such as Luciano Abecasis, Eric Remedi, and Benji Kikanovic are hardly the names you place your playoff hopes on the back of. As Almeyda’s approach has always been about team unity and fighting for each other, MLS continues to gravitate towards, the haves and have nots. Having at least two designated players and a healthy set of TAM and GAM signings are key to even think about the playoffs.
The San Jose Earthquakes management has the ball in their court, without the proper players, Matías Almeyda is nothing more than online content, a decent story, but on the field the Earthquakes are simply a bubble team. Getting Almeyda a much-needed increase in depth and quality is urgent and key at this point.
After two years and all his hard work, Matías Almeyda finds himself at a crossroads, stay and try to finally crack the puzzle that is the San Jose Earthquakes, or step down, and leave the organization right back where they started, without a clear road, or identity, the one Matías Almeyda is so hard trying to save and cultivate.