San Jose Earthquakes 2023 MLS season preview: Tactics, predicted XI, predictions

After a disappointing couple of years, a new era has begun with the San Jose Earthquakes.

New head coach Luchi Gonzalez has been tasked with lifting the Quakes off the foot of the Western Conference while trying to return them to the MLS Cup Playoffs after two years out.

Gonzalez has already been busy strengthening his roster and there is renewed optimism around San Jose that the former FC Dallas man can get the best out of the club’s young players, too.

Here’s everything you need to know about the San Jose Earthquakes ahead of the new MLS season, including tactics, key players, and predictions.

Transfers in


Former Club


Carlos Gruezo






Jonathan Mensah

Columbus Crew

$200k (rising to $500k)

Keegan Tingey

Stanford Cardinal

Free transfer

Cam Cilley

Stanford Cardinal

Free transfer

Michael Baldisimo

Vancouver Whitecaps


Daniel Munie

Indiana Hoosier


Transfers out


Club Joined


Eric Remedi


Free transfer

Siad Haji

FC Tulsa

Free transfer

Matt Bersano

Austin FC

Free transfer

Jan Gregus


Gilbert Fuentes


George Asomani


Whether or not Luchi Gonzalez sticks to his principles used at FC Dallas remains to be seen. If he does, then expect to see a Quakes side that’ll attempt to keep the ball and play through midfield, but also push the full-backs high to create width. The Quakes could also attempt more of a 3-4-1-2 shape when things get tough, with the most advanced three likely faster options who can play on the break.

What we’re almost certain of is there will be a lot of young players. FC Dallas is the biggest talent factory in the United States and not only was Gonzalez unafraid to use it, but he was also a big part of making it so.

The Quakes are producing some exciting players now, too, so expect Gonzalez to give them lots of chances.

San Jose Earthquakes predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Daniel; Akapo, Mensah, Rodrigues, Trauco; Gruezo, Yueill; Espinoza, Monteiro, Cowell; Ebobisse.

Cowell has a big year ahead of him.

Cowell has a big year ahead of him. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Cade Cowell

Last season, Jeremy Ebobisse was in excellent form, scoring 17 goals across the regular season. The problem was he needed help and ended up being the only Quakes player to hit double figures or score more than six non-penalty goals.

Help this season must come in the form of Cade Cowell. Still only, 19, the forward is an incredible talent – one of the most exciting in MLS – and already, European clubs are lining up to show their interest.

Despite some exciting performances, Cowell only turned in three goals and three assists in 31 MLS appearances last season, though he did score another two in three US Open Cup games. That tally needs to improve both for his own future prospects and the Quakes’ immediate chances of success.

One thing for certain is he has the talent for it.

As two-time champions, the Quakes have sat in the shadows for far too long, failing to make the MLS Cup Playoffs in 11 of their last 15 seasons. That’s an unacceptable record for a club with their history.

The appointment of Gonzalez comes with risks attached, but his belief in youth development and the sort of soccer he can produce when he gets it right could bring in a new era for this organization.

It won’t bear fruit this season, however. There’s just too much surgery needed on that roster for one window. Some more patience is required from Quakes supporters for now.

Will the San Jose Earthquakes qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs? No