Reno 1868 Season Preview for Earthquakes Fans

2017 will be the first year that the San Jose Earthquakes have full control of the technical side of a United Soccer League club. This relationship will provide more young players opportunities in the Earthquakes organization. Homegrown players and SuperDraft signees will immediately have access to significant first team minutes, and the opportunity to develop as players under head coach Ian Russell.

Russell played six seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes, helping them to two MLS Cup Titles (2001 and 2003) and a Supporters Shield (2005), and has also been a part of the organization as an assistant coach since the team’s re-entry to the league in 2008. He will likely work very closely with Earthquakes technical director Chris Leitch on developing the organizations young and most promising talents.

Quakes Players on Loan

The four Quakes players you will frequently see on loan with Reno are Kip Colvey, Jackson Yueill, Matheus Silva, and Lindo Mfeka. Tommy Thompson played 803 minutes in 11 games with the Earthquakes former USL affiliate Sacramento Republic FC, and his game has visibly improved at the MLS level this year. Kip Colvey also spent significant time with Sacramento last year, playing 414 minutes in 6 matches, and Matheus Silva played for Frank Yallop’s Arizona United SC, tallying 606 minutes in 9 games played, mostly at the left back position.

Colvey has had a lot of success with the New Zealand National Team, helping them to an OFC Nations Cup championship in June of 2016. Although he was only 22 years old at the time, Quakes fans got a chance to get a good glimpse of him early in his rookie season when starting LB Shaun Francis was injured. He looks solid offensively and can play on the left and right side, but had a bit of trouble on the defensive side of things at the MLS level. However, nervous defending is not uncommon seeing as it was his first year, and more time in USL and playing in friendlies will give him the opportunity to develop into a better player. He is not quite the prospect Nick Lima is, but still a promising young player at a position the Quakes need some depth at.

Quakes fans have also gotten a glimpse at Matheus Silva. The 20 year old Brazilian was signed through on waivers in the summer of 2015 when he was just 18 years old, and he is one of the most technically gifted players on the team. Silva is also an athletic and versatile, standing at 6’2” and 198 pounds. He has played central midfield for the Quakes against Seattle in 2016, center back against Portland in the 2016 US Open Cup, and frequently at left back on loan in USL. He is very good with the ball at his feet in close quarters, in some ways similar to Anibal Godoy. He can also play a long pass on a dime, but he is a bit slow and not as defensively sound as Godoy and Alashe are.

Jackson Yueill was selected in the first round of the MLS Draft, and club sources have told me that new GM Jesse Fioranelli was very high on the UCLA central midfielder. Yueill is an attack-minded player that has the ability to slot the perfect final pass. In many ways he is similar Stuart Holden and Sacha Kljestan, although he is not quite as defensively sound as they are or were. At just 19 years old, Yueill has plenty of time to add the defensive side to his game.

The last Quakes player to keep an eye out for is Lindo Mfeka, who they selected in the second round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Mfeka, like Yueill, is another talented attacking player. He is crafty with the ball at his feet and and also has a knack for finding the back of the net.

Other Players

One other players that Quakes fans may want to keep an eye on are El Salvador national team player Junior Burgos. The 28 year old grew up in San Bruno, CA and went to school at San Jose State and Cal Poly. He was actually the second signing in Atlanta United’s history, but he was loaned out to the Tampa Bay Rowdies and eventually waived, which is how he ended up signing with Reno. Burgos played and scored the loan goal in El Salvador’s 1-0 victory earlier this week.

A trialist that the club was unfortunately unable to sign was Dario Meadows, an 18 year old AS Roma player that is currently on loan with Leeds United. /u/SomeCruzDude on reddit gave a pretty good summary of the player, and this snippet from an interview is a great sign for Reno. If they can continue attract young players like this, they will bet in great shape.

Anay Patel

I have been a lifelong Quakes fan, and founded Quakes Epicenter in November of 2014. I have been credentialed to cover the Quakes since the 2015 season, and currently serves as the lead editor of the website. Outside of the Quakes, I am currently a student at the University of Southern California studying Computer Science and Business Administration.

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