San Jose Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda believes the image of MLS is changing and that the league is becoming increasingly attractive for top younger players.
The Argentine is a recent arrival in MLS and thinks the notion of it being a “retirement league” is outdated.
“Obviously it’s projected that from now into the future [the league] gets better, but I see a big change with respect to incoming players,” said Almeyda in an interview with ESPN. “Now young players are coming, whereas before older players that were practically retired came.
“A lot of coaches from different parts of the world [are coming to MLS] and I believe this league is getting good.”
Almeyda’s Earthquakes began the season with significant expectations and intrigue about whether the Argentine could turn around the worst team in MLS in 2018, but they have lost their opening two games.
The former River Plate midfielder doesn’t believe his side is doomed to remain close to the bottom of the table and hasn’t seen an early title favorite in MLS after two rounds of games this season.
“This league has something quite unusual, which is that today you don’t know which [team] is the favorite [to win the title],” stated Almeyda. “While there are teams that are made up of prestigious players with good coaches, no team in these two games has been really seen to stand out or look like a favorite.”
Almeyda said that the league’s organization and structure caught his eye early on in his stint as head coach. He is hoping to bring in a Mexican player to the Earthquakes, with attempts to sign Chivas winger Isaac Brizuela thwarted during the offseason.
“[Brizuela] costs a lot of money and we couldn’t match the price,” said Almeyda, who confirmed he has a four-year contract with the MLS club.
Almeyda plans to watch former club Chivas in its Copa MX game against Club America on Wednesday as just “another fan” of the Guadalajara club and stated his desire for the team to do well.
The Earthquakes travel to face New York Red Bulls on Saturday looking for their first points of the 2019 campaign.