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San Jose Earthquakes hire former Chivas coach Matias Almeyda as new manager

Sebastian Salazar explains the importance of the San Jose Earthquakes' adding a head coach with the pedigree of Matías Almeyda.

The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Monday that former Chivas Guadalajara boss Matias Almeyda would take over as the team's new manager at the start of next season.

Almeyda, 44, will not begin managing the team until the start of the 2019 season with current interim manager Steve Ralston set to oversee the final two games of San Jose's 2018 campaign. The Quakes are already eliminated from the MLS postseason. 

Almeyda took over Chivas in Sept. 2015 when the club was still in relegation trouble and immediately vowed to "awaken the giant."

The former River Plate and Lazio midfielder, who went on to lift the 2017 Clausura Liga MX title, win two Copa MXs, the Supercopa MX and the CONCACAF Champions League with Chivas, became wildly popular with fans, who were devastated when he left the club last June.

"What we saw in Matias was a coach that brought success by creating a culture we strive to emulate," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "He has demonstrated leadership qualities in Argentina with River Plate and Banfield, as well as in Mexico with Chivas.

"He has always had a winning mentality, both as a player and a coach, and most importantly, he is someone that knows how to redirect a team in a difficult situation with a commitment to a distinct style of play and youth development."

San Jose has the fewest points (20) and wins (4) of any team in MLS and has conceded a league-high 69 goals this season.

Almeyda was expected to be the frontrunner for the vacant Mexico national team job and expressed his interest, although the federation never appeared to reciprocate it.

The former Argentina international, who made 35 appearances for La Albiceleste, had said he wanted to manage a national team and had been linked with Costa Rica. He also said he had been in contact with Leeds United before Marcelo Bielsa took over the Championship front-runners.

Almeyda becomes the third Argentine to be named coach of an MLS franchise, joining current Atlanta United manager Tata Martino and Carlos Cordoba, who coached the Miami Fusion in 1998.

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