SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes have signed forward Cristian Espinoza to a new contract that will keep Espinoza as a designated player through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. The Argentine winger had a memorable month of July, first becoming San Jose’s all-time assist leader with 51 on July 12 and then playing in his first MLS All-Star Game on July 19.
“Cristian has been very productive every season with us and is regarded as one of the top players in the league, as evidenced by him earning a spot on the All-Star team this year,” said Earthquakes General Manager Chris Leitch. “He has an elite ability to create chances for his teammates and his goal production has increased every season. Cristian is also an incredible leader for this team both on the field and in our community. We are excited to have Cristian continue his career in San Jose.”
Espinoza, 28, has tallied 26 goals and a record-breaking 51 assists in 142 regular season appearances (136 starts) for the Earthquakes since arriving in 2019. He also leads the club in corner kicks (501) and is top three for shots (313) and game-winning goals (11) during that time. In every full 34 game MLS season since he came to San Jose, he has appeared in over 30 matches and played over 2000 minutes.
“I really love the Earthquakes. This is where I find happiness on the field and I’m really excited to help the club make the next steps forward,” said Espinoza. “My family is really comfortable here, my kids were born here, I really feel like San Jose is a part of me and I’m really happy here. I feel at home.”
This season, Espinoza leads MLS in successful crosses (66) and key passes (57), is fourth in goals scored (11) and tied for fourth in goal contributions (18). He has been named to the Team of the Matchday six times this year and was MLS Player of the Month for April when he scored 5 goals and had 1 assist. Espinoza was selected to the 2023 MLS All-Star Roster and played 35 minutes against Arsenal this past week. He broke the club assist record with his 51st on July 12 against Seattle Sounders FC.
*San Jose played 23 regular season matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Espinoza was originally acquired from La Liga side Villarreal on a season-long loan on Jan. 2, 2019, before transferring permanently on Dec. 11, 2019. Since then, he has established himself as one of the top attacking players in MLS. In 2019, he finished sixth in MLS in assists (13) and tied for eighth in key passes (73). Last year, he tied for fourth in assists (14), a career high, and tied for seventh in key passes (68), while posting a career high 21 goal contributions.
The native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, previously represented his national team at the youth level, winning the 2015 U-20 South American Championship and playing in the U-20 World Cup later that year.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – Earthquakes sign F Cristian Espinoza to a new contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons with an option for 2026.