With the offseason in full swing, sjearthquakes.com sat down with Quakes interim general manager Chris Leitch about the club’s vision for the busy months ahead.
sjearthquakes.com: After a frustrating season, what do you think prevented the club from reaching the playoffs?
Chris Leitch: “For me, MLS is a league based on parity so you have a lot of teams that are separated by not a big difference. If you look at us, obviously, from a goals-against perspective, we were pretty strong there, but also when you look at our goals scored, it was a weakness. Had we scored some more goals with the chances that we created, I think we would have won more games and obviously it would be nice to create even more chances than what we did.”
SJEQ: The coaching staff and various leaders on the team have repeatedly said they feel the Quakes have a good core group of players. Would you agree and what do you like most about the current roster?
Leitch: “We have a good core group of players, with a very young and promising goalkeeper in David Bingham at the back of our team, and at the front, one of the most prolific goal scorers over the past seven years in Major League Soccer. Simon Dawkins has provided success in the past with us. Him coming back this year in his second stint, obviously he is a very good player. Sprinkle in there a couple of international guys that are proven and a few young up-and-comers and there is your core of guys that we are looking to grow around so we can ensure that we have success moving into next year.”
SJEQ: What would you assess as the biggest needs for the club heading in the 2017 season?
Leitch: “We always need goals. We always need attacking players so that is a pretty big target. Obviously we’re getting a bit older along the back line so we need to address that issue. We are not leaving one stone unturned as far as looking at each part of the field and how we are going to address those issues.”