With the 2017 season officially in the books, the San Jose Earthquakes have plenty to be proud of on and off the field. A trip to the postseason for the first time in five years and a spot in the U.S. Open Cup semis for the first time since 2004 highlight the calendar year.
Let’s takes a look at how individuals on the team fared this year and how they impacted the club.
When the Earthquakes’ open Designated Player slot wasn’t filled during the offseason, anticipation grew that it would be during the secondary window in the summer.
Vako was signed on June 22 to great fanfare. A member of the Georgia National Team, the 24-year-old had a terrific highlight tape and résumé that fueled the excitement of his arrival. It didn’t take him long to make his mark on the stat sheet, scoring 33 minutes into his debut against the New York Red Bulls as a halftime sub.
Vako ultimately finished the season with five goals and two assists in 784 minutes spread across 13 appearances (eight starts). His offensive production helped pave the way for the club’s first postseason berth since 2012 with the Quakes going 4-2-2 in his eight starts down the stretch. He even scored one of the team’s most important goals of the seasons, a 77th-minute equalizer at then first place Vancouver, allowing the team to control their own destiny on Decision Day.
He also featured in the team’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal match against Sporting Kansas City, playing all 120 minutes and burying his attempt when the contest went to penalties.