San Jose Earthquakes part ways with Luchi Gonzalez

Luchi Gonzalez - San Jose Earthquakes

The San Jose Earthquakes have parted ways with head coach Luchi Gonzalez, the club announced Monday.

Assistant Ian Russell will lead the club on an interim basis while a head coach search unfolds. Fellow assistant coaches Steve Ralston, Luciano Fusco and Adin Brown will remain in their current roles.

"We want to thank Luchi for his hard work, commitment to the club and professionalism," general manager Chris Leitch said in a release.

"Luchi and his staff have worked extremely hard the past year and a half, but we have not met expectations this year as a club. We felt that we needed to make a change, and it was in the best interests of the club to move in a different direction."

Gonzalez's tenure

Gonzalez departs with the Earthquakes last in the Western Conference and overall MLS standings on 11 points (3W-14L-2D record), amid a seven-match winless streak. San Jose's 51 goals against and negative-22 goal differential are league-worst marks.

Gonzalez led San Jose to the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs as a No. 9 seed during his first season at the helm. They lost the Wild Card match to Sporting Kansas City.

"I want to thank ownership, leadership and our fans for the opportunity and the support they gave me during my time managing the Earthquakes," said Gonzalez, who previously coached FC Dallas (2018-21) and was a US men's national team assistant to Gregg Berhalter.

"I am very grateful to all the staff and players who worked hard every day to improve our situation and wish them the very best moving forward. I plan to take some time with my family to reflect and prepare for the next step in my journey."

What's next?

Russell takes over interim duties for the second time after a brief, two-match stint in 2014. A two-time MLS Cup winner (2001, '03) as a player for the Quakes, the 48-year-old has been an assistant coach for parts of 11 seasons with San Jose, including the last year and a half.

Russell also coached the club's then-USL Championship affiliate side, Reno 1868 FC, between 2017-20, earning USL Co-Coach of the Year honors in 2020.

"Ian is a very experienced coach who knows our club better than anyone," said Leitch. "He had a great run as head coach at Reno for four years, winning a lot of games and making the playoffs every season. We’re confident that he’s ready to lead us."

Russell's second interim stint in San Jose begins with Saturday night's Cali Clásico against the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). The club's three Designated Players are Carlos Gruezo, Hernán López and Cristian Espinoza.