TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
The San Jose Earthquakes have brought Carlos Gruezo back to MLS, announcing Tuesday they’ve acquired the Ecuador international midfielder from German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg.
The 27-year-old’s deal runs through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026. He'll be a Designated Player for San Jose, a roster status that Cape Verde international midfielder Jamiro Monteiro and Argentine winger Cristian Espinoza held last year.
Gruezo is San Jose’s second major addition this offseason (alongside Brazilian goalkeeper Daniel), and he's reunited with head coach Luchi Gonzalez after they worked together for half a season at FC Dallas. He holds a US Green Card and won't occupy an international roster slot.
"Carlos joins us in the prime of his career after successful campaigns in South America, Major League Soccer, and Europe," Earthquakes general manager Chris Leitch said in a release. "He’s spent the past few seasons in one of the top leagues in the world and previously showed he can be among the best players at his position in MLS."
Gruezo had three goals and seven assists in 98 games for FC Dallas from 2016-19, then was transferred that final summer to Augsburg for a reported initial $4.5 million (with incentives). He was part of FCD’s squad that won both Supporters’ Shield and US Open Cup titles in 2016 under now-Orlando City SC head coach Oscar Pareja.
Gruezo, from stints with Augsburg and VfB Stuttgart, arrives with 87 games of Bundesliga experience. His pro career began early last decade in his native Ecuador for Barcelona SC and Independiente del Valle.
"Obviously I know Carlos from his time in Dallas. I had a good relationship with him but only had a chance to work with him for a few months because he was transferred to Germany," Gonzalez said in a release.
"I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a hard worker and has the obvious tools in terms of ball recovery and intensity. To me, it’s a position we need competition, we need leadership, and we need experience. With his signing, I think we have a midfield that can compete with the best in the league."
The deep-lying midfielder brings extensive international experience, playing 47 times for La Tri and scoring once. He was part of Ecuador's 2014 and 2022 FIFA World Cup squads, plus has played in three different Copa América tournaments.
Gruezo could form a midfield trio alongside Monteiro and former US international Jackson Yueill. They’d complement an attacking trio that includes Espinoza, Cade Cowell and Jeremy Ebobisse as standouts.
The Earthquakes open their 2023 campaign on Feb. 25 when visiting Atlanta United (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass), chasing an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs return after finishing bottom of the Western Conference table last season.
Real Salt Lake co-owner David Blitzer is also an owner of FC Augsburg, Gruezo's former club. They're also the parent club of FC Dallas homegrown product and US men's national team striker Ricardo Pepi, who's on loan at Eredivisie club FC Groningen.
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