Hoesen earned his first MLS start in Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw at the New England Revolution, giving the Earthquakes faithful an extended glance into why their front office showed such confidence in the Dutchman.
Hoesen, who had previously accumulated 95 minutes in six substitute appearances, struck the post in the 23rd minute after a cross from Jahmir Hyka. It was the closest the former Ajax and Fulham FC man would come to finding net, but he still drew rave reviews from his teammates.
“You can see in training that he’s a really great player,” Marco Ureña, who subbed on for Hoesen in the 69th minute, said. “You can see he gets a chance, he keeps the ball, he stretches the field, so he did a lot of good things in the game.”
Added San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear: "I thought he got better as the game went on. … You could tell he’s bulling himself into the game, and he did well for us.”
Playing catchup in fitness terms since suffering a preseason injury, the 26-year-old has faced an uphill battle to break up Kinnear’s preferred striker partnership of Ureña and Chris Wondolowski. The duo has combined for three goals and four assists, but Hoesen has also left his mark.
He assisted on San Jose’s lone tally in a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on March 18, so this start, in many ways, was another building block. Still, Hoesen left the match wanting more from himself and the group.
“There’s a lot more within the team,” Hoesen said. “We showed some good stuff, but also some not so good. There’s still room for improvement. You see we had the quality today, where there’s good chances as well. Of course they had some chances, but we had some good chances.”
Part of that growth for Hoesen will be continuing to acclimate to his new league. The talent is certainly there, as Hoesen has played in five UEFA Champions League matches, nabbing goals against Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona.
The key, he said, is taking his game to new heights.
“I think I just need to come into a rhythm,” Hoesen said. “The more you play, the better you feel, the stronger you get, the more runs you can do. If you play more, you get more confidence. Today I think I was unlucky with the ball on the post, but I need to get my minutes and hopefully I get better and better.”
And, perhaps above all, Hoesen said the Quakes have helped him find his way in MLS, with the league surpassing his early expectations.
“Everyone tries to help you and make it easy for you,” he said. “I’m surprised about the level in MLS, with some good players and some good teams. I think it’s fun to play in this league.”