Oakland Roots re-sign Emrah Klimenta

Oakland Roots announced on Christmas day that they have re-signed captain center back Emrah Klimenta to a one-year extension.

This will mark Klimenta’s third year on the team and 11th player brought back from last season, returning alongside Danny Barbir and Tarek Morad. Now the 14th player set for 2023, the roster is now about 60 percent complete. The full list of players includes:

  1. Emrah Klimenta
  2. Tarek Morad
  3. Johnny Rodriguez
  4. Darek Formella
  5. Lindo Mfeka
  6. Danny Barbir
  7. Wolfgang Prentice
  8. Paul Blanchette
  9. Memo Diaz
  10. Taylor Bailey
  11. Edgardo Rito
  12. Ryan Her
  13. Napo Matsoso
  14. Trayvone Reid

Klimenta, 31, appeared in 25 matches last season and started 20 times for a total of 1,875 minutes. He recorded two goals, one assist, 33 interceptions, and 21 tackles.

Klimenta’s career began in 2009 with Slovakia’s MŠK Žilina and Germany’s FC Ingolstadt 04 before joining Cal Poly University the following year. He signed with the Bay Area Ambassadors of the NPSL in 2011 and later joined the Sacramento Republic in 2014 after trying out for the team.

He played from 2014-2017 with Sacramento, finishing his time as the organization’s all-time leader in minutes, starts, and appearances. The Republic won the USL Championship in his first year at the club. After a brief stint with the LA Galaxy, he returned to Sacramento for the remainder of 2018.

Klimenta made 18 appearances for Reno 1868 in 2019 and 12 caps for San Diego Loyal the following season, where he played alongside Morad. In 2021, he signed four games into Roots’ season and eventually became their most active player with 2,359 minutes and 26 starts. He went onto earn the club’s Player of the Year award.

Although Klimenta marks three of four center backs to come back, the blog has been told that they might not be done at the position–so it will be interesting to see if Roots have their eyes on a depth addition or a player capable of earning a starting spot.

With 14 players, Oakland can start deploying some lineup ideas, albeit many more moves should still be in the cards. So what could some of them look like?

Should Roots return to a similar 3-4-3 system to last season, here’s how things might look like. It’s worth mentioning that we’ve received no word that Trayvone Reid will line up on the right wing, but he was very effective on the wing in Jamaica and could have more speed than Lindo Mfeka, so I’m putting him there. Morad replaced Alejandro Fuenmayor as the middle center back in this take.

Above is my take on a more traditional 4-3-3 system. In this case, one of Barbir, Morad, or Emrah would have to be on the bench. I have Napo Matsoso as the CDM and Mfeka/Wolfgang Prentice in a double-pivot. In the end, I can see Mfeka playing in something more similar to a 10-role next season. Again, Reid at right wing.

Above is a 4-4-2 diamond formation that I got some inspiration from our guy Peter Bloom on. Prentice and Reid would play more tight to the center to allow Rito and Memo to move up in the attack. Again, one of the three center backs would have to be moved to the bench in this case. Darek Formella has experience in the center forward role, so moving him more centrally up the field could make sense.

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