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Were the Quakes Just Lucky?

Goal Celebration

Goal CelebrationThe San Jose Earthquakes scored yet another game-winning goal in stoppage time against the Los Angeles Galaxy on the first leg of the first round of playoffs last week. The goal came off of a free kick well outside the penalty area that glanced off the wall and snuck under the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms. While this feat is pretty extraordinary considering the timing and who struck it (Central defender, Bernardez), it is nothing new to this Quakes team this season. With the fitting slogan of “Quakes never say die,” were they really this good or did they just catch lucky breaks?

The Earthquakes had not lost a game to the LA Galaxy this season until their second playoff game and had three come-from-behind wins, including the game one playoff game. The league could not have planned this as it is assuredly the exact opposite of what they would like to see. A small market MLS team that plays in a 10,500+ stadium beating up on the defending champions Galaxy does not improve its ratings. It does, however, grow the rabid fan base of San Jose and the Bay Area. Beating the Galaxy would be akin to the Warriors defeating the Lakers in the opening playoff round or the Oakland A’s crushing the Yankees to go on to the American League Championship. This is a big deal and should have garnered more attention in the Bay Area sports world.

As for being lucky, it is hard to imagine the team constantly winning or tying games very late and attributing that only to luck. Boasting three top forwards in Lenhart, Wondolowski and Gordon certainly help things as well. This season was a very special season for our Quakes and it was very sad to see it come to such an abrupt end. The good news for fans is that most of the team will be intact next season. The bad news is that MLS has taken notice of them and teams will most likely not be surprised anymore. But will the late goal scoring continue next season?

This season, the San Jose Earthquakes were this highest scoring team in the league, owned the best home record in the league, won the most points in the league (which garnished them with the Supporter’s Shield) and boasted Bay Area native, Chris Wondolowski, the golden boot winner who tied the MLS record for most goals in a season with 27. This team is exciting and fun to watch since they never seem to lose. If you ever went to a game this season, you knew not to leave early as that is when the excitement always happens. The playoffs were no different and it’s too bad they were eliminated so quickly as I was certain they would be in the running for the MLS Cup. Even game two against the Galaxy came down to the wire! If you liked torture baseball watching the Giants, then you would love the Never-Say-Die Quakes.

I went to the viewing party for the first leg against LA at San Pedro Market was absolutely packed. It was awesome being in that atmosphere where the crowd started chanting “change the channel” to turn off the Sunday Night Football game in order for more TVs to have the Quakes on. That was a first for me to see that happen anywhere in the states. Also, the first 200 people got blue wigs in support of Lenhart and his crazy hair. It was a great showing and awesome event, made me happy the Quakes organization put it on. Next year will be the last season played at Buck Shaw Stadium with the new stadium currently underway, so be sure to get out there next year to witness this amazing team and their Never-Say-Die attitude.

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