The San Jose Earthquakes celebrate a goal by Simon Dawkins against Real Salt Lake during the second half of a MLS soccer game in San Jose, Saturday, April 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press / SF

Top 10 Bay Area Sports Stories of 2012: No. 8 - Quakes' Magical Season

This is No. 8 on Golden Gate Sports’ list of the Top 10 Bay Area Sports Stories of 2012. For a quick reminder, please read No. 9.

Hidden in the shadows of other major sports’ franchises in Bay Area, not many have paid attention to the San Jose Earthquakes since their expansion season in 2008.

Hopefully, their magical 2012 season, which saw them finish with the best record and most points in MLS, will gain some more supporters.

Frank Yallop was named coach of the year and striker Chris Wondolowski claimed the Golden Boot award with a record-tying 27 goals, along with the MVP award.

The 2012 season was characterized for the Quakes ability to score timely, last-minute goals.

The phrase “Goonies never say die” was born when the Quakes scored 13 tying or winning goals in the 82nd minute or later, and set a record with 10 goals in stoppage time.

With this team, it just seemed like something magical would happen late in the game if they were trailing or tied. Who can forget their dramatic comeback on May 23 on the road against David Beckham and the Galaxy, when they scored three unanswered goals in the last 20 minutes to play to beat LA 3-2?

I was at Buckshaw Stadium on July 28, when they earned a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire with a goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time. The Fire had played an amazing defensive game, denying the Quakes’ every opportunity to score. After the referee failed to call a handball by the Fire in the area late in stoppage time, the crowd started to throw trash onto the field, and all hope seemed lost. But, wouldn’t you know it, with time running out, the ball found the foot of Stephen Lenhart whose shot from 18-feet away found the back of the net. Pandemonium ensued, and the Quakes preserved a tie in miraculous fashion.

That was just a couple of examples of how magical and improbable the Earthquakes’ 2012 campaign really was. The future looks extremely bright, as construction crews are building an 18,000-seat stadium near San Jose International Airport that is set to open in 2014.

Stay tuned as we continue our countdown on December 20 with No. 7 on our Top 10 Bay Area Sports Stories of 2012.


Tags: San Jose Earthquakes

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