Surprise! San Jose Earthquakes Control Playoff Destiny In Finale

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San Jose Earthquakes
SAN JOSE, CA- The San Jose Earthquakes celebrate a home win with their fans at the end of the match. MANDATORY CREDIT-Dan Burkhead

San Jose, Calif. (October 17, 2017) – The San Jose Earthquakes have the longest standing post-season absence of any active MLS franchise. That can change on MLS Decision Day 2017. After a trying time and adjustment period under new Head Coach, Chris Leitch, the San Jose Earthquakes just need a win at home to clinch a postseason spot.

San Jose Earthquakes Surprise! ‘Quakes Control Playoff Destiny In Season Finale

If you were to isolate the result in Vancouver, it was a good one for the Quakes. Throw in the context of where they were in the standings heading into the day, it might have been a bad result. But now with the full picture after the final whistles blew across the Western Conference action on Sunday night, the result is perfect.

“To be honest, to a man we’re a bit disappointed coming off with a tie. And then we saw the other results, and we’ll take it. It’s kind of a funny thing,” said ‘Quakes captain, Chris Wondolowski

The San Jose Earthquakes draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps has put them in control of their playoff destiny. A win, and they are in. It would be their first MLS Cup Playoff berth since they won the Supporters shield in 2012.

In 2013 and 2015 they finished a spot below the playoff line. In 2013 they were actually tied on points with Colorado. They also shared the same amount of wins, moving them on to the second tie-breaker. Colorado’s goal difference was 14 goals better than the Earthquakes, dropping them on down to sixth.

In 2015, they had a chance on the final day, especially with results going their way. But a stupid straight red-card to Matias Perez Garcia helped lead to a loss against FC Dallas on Decision Day.

San Jose Earthquakes supporters have been long-suffering. The original franchise up and left San Jose for Houston, after a supporter’s shield winning season. They then went on to win two consecutive MLS Cups with virtually the same exact roster. Then when the Earthquakes returned in 2009, it took them two seasons to make the playoffs. When they did, they made it all the way to the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals (yeah, MLS playoffs used to be really funky), losing in extra time to the Colorado Rapids, who went on to win the 2010 MLS Cup.

In 2012 they won the supporters shield, and got bounced in the first round after winning the first away leg against the LA Galaxy. The LA Galaxy went on to win MLS Cup that year. All of the above, has slowly built up frustration within the die-hard supporters.

The ‘Quakes had begun to be reminded of that frustration. After a devastating 4-0 loss to the Chicago Fire a few weeks back, the fans let them have it. Boo-birds while coming off the field, vitriol on social media, and within the reporting media itself. It wasn’t enough. With the playoffs on the line, the Quakes laid an egg at home, only their second home loss of the season.

Then came the story of the “family dinner” the night before a resounding 2-1 win against a full strength Portland squad. Up next on the docket was first place Vancouver Whitecaps, on the road. The San Jose Earthquakes had largely been miserable on the road in 2017, but especially since Chris Leitch took over. The Earthquakes were a whopping 1-7-0 with a -21 goal differential on the road since Leitch took over. But they went into Vancouver with their backs against the wall and outshot, out-possessed, and frankly outplayed the first place team in the Western Conference.

Dallas’ free-fall has certainly helped, and having Colorado hosting RSL in a rocky-mountain cup match at the same time certainly helped as well. Now, the Earthquakes are in control of their own destiny. It doesn’t matter how, just as long as they win on Sunday, they’ll be in the postseason.

Most ‘Quakes fans don’t have an accurate answer for how they got here, but all that matters is that they are there. One last performance at home can get them into the postseason. Chris Leitch thinks his men are up for it. “They want this challenge, they want this opportunity. They want to have it in their hands, and I think these are the games these guys definitely look forward to playing in.”

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