San Jose Earthquakes Summon Goonie Magic Once Again

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San Jose Earthquakes
October 22, 2017-San Jose, Calif. Chris Wondolowski (Left) and Shea Salinas (Right) celebrate clinching a berth in the 2017 Audi MLS Playoffs after beating Minnesota United FC 3-2 MANDATORY CREDIT: Daniel Burkhead

Editorial (October 22, 2017)- The San Jose Earthquakes are in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They used a whole lot of goonie magic then, and they summoned it when they needed it most Sunday afternoon.

San Jose Earthquakes Summon Goonie Magic Once Again

The 2012 San Jose Earthquakes were the kings of stoppage time goals, comebacks, and wins. When the spotlight shines brightest, they get their goals in “goonie fashion.” Sunday was just another moment in that folklore. While the roster still experiences turnover, they still get their moments. Today just might have been one of the best ones.

In the beginning of the Earthquakes 2012 season, San Jose were down 2-0, 75 minutes into a Cali Classico on the road. Alan Gordon had scored a few stoppage time equalizers in their previous two matches. San Jose bagged three goals to get the comeback win. In the locker-room after the match, Steven Lenhart invoked the phrase “Goonies never say die.” That became that team’s moniker. The Goonies.

That 2012 team went on to bag 9 goals in the 90th minute or later, five of those were game winning goals. After the 2012 season those moments dried up a bit. After all, it’s incredibly hard to continue to leave it late. But there are still plenty of great “goonie” moments that have popped up.

In 2013, the “ALAN GORDON GOAL” was incredible. Bedlam ensued at Stanford Stadium.

There were a few goonie moments early in the 2017 season. Late draws against Seattle and FC Dallas provided that feel a little bit. A late winner in the US Open Cup against Seattle got the ball rolling a bit. Of course, the Cali Classico at Stanford provided yet another late winner, courtesy of super-sub Shea Salinas. But today’s was different.

Today’s euphoric finish from Marco Ureña will go down in ‘Quakes folklore. Of course their run to the postseason wouldn’t have been made possible without the self-inflicted futility of both FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. But that moment will live on in ‘Quakes lore for a long time. The longest standing absence from the playoffs no longer belongs to the ‘Quakes. It’s in the hands of an expansion team down in Central Florida.

‘Quakes fans couldn’t believe themselves when they ended up in control of their own playoff destiny after the penultimate weekend of MLS play. They almost bottled it though, twice. FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake had done everything they could in case of slip-ups elsewhere. But with pressure breathing down their necks, the Earthquakes pulled themselves out of a difficult situation twice.

After the early Danny Hoesen goal, it felt like they’d go on in a route. Then when Wondo scored, it felt like they’d be able to comfortably see it out. Confidence turned to horror as the ball somehow got into the ‘Quakes net late into the final ten minutes. Five minutes of stoppage time were added, and it was going to take a goonie-esque finish for them to get into the postseason. It took two of the original goonies to make it happen. First was Victor Bernardez, who headed the ball on to Quincy Amarikwa. The second, well, who else other than Chris Wondolowski.

When you say Wondo’s name within US Soccer circles, it ilicits two reactions. A whole lot of talking about Belgium three years ago, and a whole lot of disgust. Nobody talks about how Wondo has single-handedly been the life blood of a rather futile franchise for the last 8 years. Nobody talks about the second highest goalscorer in MLS history.

Wondo already had his goal, and this time, when it was on the line, pressure packed, in stoppage time, Wondo did something different from the other 134 results ‘Quakes fans had become accustomed to. Instead of goal 135, we got assist number 34. Another Goonie moment for the Earthquakes. Another moment to go down in ‘Quakes folklore. They still have work to do. While the playoffs are a bonus past mosts expectations of them, the Earthquakes aren’t going to go away yet. They aren’t ready to say die.

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