San Jose Earthquakes
1996: On April 6th, 31,683 fans filled into Spartan Stadium to watch the birth of Major League Soccer as the Clash played host to DC United. The game was kept scoreless until the Clash’s Eric Wynalda scored late to send the crowd wild and give his team the first-ever victory in MLS. San Jose’s stars included Wynalda, Dave Salzwedel, Missael Espinoza, and coach Laurie Calloway. The Clash would perform well in their first season, finishing at 15-17 and earning the last playoff spot in the West. The playoffs, though, would be short as they were beaten in three games by their California counterparts, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
1997: The Clash hoped to carry the momentum into their second year, and had big things in mind. But instead of carrying over the momentum, there would be a hangover as the Clash fell to the bottom of MLS with a record of 12-20.
1998: Under new coach, Brian Quinn, the Clash would fare no better as they missed the playoffs by four points with a record of 13-19.
1999: Brian Quinn would resign in the middle of the season and be replaced by Jorge Espinoza. Under Espinoza, the Clash would improve a great deal and finish with a solid record of 19-13. Typically, this would be good enough to land a high spot in the playoffs, but with a strong Western Conference, the Clash would not qualify. In the offseason, the team changed their look and identity to “Earthquakes” to make themselves more familiar with the Bay Area.
2000: The Earthquakes would have no spark under new coach Lothar Osiander and finish in dead last in MLS with an embarrassing record of 7-17-8. Osiander would step down and would be replaced by Frank Yallop following the season.
2001: Spurred by the acquisition of Landon Donovan, the Quakes would become a much stronger team. Donovan would steal the show in the All-Star game in San Jose, capturing MVP honors. The Earthquakes would easily make their first playoff appearance in five years with their first winning record of 13-7-6. They could have had a chance to win the West, sitting only two points behind the LA Galaxy. But the September 11th attacks canceled the final two weeks, and the Quakes were seeded fifth. In the playoffs, the Quakes would dispatch the Columbus Crew, six points to nil. In the next round, they would hold off a challenge from the Miami Fusion, before Troy Dayak sent the Quakes to MLS Cup for the first time with a series-tiebreaking goal.
2001 MLS Cup: In an all-California match, the Earthquakes faced the Los Angeles Galaxy at Columbus Crew Stadium in the capital of Ohio. The Galaxy would have the upper hand in experience, having been to this game twice before, but the Quakes knew the Galaxy’s play well, coming from their division. The team from Southern California grabbed the lead first on a breakaway goal by Mexican star Luis Hernandez in the 21st minute. That seemed to be the killer for the team from Northern California as they had not won a game all season when allowing the first goal. But Landon Donovan was determined to help the Earthquakes snap that trend as he scored a goal from outside the box in the 43rd minute. The game would go scoreless the rest of the way, and overtime would be needed to settle the matter. Six minutes into the extra session, San Jose substitute and Canadian International Dwayne DeRosario took a long pass and dribbled between LA’s Danny Califf, took a shot that found its way through two LA defenders, ‘keeper Kevin Hartman’s fingertips, the far post and into the net, and the Quakes won the Cup. DeRosario would be named Cup MVP for the goal.
2002: A surprise championship put a new professional sports team on the Bay Area map as the Earthquakes defended their championship well. Landon Donovan continued to prove he belongs in MLS with another solid season, helping his team to second place in the West with a 14-11-3 record. In the playoffs as the 4th seed, the Quakes would be swept as the Columbus Crew exacted revenge on them for the previous year.
2003: Not fazed by the playoff disappointment, the Earthquakes would roll to another great season. Despite the loss of goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who left to play in Europe, Pat Onstad helped the Quakes to their first regular-season conference championship with a solid record of 14-7-9. The playoffs would see the Earthquakes fall behind in their aggregate goal series with the LA Galaxy. By halftime of their second game, the Quakes trailed the game 2-0 and the series four goals to nil. But like magic, they scored four unanswered goals, and Rodrigo Faria scored a series tiebreaking goal to miraculously propel the Earthquakes to the Western Conference Final against the Kansas City Wizards. In that game, the Quakes fell behind twice and battled back to force overtime. The Wizards and Earthquakes would then battle deep into the night until Landon Donovan scored a goal in the 117th minute to advance to MLS Cup for the second time in three years.
2003 MLS Cup: At the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, the Earthquakes would battle the Chicago Fire for the right to be Major League Soccer’s only other multiple champions, aside from DC United. The match would get off to a fast start as the Quakes’ Ronnie Ekelund scored on a free kick in the 5th minute. Landon Donovan would then give his squad insurance in the 38th minute. In the second half, the Fire’s DaMarcus Beasley cut the lead in half with a goal in the 49th minute. But a minute later, the Earthquakes’ Richard Mulrooney brought his team back to a two-goal lead. In the 54th minute, the Fire were helped by an own goal by the Quakes’ Chris Roner, the first in MLS Cup history. The Fire had a chance to tie the game with a penalty kick, but Pat Onstad would save his team by saving the kick, and in the 71st minute, Donovan put the icing on the cake with his second goal as the Earthquakes claimed their second MLS Cup in three years. Donovan earned MVP honors with his two goals.
2004: Following their second MLS Cup championship, coach Frank Yallop resigned to take the head coaching position for the Canadian National Team. A dark cloud hung over the franchise as the Earthquakes would struggle, winning only four games in the first three months, while the club’s investor/operator AEG repeatedly threatened to relocate the franchise due to lousy attendance and mediocrity. Despite the distractions, the Quakes would go through a strong summer, which would help them to a playoff berth. The Quakes entered playoffs unbeaten in the final seven on the way to a 9-10-11 record. In the aggregate goal series, the Earthquakes would put up a good fight, winning the first game over the Kansas City Wizards, 2-0. But a collapse in the second game saw them lose, 3-0 and the series three goals to two. Following the season, the Quakes would take another hit, losing Landon Donovan to his former club in Germany, Bayer Leverkusen.
2005: With an even darker cloud hanging over the franchise, the Earthquakes were surprised to learn that Landon Donovan decided to move back to MLS, but play for the Galaxy. Also, the Quakes’ front office seemed destined to relocate them with unstable revenues and always low attendance. Despite the off the field distractions, the Earthquakes would go on to put together one of the best seasons in history. After tying three of their first four games, the Earthquakes shook up MLS and dominated the league. They had an unbeaten summer and would also win all but one of their games in September. By season’s end, they found themselves on top of the league with a more than solid 18-4-10 record and 64 points. But in the playoffs, their in-state nemesis, the LA Galaxy, outscored them in their two playoff games, 4-2, and rendered their historic season for naught. On December 16th, the club announced it was moving to Houston, Texas.
But at the same time, MLS committed to a recommencement of the team in San Jose for the 2008 season. In much the same fashion as the Cleveland Browns, their name, logo, history, and colors were preserved for the new team.
2008: After two years on the sidelines, the Earthquakes returned on April 3rd losing their first game to the Los Angeles Galaxy on the road 2-0. Nine days later, they returned home with a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire. They would get their first win of the season on the road against the Colorado Rapids. Still, their first home win on May 22nd was most satisfying as they beat the defending champion Houston Dynamos, the roster that had previously been the Earthquakes before they went on hiatus. However, there would not be many other great moments as the Quakes went on to finish dead last in the MLS with a record of 8-13-9.
2009: In their second season back, the Earthquakes stumbled out of the gate, going 1-7-2 in their first ten matches and could not keep pace with the rest of the pack as they finished in last place in the West at 7-14-9.
2010: Although the team would have a mediocre year, alternating wins, losses, and ties the whole year, they played well enough to put themselves in the playoffs for the first time since rejoining the league. Several different consecutive wins during the campaign helped them to a 13-10-7 record and the final playoff spot. In the first round, the Earthquakes lost the first game to the New York Red Bulls, 1-0, but beat them soundly in the next match 3-1 to sneak by on aggregate. But their season would come to an end as Kosuke Kimura, and the Colorado Rapids 1-0 beat them in the conference final.
2011: A regression was in order for the Earthquakes as they won only one of their first seven matches and then went on a thirteen-game winless streak that lasted from June 17th to September 10th. These long stretches conspired to keep the Earthquakes out of the playoffs with a seventh-place record of 8-12-14.
2012: The Quakes started the season a house on fire, winning seven of their first nine matches and raced to the top of the league table. Chris Wondolowski’s 27 goals tied MLS’s single-season goal-scoring record, and he easily earned MVP honors. But as the season wore on, injuries would somewhat weaken the Quakes despite ending the campaign without a loss in their last nine games to finish in first in MLS at 19-6-9. The injuries would prove costly in the playoffs as they couldn’t keep up with the LA Galaxy, losing 3-2 on aggregate.
2013: Following a record-setting 2012, which saw the club score 72 goals and 66 points, the Earthquakes could not do it again as they came out of the gate, winning only three of their first fifteen matches. After Frank Yallop resigned his post, the Quakes improved and finished the year with wins in nine of their last sixteen, but it wasn’t enough to make the playoffs as they finished 14-11-9 and in sixth place.
2014: In the last year before moving to Avaya Stadium, the Earthquakes had a difficult time as a midseason coaching change brought in Dominic Kinnear, who led the club to two championships over a decade earlier. The move did the Quakes no good as they finished dead last in the West at 6-16-12. The one bright spot was World Cup stalwart Chris Wondolowski’s club leading 14 goals, even as the Quakes finished winless in their final 15 matches.
2015: After a fairly even beginning to the year, the Earthquakes stumbled hard during the summer, losing five of six games thanks in part to missing Chris Wondolowski during the CONCACAF Gold Cup. A four-game winning streak provided some hope, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Quakes ended the year 13-13-8, four points in back of Sporting Kansas City for the last playoff spot.
2016: After starting the season with two straight wins in Dominic Kinnear’s first full season back with the team, the Quakes would not have much going right for them. Chris Wondolowski scored 12 goals but was away in the summer for Copa America Centennario, and his absence along with a 1-6-4 stretch to end the year at 8-12-14 had the Quakes finish in ninth place.
2017: After beginning the season with two wins, the Quakes would endure a six-match winless streak that was a prelude to an inconsistent season. The team was unable to put any meaningful winning stretch together throughout the year while Chris Wondolowski did his part by scoring a team-high 14 goals to lead the way. At season’s end, the Earthquakes held sixth place in the West with a record of 13-14-7 and a -21 goal difference. But that didn’t matter as they edged out FC Dallas on wins to claim the last playoff position. The up-and-down inconsistent nature of their season reared its ugly head in the Knockout Round against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, getting blown out 5-0.
2018: If the Quakes had any optimism of improving on their showing from last year, it was very quickly blown away after winning their first game. The season would be littered with multiple-game losing streaks at different junctures of the schedule, and the club wound up the campaign dead last in MLS with a terrible 4-21-9 mark.
2019: With the mindset that there was certainly nowhere to go, but up after a horrendous campaign, the Earthquakes didn’t get immediate results, losing their first four games. Those results would come in the spring, starting with points in six straight games and then four wins in a row in July, and Chris Wondolowski’s 15 goals on the year led the team. But it wasn’t to be as five losses in a row to end the year cost the Quakes dearly, winding up at 13-16-5, four points in back of FC Dallas for the last playoff spot in the West.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Stephen Mulvoy, all information, and team names are property of Major League Soccer. This site is not affiliated with the San Jose Earthquakes or the MLS. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on July 15, 2004. Last updated on August 1, 2020, at 11:50 pm ET.