Kaval's Kickoff: California Clasico Top 10

Club President Dave Kaval lists his top-10 moments from Saturday's California Clasico

As I watched the fireworks from the roof of Stanford Stadium and tried to reconcile what I had just witnessed, my eight-year-old daughter Stella looked at me and said, "Dad, tonight was perfect."

I could not sum it up any better. What a magical evening on Saturday in front of 50,391 roaring fans as the Goonies struck again with an thrilling come-from-behind win against our rival, the LA Galaxy.  The night was not only one of the greatest matches in league history, but also one of the most significant soccer events in the history of the Bay Area. The energy of the sellout crowd and the festive atmosphere around the stadium with tailgating and the packed pregame Epicenter was reminiscent of the 1994 World Cup matches played at Stanford. The event was a rebirth for our organization and soccer in California. It shows all of us what we can achieve with the beautiful game here in America.

We stand at a lighthouse not just for soccer fans here in California but across the United States. Soccer has arrived and in 20 years people will talk about Saturday night as our coming out party in the same way that the 1984 NBA Finals dual of Johnson and Bird put the NBA on the map or the 1958 NFL Championship between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Football Giants ushered in the modern era of the NFL.

I could not be more proud of everyone associated with the club both on and off the pitch. First and foremost, Lew Wolff deserves a special note of recognition for having the vision and courage to rescue the Quakes and bring them back from oblivion. There is no way that the match would have been possible without his leadership and mentorship. Thank you, Lew.  

Secondly, the entire Quakes organization, both on the technical and business sides, gave everything they had and more to make the event such a huge success. This was a year in the making. To lead such an esteemed and accomplished group of people is an honor.  

On that note, I decided it was time for another top-10 list. It would be great if folks could email me at president@sjearthquakes.com or send me a tweet to @QuakesPrez with their favorite memory from the match. We will be compiling a special area of the website dedicated to the match with photos, videos and quotes about what the event meant to you and our community.

Kaval's Top-10 Moments from the 2012 California Clasico at Stanford Stadium

Rank Memory  

 

10.

Pre-Match T-38 Flyover
Nothing says big time vent like a jet flyover.

Watch: Stanford Stadium Flyover

 

 

9.

Beckham vs. Q
I will never forget the site of our beloved mascot Q holding a "Coming up next: Sportscenter" sign as Beckham tussled with Quakes players after the match. That image had a very surreal quality. In many ways, it might have been like Fonzi jumping the shark.

Watch: Fonzi jumps shark

 

 

8.

50K Strong for San Jose
The energy of the huge crowd could not be overstated. It created a World Cup like atmosphere. It was also great to see that almost everyone was rooting for the Quakes. In other instances when Beckham plays, many of the fans are just there to see and root for him. Not in this case. It was our passionate Quakes fans that carried the day.

 

 

7.

Supporters Tifo
What a tribute to our historical past and bright future. I was so proud to see such an amazing tifo display!

 

 

6.

Lenhart's Goal Celebration
This was a great homage to the match last year where Lenny scored against the Red Bulls and hung from the crossbar.

Watch: Lenhart scores and gets a workout in

 

 

5.

Salute to the Armed Forces Halftime Show
The tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces at halftime ended up being one of the signature moments from the event. Hours of design and development by Patrick Robarge Productions (PRP), who produced the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, had to go into getting the 75-foot American Flag to perfectly hover above the field as Jessica Johnson sang a fantastic rendition of the National Anthem. Walt Disney would have been proud to see it.

 

 

4.

Postgame Fireworks Extravaganza
For a second-straight year, the postgame fireworks show really delivered.

 

 

3.

Bernardez's Goal Before Halftime
Big Vic's goal at the end of the half was a critical turning point in the match. Plus, he kissed the Quakes' shield like 15 times as he celebrated his goal. That was an all-time classic.

Watch: Victor Bernardez pulls one back for San JoseI

 

 

2.

Ambiance
Two words: The wave.

 

 

1.

Wondo's Game Winner
It is one thing to score the winning goal on an acrobatic heel tap to cap a three goal rally, but to then drop one of the most inspired and appropriate goal celebration this side of Brandi Chastain was just off the charts. Wondo truly is the greatest.

Watch: Wondo scores the game winner

GO QUAKES!

Dave Kaval
President
San Jose Earthquakes