Kaval's Kickoff: Top 20 from 2012

What an amazing season. It's hard to express in words how proud I am of our team, our front office, and our fans. It was truly a magical year filled with memorable moments that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.

While we did not achieve our ultimate objective to add another star to our kit, we made amazing progress both on and off the pitch that will position us for many more stars in the future. I thought that the best way to recap such a great season was with a top ten list. However, I was unable to boil it down to 10 top moments so I have decided to go with a top-20 list.

You know you had a great year when you need to kick it up a notch to 20.

Kaval's Top 20 from the 2012 MLS Season

Rank Memory  




"Tifo Wars"
Major props to our 1906 Ultras for their amazing tifo in 2012, especially the Star Wars version; best tifo in the League.

Watch: Making of Stanford Stadium Tifo




"Soccer Returns to Kezar Stadium"
Even though the result wasn't as memorable, soccer returning to San Francisco's Kezar Stadium in the form of our US Open Cup match against Seattle Sounders FC was pretty special. The match was a throwback to some old school soccer.




"Hat Trick Hero"
Wondo's hat trick against Colorado on Oct. 6 made the chase for Roy Lassiter's record a reality.

Watch: Wondolowski's Hat Trick vs. Colorado




"Welcome the Welsh"
Lenny came off the bench to score twice against Swansea City FC. Somebody had to show the Welsh how we roll in San Jose.




"It's a Rout"
Who could forget our 5-0 domination of Real Salt Lake on July 14 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The match featured a Wondo hat trick. 

Watch: Match Highlights from July 14




"Los Catrachos"
"Big Vic" Bernardez and Marvin Chavez were a dynamic duo in 2012. Their goal celebration showed the passion they had for our club and the game. Pure joy! VIVA HONDURAS!

Watch: Chavez Goal vs. FC Dallas on July 18




"Serenading in Seattle"
Most of our fans watched the club's 2-1 win at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 23, but the 1906 Ultras took it to another level, serenading the team at the hotel.

Watch: Highlights from 2-1 Win at Seattle




"Yallop's Century Mark"
Frank Yallop earned his 100th career win in a 3-1 result against Real Salt Lake on April 21 at Buck Shaw Stadium. Way to go, Frank!

Watch: Highlights from 3-1 win vs. RSL




"Man of the Match"
Our equipment manager, Jose Vega, drove 20-plus hours to Colorado after the club's flight was cancelled to pick up the assist in the Mile High City. Can you say "Five Hour energy"?

Read: Unsung Hero




"Playoff Goonies"
The end result of the series might not have been what we wanted, but "Big Vic" Bernardez's 94th-minute goal against the Galaxy in the first leg was epic.

Watch: Bernardez Free-Kick Goal




"PD Permit Night"
Let's not forget the big night in February when 800-plus Earthquakes fans filled City Hall to support our Planned Development Permit.

Read: "We Did It!"




"Champions League, Here We Come"
I know I'm not the only one looking forward to CONCACAF Champions League. This is one more reason to be pumped heading into the 2013 season.




"Halftime Extravaganza"
Our halftime show at Stanford Stadium on June 30 was the best outside of the Super Bowl. Big thanks to marketing manager Niki Shinn for planning the event.

Watch: California Clasico Recap




"More Goonies"
There were many Goonies moments and a couple more to come on this list, but Lenny's goal to out-Goonie Seattle on Aug. 11 was brilliant.

Watch: Lenhart Game Winner vs. Seattle




"Birth of the Goonies"
Alan Gordon's stoppage-time goal against LA in May and the goal celebration to follow were memorable enough by themselves. Steven Lenhart's post-game quote set the tone for the rest of the season: the birth of #gooniesneversaydie

Watch: Gordon's Stoppage-Time Winner




"Stanford Stadium Clasico"
A two-goal comeback against LA on ESPN, 50,391 fans, an amazing Wondo back-heel goal and celebration with U.S. Armed Forces - this game had everything and it will be remembered as one of the best matches in MLS history.

Watch: Highlights from 4-3 Win vs. LA Galaxy




"Blond-Haired Bedlam at Buck Shaw"
Down 1-0 against the Chicago Fire? No problem - the Goonies found a way to get a result. Lenny scored in the 98th minute on wig night to earn a point for the Quakes. Right out of Hollywood...

Watch: Lenhart Equalizer vs. Chicago Fire




"Eighth Wondo of the World"
Chris Wondolowski scored 27 goals in 2012, tying Roy Lassiter's 16-year-old MLS record. What more can be said about this than: WOW!

Watch: Wondolowski's Goals, 1-27




"Two Words: Supporters' Shield"
With 19 teams and a brutally difficult Western Conference, the best record in MLS and the corresponding Supporters' Shield was a truly unbelievable accomplishment. Credit to our players and their collective will power that propelled us to a team-record 66 points and the coveted Shield. Feel free to stop by the office to get your photo with the trophy. You gotta love the extra silverware next to our two MLS Cups.




"Guinness Record Groundbreaking"
We did it! Our stadium is on its way and we celebrated by breaking the Guinness Record for largest participatory groundbreaking with 6,256 folks turning dirt. This event was so important because a new stadium is critical to the success of the club both on and off the pitch. A big THANK YOU to all the fans who turned out to set the record.

Watch: Groundbreaking Day

Thanks again to everyone for a great season. What was your favorite memory? Email me at president@sjearthquakes.com or tweet to @QuakesPrez with your opinion.


Dave Kaval
San Jose Earthquakes


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