Teal San Jose Clash numbers on the jerseys, Hanson “mmbopping” out of the speakers and video board graphics straight out of a Nintendo 64.
Yet on a night when the Earthquakes honored all things 90s, it took until the 88th minute for supersub Adam Jahn to blow the dust off the cartridge – and the roof off Avaya Stadium.
In front of a packed house, the home side dominated for long periods but the game malfunctioned and somehow they found themselves a goal down to DC United when coach Dominic Kinnear sent the big 25-year–old on with eight minutes to go and a simple message ringing in his ears: "Score a goal."
“He listened,” said Kinnear.
Despite a rapid start from the red-and-white-shirted hosts, there was to be no repeat of the 1-0 victory which marked the first MLS game at Spartan Stadium 20 years ago.
Jahn’s equalizer provided the next best thing, cancelling out Patrick Nyarko’s against-the-run-of-play opener and preserving the Quakes unbeaten home record.
It also left Kinnear’s decision to send Jahn and fellow starter Tommy Thompson north to Sacramento during international break looking like a masterstroke.
Both played for the affiliate Republic in their 1-0 opening day USL victory over Seattle’s second string and that taste of match action clearly had an impact.
“I thought both of them looked very sharp in match practice this week,” Kinnear said. “I think any time you get game minutes it gives you more confidence…I thought they had a good little bounce in their step this week.”
With fans on edge after chance after went begging and time ticked away, an assured Jahn told reporters it was only ‘a matter of time’ until San Jose made the breakthrough.
"Towards the end of the game, you see the defense getting tired and not following runners as well and that’s what happened,” he said.
"Shea [Salinas] played a near post ball, I was able to get some separation and get the goal.”
The Earthquakes cavalry had been on the charge all night and stepped up another gear following Jahn’s leveler.
In a breathless final few minutes, Chris Wondolowski almost delivered the perfect ending but was denied his fourth goal in four games when his late, late effort was deflected behind for a corner.
It was not to be, but as the 18th consecutive sellout drifted away from Avaya clutching their throwback Clash t-shirts and music from the era that gave us the likes of Alanis Morissette again filled the night air, some would reflect that Jahn’s leveler arrived in the same minute as Eric Wynalda’s game-winner back in 1996.
Wasn’t that ironic?