By now, the Bay Area and Major League Soccer community is well aware of what the San Jose Earthquakes accomplished on Saturday night – scoring a late game-winning goal to claim a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC despite fielding two less players for nearly the duration of the second half. Back-to-back red cards in the 42nd and 53rd minutes left the Quakes feeling hard-done by the referee, but they continued to chase the three points instead of just sitting back and fighting for a 1-1 draw.
While seemingly an improbable, if not impossible, task to accomplish, San Jose held Toronto and reigning MVP Sebastian Giovinco without a goal in the second half. In total, the Eastern Conference side finished with 22 shots, the most surrendered by the Quakes this season. The only Earthquakes match this year that saw a team put up more shots was when San Jose had 23 attempts on goal against LA at Stanford Stadium, and also finished with a solitary score.
Only nine teams in MLS history, including the Quakes on Saturday, have ever won while finishing with two fewer players than their opponents due to ejections. The last time it happened? April 21, 2012 – Philadelphia held onto a first-half 1-0 lead and played out the final five minutes down two men. The last time a team scored the game-winner while down two men? On August 7, 2004, the Dallas Burn used a stoppage time penalty kick by Eddie Johnson to earn a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire. The last time a team down two men scored a game-winner during the run of play? The Columbus Crew scored in overtime against D.C. United on May 19, 2001.
You get the point.
The simple version is this: No team in MLS history had ever been tied or trailing, down two men due to red cards, and scored a non-penalty kick goal in regulation to win a match. At least until last Saturday.