Frank Yallop - San Jose Earthquakes

Q&A: Frank Yallop looks back at greatest comeback in MLS history

Thoughts coming back to San Jose down on aggregate

“I always thought we had a team that really didn’t care what the score was. We just kept going. I knew ability wise we could get back in the game. I mean going 2-0 down to a really, really good team, it wasn’t a shock. It is what it is.”

“We had a really good week of practice. I kept positive and the guys were really positive with what we were doing. I knew that if we scored an early goal in the second then all bets were off because we are good at Spartan and they knew that. No one likes coming to our place to try and get a result.  We just had to get ready and be prepared.”

“I don’t remember anything before the game, but I remember half time. The only thing I remember is that if we scored first then we had a good chance of getting a result. I had that on every team sheet, every meeting I ever had, I always said if we score first we are going to tie or win. I forget what the stats were but when we scored first we got a result something like 70% of the time. So I knew that we wanted to get out and really press, really put them on their heels and let us play our game.”

Frank Yallop: “I felt that it was going to be a tough game but I felt we were going to get through it. I didn’t know it would be like this though, I didn’t know we’d end up winning one of the greatest games in MLS history.”


Going down 4-0 aggregate in the first half

“You can’t take celebration away from players, but if I’m up 4-0 in a two leg affair then I think I’ve got a pretty good shot a winning. I don’t think they over celebrated, I take nothing away from their team but they shocked us a little bit. But I turned to Dominic (Kinnear) and said - not the greatest start, but if we get one quick now and one before half time, I think we’ve got a chance. Next thing Landon scored and the fans erupted and that place got loud.”

“It was a weird one, you know, we had one of those teams that could score at any point.  We had Landon Donovan, Ronnie Eklund, Richard Mulrooney, we had a really, really good team and always thought we could score a couple; that’s why getting to 2-2 at half was so important to us. We weren’t afraid of any body, and when our backs are against the wall we just wouldn’t crumble. We never thought that this wasn’t our year, we always thought we were going to win this.”


What they remember from halftime 

“Usually the players go in their room and we go into ours, we would discuss and then talk to the players. This one was different. Goose (Jeff Agoos) and Landon were telling everyone “We’ve got this, we can do this,” so I just reiterated what they were saying. We knew they were going to bunker-down and we had to play our game, and if we do I guarantee we got this.”

“See I knew Sigi (Schmid), I knew his tactics and he was going to change formations to just try and get through it. So we came out and Richard (Mulrooney) takes a quick free kick and we score off a back post header in the 54th minute and then I knew that all bets are off. After Pat Onstad makes a few amazing saves and Richard Mulrooney does his stuff on the right wing, I said, guys, we just have to keep going.”

“I’m not saying that that they were more fatigued than us but playing in front of 28,000 fans – I’ve never seen anything like it at a game in the states – it lifted us up and wore them down.”


What they remember from the fifth goal  
“Ian and Landon slide in after the finish and I know there is some rule to not go on the field, but it was golden goal, the game was over, and Dom and I had a race to get to the pile. I mean it was Golden Goal. Game over. We won. 
 
“The joy on the players face, the fans, it is difficult to explain. Unless you are there to live it I just can’t explain it, but it gives me goosebumps just talking about it.”


Best playoff game ever?

Frank Yallop: “I just don’t see a better game. With the rivalry we had, I don’t hate them, but we just wanted to beat them. Against the ropes, about to be knocked out, I definitely think it is the greatest MLS game ever played.”
 


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