Nine times. It’s the number of times Ferris Bueller was absent senior year. It’s also the number of times the San Jose Earthquakes have scored in second half stoppage time this season. Suffice to say, that’s a Major League Soccer record.
One other number that was being kicked around the press box at BC Place last night (where Vancouver was keeping a close eye on the developments in Santa Clara): San Jose has scored 21 goals this year after the 75th minute. That’s the same number of goals Chivas USA have all season.
Steven Lenhart was the hero last night, scoring in the 95th minute to salvage a 3-3 draw with visiting FC Dallas. It was the second time in 10 minutes Lenhart had adorned the red cape, having pulled San Jose even at 2-2 in the 85th minute.
Just before the end of regulation time, rookie Matt Hedges had restored Dallas’s lead, giving Schellas Hyndman’s team reason to believe they’d get out of Buck Shaw with a share of fifth in the West. Instead, Dallas stay two points back of Vancouver, who drew with Seattle at BC Place.
So what’s San Jose’s secret? How do these cardiac kids keep breaking hearts? For Hyndman, it’s pretty straight forward (from MLSSoccer.com):
“The ball is up in the air, coming down, people are physically knocking you over. What are you going to do? We don’t have the size to match.”
“The goals we’ve given up, you guys see it. It’s just knocking balls into the box. Continue knocking balls into the box, and if you don’t get to the first ball, you’ll get to the second one.”
From San Jose’s point of view, you can understand if there’s a certain amount of mythologizing going on. Again from MLSSoccer.com:
“We’re not surprised,” said Quakes forward Alan Gordon, who assisted Lenhart on both of his goals. “We expect to score. Definitely. After they scored their third goal [through Matt Hedges in the 88th minute], Lenny looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to get this.’ And I was right there with him. There was not one feeling of doubt in me. …
“It’s a will. It’s a will to dig deep, and reach where the other team doesn’t want to reach. They thought the game was over, and it was far from over.”
Gordon may not be surprised, but for the rest of us, it’s hard to get used to a team continuously defying the odds. The more they score in stoppage time, the more it seems like their luck is destined to run out.
Then again, maybe it’s not luck. Here are the highlights: