What a day for the San Jose Earthquakes, who poured a lot of history into one afternoon.
It did not end perfectly as the club could manage only a 2-2 draw with the Galaxy. But in the big picture that singular result in one little ol’ soccer game doesn’t mean a thing.
The Earthquakes had officially captured the Supporters Shield a night before, when Sporting Kansas City failed to grab all the points in a draw at New York. Long, slow applause for that one.
With a brave header in the second half of Sunday’s contest, Chris Wondolowski moved a step closer to historic heights. So many will be pulling for him in this week’s season finale, as he attempts to match Roy Lassiter’s 17-year-old record for most goals over a single MLS season.
But again, the match and the individual heroics are radar blips in the big, big picture for owner Lew Wolf (pictured, along with … uh … well, he’s pictured) and his club. San Jose’s well-attended ground-breaking on a new 18,000-seat facility (set to open in 2014) is what really matters.
The organization even broke a Guinness world record (quaint as Guinness world records seem these days) for the largest groundbreaking. Some 6,256 fans had small shovels and dug for two minutes in the ceremonial construction start.
We keep saying it – but it continues to be true. Nothing matters more in Major League Soccer’s ongoing development than getting clubs into their own, dedicated facilities. TV contracts are important, too – but these new arenas were always the first building blocks in that initiative, too.
As successful as San Jose has been on the field and at the gate in 2012, existence as a renter, stripped of opportunities to control all those important revenue streams, is not sustainable for any franchise.
Further, nothing establishes a sense of permanence and staying-power like a physical building. It helps to establish “place” in the community and it tells fans, media and potential sponsors “we aren’t going anywhere.”
San Jose’s facility will be the 15th to constructed or rebuilt specifically for an MLS club.