While the San Jose Earthquakes were unable to repeat their playoff caliber performance from the prior season, 2011 was still filled with some special moments. From the dedication of the fans that survived the rain-soaked home opener to the final game of the season when star striker Chris Wondolowski nearly captured his second straight MLS Golden Boot award, the Quakes played to an appreciative crowd at Buck Shaw Stadium week in and week out. In fact, from the end of July until the close of the season, Quakes fans made sure that every seat in the Buck was sold out. For the entire season, San Jose set their best per game average crowd since returning to the league in 2008.
On the field, the Earthquakes players rewarded their fans with some of the best goals in the four years of the 2.0 era. Wonder-strikes from Khari Stephenson and Simon Dawkins, world-class finishes from two-time MLS scoring champ Chris Wondolowski, a head-turning free-kick goal from Bobby Convey, and of course, the 4 million-plus hit YouTube sensation from back-up 'keeper David Bingham. They're all in the application below for you to consider as San Jose Earthquakes 2011 Goal of the Year. Vote early and often, and pass along the ballot to your friends and family in your Earthquakes supporters circle. Want to lobby for your favorite? Give your fellow fans your reasons for choosing a favorite in the comments selection below. We'll help make the announcement of the winner on New Year's Eve.
P.S. My favorite goal of the year had to be Steven Lenhart's stunning header against the New York Red Bulls at Stanford Stadium. The goal was amazing, and the earth-shaking reaction of the crowd was even more impressive. Who said soccer fans in the Bay Area wouldn't rally around the Quakes?
(Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com)