Happy Friday, Quakes nation. The weirdness rolls on, with the rest of California joining San Jose’s lead in shutting down because of coronavirus. Hope you are well, both physically and mentally, and can do your best to enjoy the coming weekend.
So let’s do a mailbag for the weekend! I promise I did not make up these questions myself.
Is there a way to replicate the Atlanta United/LAFC model of die-hard, passionate MLS fans, or is it entirely due to location? - Bill H.
Wow, starting off with a doozy here, thanks Bill. One of the conundrums in recent years in MLS is how the teams with the most fanatical fanbases — Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Atlanta United — or the most rabid gameday atmospheres — those teams already mentioned, plus LAFC and Toronto FC — are all expansion teams.
The only original team that pulls in consistently great, committed attendance and a plugged-in fanbase is Sporting Kansas City, who rebranded for the 2011 season and moved into a gleaming new stadium that year. You could argue that while Sporting didn’t move, they mimicked every other marker of an expansion team and it worked.
So, do the San Jose Earthquakes need to rebrand (again)? No, they’ve done it once, and their current crest is sharp. They already moved into their own new stadium a few years back. They didn’t do the same big simultaneous plan as Sporting, but have actually followed many of the same elements.
But here’s the other element Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, LAFC, latter-day TFC and Sporting have in common: They have been very good most or all of time for a sustained stretch. LAFC and Atlanta are still so young, it will be interesting to see them weather a real slump. But Seattle have never been bad in MLS! They entered in 2009, and if you have a consistently good team, your location doesn’t matter, in my opinion. Nothing connects those cities aside from being in North America, but they have all found a way, and a large amount of that comes from fielding regular contenders.
What soccer stadium is on the top of your bucket list to visit when sports return? - Debbie E.
Good one, thanks Debbie! I will be the first to admit I tend to travel rather locally or to see family, so I have a lot of stadiums I’d like to see on my bucket list, even in the U.S. within (relative) driving range.
But I was tossing and turning a few nights ago and sometimes day-dreaming helps me fall asleep. I found a scenario that set me at ease: Attending a random Scottish Premiership game at Celtic Park. I’m not a Celtic fan, per se, I don’t consider myself a fan of any European teams, but I’ve been playing Football Manager hardcore for a few years and have spent a lot of time playing in that league.
Seeing a football-crazy country, watching one of the historic clubs playing in a stadium over a century old, and being on the other side of the world, enjoying life, sounds pretty great right now. There’s a lot of places I’d love to go and watch soccer, but for whatever reason my imagination is calling out to Scotland hard these days.
What’s your most memorable game in Quakes history? - Eric S.
Ooh, another good one, thanks Eric. Listen, the Quakes have had more than their fair share of memorable finishes over the years. We could spend a week or more dissecting the dramatic finishes in 2012 alone (hmm...there’s an idea).
It’s like picking a favorite child. But here’s a good one: The California Clasico in Carson in 2012, in which San Jose went down 2-0 before — you know the story — the Quakes mount a late comeback, with Alan Gordon scoring the winner deep in stoppage time.
Did we know the Earthquakes were having a special season by the time this game rolled around in May? They did win eight of their first 13 games including this game, but before this one Frank Yallop’s side was on a three-game winless run. Nevertheless, this was a great omen and one of many amazing results over the LA Galaxy over the years.
What are your answers to these questions? Got future mailbag questions for me? Leave them in the comments below and we can chat!