* * *
The 2003 San Jose Earthquakes are MLS kings of the postseason comeback.
That year, the team overcame a 2-0 first leg deficit and, at one point, a 4-0 aggregate deficit to the Los Angeles Galaxy to win a conference semifinal, 5-4. The highlights are posted above, as gathered by the league website.
There were quite a few familiar names involved. San Jose featured Landon Donovan, you may have heard of him, and then rookie Roger Levesque, who was on the bench. The Galaxy was coached by Sigi Schmid — the very same — and featured players like Tyrone Marshall and Peter Vagenas.
Donovan referenced his involvement in that series after Sunday’s first leg against the Sounders: “This is far from over. I, myself, have been part of bigger comebacks than this so we’ve got a long way to go still.”
Reporters asked Schmid about the series last year, but it has not come up again this time. Here’s part of what he said then:
“That was such a weird game,” Schmid said. “You’ve got a guy on the field who won (The Best Young Player) at the World Cup in 2002, and right before halftime he decides to pass the ball to Landon Donovan on a free kick, and all of a sudden it’s (2-2). … You could feel the game tip.
“I shared some stories with Frank Yallop after the game. I know what he said to the team and if we’re in that situation maybe I’ll do the same. But it wasn’t any great tactical plan. It was just, ‘Come on guys, we’ve got to win the ball and we’ve got to win our duels.’ For me, it’s just an example that everything’s possible.”