Best MLS Teams of the First 25 Years: #20 2005 San Jose Earthquakes
After losing nine players from their 2004 Quakes that failed to defend the MLS Cup title, Dominic Kinnear's 2005 edition won the Supporters' Shield. After losing only one time in their last 22 league matches, it was shocking to see them fall 3-1 to the Galaxy in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals. They were only able to draw 1-1 in the second leg at home at Spartan Stadium, in their San Jose finale before the players and staff moved to Texas to become the Houston Dynamo. The ending does not diminish one of the best teams in MLS history. A defense anchored by Pat Onstad, Wade Barrett, and Eddie Robinson conceded less than a goal per match. An injury in May to San Jose icon Troy Dayak allowed Danny Califf to become Robinson's partner in the middle of the backline. 21-year old Ricardo Clark anchored a strong midfield that also featured MLS veteran Mark Chung (a mid-season acquisition who retired at the end of the year), Brad Davis, and Brian Mullan. No one scored double-digit goals during the 32-game season, but the Quakes still managed to be one of the top scoring teams in the league in 2005 with 53. Dwayne De Rosario led the way with nine goals and seven assists. His 2005 Goal of the Year is still one of the greatest goals I've ever witnessed:
De Rosario was supported in the attack with eight goals from Alejandro Moreno, seven from Brian Ching, and six each from Salvadoran standout Ronald Cerritos (along with seven assists) and Chung.