San Jose Earthquakes 2002
2002 Club by Club
The Quakes began the 2002 campaign in an unusual position. For the first time they were among the league favorites to win the championship. The team was well positioned for another run at the title, as MLS Defender of the Year Jeff Agoos and star forward Landon Donovan were returning. The team also made a major off-season move as it sent all-time leading scorer Ronald Cerritos to the Dallas Burn for the Burn's top goal scorer Ariel Graziani on Feb. 8. On the same day, the Quakes announced that Johnny Moore would serve as the new general manager. Moore had strong roots in the history of San Jose soccer, having played for the NASL Earthquakes from 1974-1977, while also serving as assistant general manager from 1974-1976. In 1977, Moore became the first person to serve as a player and general manager at the same time, helping the Quakes rank among the leaders in NASL in attendance.
With Frank Yallop and Dominic Kinnear in charge, 2002 turned out to be another fantastic season for San Jose. The team held first place overall in MLS from April 20-Sept. 13 and posted an MLS all-time best home record of 12-1-1 at Spartan Stadium. The Quakes posted a then MLS record 12-game winning streak at Spartan and a 15-game unbeaten streak at home that tied their own home unbeaten streak. At the end of the year, the Quakes finished with the second-best record in MLS and equaled the club record for points in a season with 45.
The Quakes also participated for the first time in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, where they advanced to the quarterfinals. The team swept CD Olimpia of Honduras in the Round of 16 1-0 and 3-1, but could not get by Mexican champion Pachuca CF, who won the two-game series 3-1 on aggregate.
Individually a number of Quakes shined both internationally and in the league. Jeff Agoos and Landon Donovan represented the United States at the 2002 World Cup with Donovan starting every game and scoring two goals. The US shocked the world by advancing to the quarterfinals.
At home, Wade Barrett and Ronnie Ekelund earned spots on the MLS Best XI team, while Joe Cannon was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. For the second straight season, six Quakes players participated in the MLS All-Star game (Jeff Agoos, Wade Barrett, Joe Cannon, Landon Donovan, Ariel Graziani, Richard Mulrooney). Frank Yallop earned the honor of coaching the MLS All-Stars in the game and his squad defeated the U.S. National Team 3-2. In 2002, Cannon set a club record with eight shutouts, while Graziani also broke a record by scoring six game-winning goals on his way to leading the team with 14 goals and five assists.
The playoffs were not as fruitful for the Quakes, however, as they were swept by the Columbus Crew, losing two games by 2-1 scores. Landon Donovan led the playoff charge with a goal and an assist, but his efforts were not enough as the Quakes were unable to defend their title.