Top 50 MLS Cup Moments: #9 Turning Point
|San Jose 4||Chicago 2|
Roner (OG) 54'
|Did You Know?|
|Pat Onstad has won more MLS Cup trophies than any goalkeeper in MLS history. He has hoisted the trophy with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003 and with the Houston Dynamo in 2006 and 2007.|
#9. Turning Point (2003)
It was the definition of a turning point.
The Chicago Fire were piling the pressure on the San Jose Earthquakes, who were holding on to a slim 3-2 lead early in the second half of MLS Cup 2003.
Then in the 55th minute, the Fire won a penalty kick after Damani Ralph was taken down in the box. Ante Razov, the Fire's designated penalty-kick taker, with five of six attempts made in 2003, stepped up to face San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
Both coaches felt their big-time player was going to make the big-time play.
"We were getting at ‘em pretty good," then-Fire manager Dave Sarachan said. "We got that penalty and I remember talking to DaMarcus Beasley on the sideline talking over what we were going to do after Ante scores. We’re thinking he’s going to make it and we’re going to win."
Said San Jose manager Frank Yallop, “We were under a ton of pressure. I thought Chicago had the better of chances in the first half and even during the game. I was sitting there thinking Pat is going to save it. I kind of fancied it."
Yallop was right. Onstad dove to his right to stop Razov's kick.
"Huge. Huge. That was the turning point," said then-Quakes star Dwayne De Rosario. "Had he not made the save, the tables would have turned and Chicago would have had more time to have more of an impact and more of a threat on us during the game. That save was at a crucial time in the game and a time when we really needed it and he really saved us that Cup game."
It was Onstad's first season in MLS and he had already developed a reputation among his teammates for the big save in the big spot.
But as far as the Canadian 'keeper is concerned, he felt he owed his team. He felt culpable on Beasley's goal just minutes before when he was beat on the near post. He wanted to make up for it.
"I actually make what I think was a grave goalkeeping error and get beat to the near post by Beasley," Onstad said. "So I though I kind of owed our team one, I felt like I kind of let us down there a little bit."
Sarachan still has his doubts about the reason why Razov failed to execute the spot kick.
"I clearly remember him wearing new shoes for the game and I was thinking silently afterward, 'I hope it wasn’t those shoes that made him miss,'" Sarachan said, mostly in jest. "That was the moment that changed it all."