Best of MLS: The 5 wildest finishes of the 2017 season

Chris Wondolowski - hugs - Anibal Godoy - San Jose Earthquakes

Whether it’s a ferocious strike that completes a comeback or a huge save that preserves a late lead, there’s little better than a fantastic finish to a soccer match. 

MLS certainly had its fair share of down-to-the-wire contests in 2017, with plenty of memorable finishes throughout the regular season. Here are our top 5 finishes from the campaign:

Insanity at Avaya

Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart are long gone, but the Goonies came back to life in San Jose on Decision Day.

With FC Dallas romping late over the LA Galaxy, the Quakes needed to win against Minnesota to qualify for their first postseason in five years. San Jose led for the bulk of the second half, but Loons defender Francisco Calvo scored in the 81st to make it 2-2.

Unless they scored a late goal, San Jose would again miss out on the playoffs.

Fortunately for the Quakes, Quincy Amarikwa, Chris Wondolowski and, ultimately, Marco Ureña saved the day, with Ureña scoring deep into second-half stoppage time to give San Jose a 3-2 win and put the club into the playoffs. They didn’t last long in the postseason, losing 5-0 at Vancouver in the Knockout Round, but that doesn’t make their Decision Day comeback any less meaningful. Scenes, baby:

Seattle make history vs. D.C.

The Sounders looked absolutely dead in the water early in the second half of their first game back following the Gold Cup break, falling into a 3-0 hole against lowly D.C. after Lloyd Samscored in the 50th minute.

But Will Bruinscored just a minute later, and Seattle’s comeback was truly on.

Brad Evanstallied in the 62nd to make it 3-2, then Gustav Svenssontied the game at 3-3 with a wonderful flick in the 74th. Cristian Roldan scored just four minutes later to complete the historic comeback and give Seattle a remarkable 4-3 win at CenturyLink Field.

Loons get revenge in Atlanta

After blitzing through their first six games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 5W-0L-1D record and a plus-19 goal differential, Atlanta got a bit of a rude awakening on Oct. 3 against Minnesota.

The Loons got their revenge for their 6-1 humiliation against Atlanta in their first-ever MLS home game back in March, getting a 90th minute equalizer from forward Christian Ramirez and a 96th minute winner from midfielder Kevin Molino to steal all three points with a 3-2 win in Georgia.

It remains the only game Atlanta have ever lost – including playoffs, where their Knockout Round shootout failure against Columbus Crew SC technically counts as a draw – at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Salinas lights up the Cali Clasico

The Cali Clasico is always a wild, wild match. Particularly when the Quakes and Galaxy meet in their annual contest around the Fourth of July at Stanford Stadium.

This year, longtime Quake Shea Salinas provided the fireworks, scoring in the third minute of stoppage time to give San Jose a dramatic 2-1 win and give Chris Leitch a victory in his MLS head coaching debut.

The best part? Salinas called his shot during warmups, waving his jersey around his head like ex-San Jose striker Alan Gordon before the match, celebrating “the goal I’m going to score.”

You better believe he pulled out that celebration again after scoring:

Gordo Gone Wild

Speaking of Alan Gordon…

The godfather of late goals in MLS only scored three times for the Colorado Rapids this year, but all three came after the 80th minute, and all three were game-winners.

He got his first on June 3, following up Kevin Doyle’s 80th minute goal with an 86th minute header (what else?) to give the Rapids a 2-1 win against Columbus. He struck again in the Rapids’ next match, flicking home an excellent header in the 89th to give the Rapids another 2-1 home win, this time over Portland.

Gordon completed his hat trick of late winners on Sept. 30, slipping free in the box and finishing with his right foot in the 81st minute against Montreal to propel Colorado to yet another 2-1 home win. 

Here's that finish vs. Portland and his trademark shirtless celebration: