It’s happened before…
The outlook may appear bleak for NYCFC going into this weekend’s Eastern Conference semifinal second leg but it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
MLS Playoffs history is full of comebacks more dramatic than what we need to happen on Sunday to advance to the final.
Here, we take a look at four such epic landslides to give us inspiration and reasons to believe we’re in for a special afternoon at Yankee Stadium…
2004 Western Conference semifinals
Kansas City Wizards v San Jose Earthquakes
One of the most exciting postseason ties in living memory occurred in 2004 when Kansas faced the San Jose Earthquakes over two legs… and it’s one which should give us hope of turning our situation around.
A 2-0 home win for San Jose made them heavy favorites to advance but a dramatic second leg in Kansas changed everything.
Even when Khari Stephenson reduced arrears in the 26th minute, even the most optimistic home fan would scarcely have believed what was to follow.
Brian Ching put one past his own goalkeeper three minutes after the halftime interval before a stubborn San Jose Earthquakes resistance fought off everything Kansas could throw at them…
That was, until the 92nd minute when Jack Jewsbury came up big with the winning goal in the last seconds to cap off an incredible comeback.
A repeat on Sunday would be most welcome…
2003 Western Conference semifinals
LA Galaxy v San Jose Earthquakes
One of the most unbelievable comebacks in the recent history of soccer. Period.
Not only were the Quakes 2-0 down from the first leg of this California Clasico, they also shipped two away goals in the first 13 minutes of the second leg, giving them what was surely an unsurmountable mountain to climb.
Incredibly, a Landon Donovan inspired fightback began in the 21st minute when Jeff Agoos scored a consolation goal which went largely uncelebrated.
Donovan himself got the second against his future employers, prompting little more than a “hold on a second” shuffle forward in the seats from fans inside the Spartan Stadium with two unanswered goals still needed to force extra time.
What followed was unprecedented and thrilling...
San Jose went on to make it three then equalized with a fourth in the last minute of the 90 to take it to sudden death extra time where they netted the decisive fifth to win it through Rodrigo Faria.
2006 Western Conference semifinals
Colorado Rapids v FC Dallas
Flashback a decade to the 2006 Western Conference semifinals where Colorado Rapids faced off against FC Dallas for the right to advance to the Conference final.
Down 2-1 from the first leg, there was a further setback in store when Carlos Ruiz made it 3-1, scoring what looked like a priceless away goal for the Texan side.
Now requiring two to force extra time, Nicolas Hernandez stepped up, scoring a quickfire double to take it all the way.
Clarence Goodson restored the FC Dallas advance two minutes into the additional 30 before Clint Mathis scored a dramatic 114th minute equalizer meaning penalties were required to separate the teams and it was Colorado who advanced 5-4.
2005 Eastern Conference semifinals
Metrostars v New England
With just 30 minutes remaining of the decisive second leg, New England Revolution trailed MetroStars 2-0 and looked set for the Playoff heartache following their second place finish in the Eastern Conference.
Youri Djorkaeff’s 59th minute goal in Foxborough was celebrated like a winning goal as it left the home side needing three to advance but there was a twist left in this tail…
Enter Jose Cancela, who put New England on the comeback trail in the 68th minute before Pat Noonan equalized five minutes later.
There was still the away goal to cancel out and it was Bermudan winger Khano Smith who sent the home supporters into rapture when he scored the winning goal on an unforgettable snowbound night in Massachusetts.
If NYCFC are looking for inspiration for Sunday’s showdown with Toronto, they need look no further…