The 2001 San Jose Earthquakes would capture the team’s first MLS Cup and inspire many soccer fans who were in the depths of despair after the September 11, 2001 attacks. They would complete one of the most dramatic turnarounds in league history that season, so they belong at #7.
Prior to the season, Frank Yallop was brought in to coach the team. The previous year, they had been miserable and picked up only 29 points. Yallop would rebuild the team quickly though, and they finished the regular season second in their division with 45 points (in only 26 games).
Yallop had help from an assistant by the name of Dominic Kinnear, who would later lead many of the same players to greatness in Houston. Led on the pitch by Ronald Cerritos, Manny Lagos and a youngster named Landon Donovan, San Jose would rise from the depths of the league to win the Cup.
The 2001 MLS Cup Final was one of the most thrilling games in league history. When the dust settled, SJE had beaten arch-rival L.A. 2-1 in an overtime slugfest. Joe Cannon deserves much of the credit, as he had a fantastic game and year. All in all, the team had heart, and belongs at #7.