If the Vancouver Whitecaps' three-goal comeback to earn a point with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday seemed like an odd occurrence, well, that's because it was. It was just the fourth time in league history that a team had erased a three-goal deficit to earn a point and it was the first time since 2007 that a team had accomplished that feat.
No MLS team has ever erased a three-goal lead and come back to win in regulation. The 1996 New York/New Jersey MetroStars (how's that for a mouthful?) came back to win after trailing by three goals, but needed overtime to do it.
Was the Whitecaps' comeback the greatest in MLS history? A case could certainly be made.
Putting their comeback at or near the top of the list was the lateness of those goals, with all three of the the Whitecaps' scores coming after the 71st minute. In none of those other instances did the trailing team's first goal come later than the 66th minute and none of those teams scored the tying goal - let alone two goals - in stoppage time.
The two stoppage-time goals the Whitecaps scored were also particularly rare. It was was just the second time in league history that a team had erased a two-goal deficit in stoppage time, and the sixth time that a team had scored two goals in stoppage time. Unsurprisingly, in none of those instances did the same player score both stoppage-time goals, as Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo did in Saturday's game.
The only game that holds a candle to this one in terms of pure second-half excitement was the June 11, 2006 contest between the Chicago Fire and New England Revolution. Heading into the 79th minute, the Fire led 1-0. But Nate Jaqua scored in the 79th minute to give the Fire a 2-0 lead, kickstarting a run of five goals over the next 25 minutes with four coming after the 87th minute. Calen Carr's goal in the 91st minute seemed to seal the victory for the visiting Fire, but the Revolution scored a pair of stoppage-time goals of their own. Andy Dorman scored the equalizer in the 94th minute.
Three other teams scored a pair of stoppage time goals that first tied the score and then gave them the victory. The most recent of those games was in 2007, with Kansas City being on the opposite end of that one. The Wizards trailed the Columbus Crew 2-1 in the 93rd minute when Eddie Johnson scored the equalizer. They got the winner about a minute later off the foot of Scott Sealy.
While those performances were certainly impressive in their own rights, the combination of variables is what really makes the Whitecaps' comeback stand out. It might not be the greatest comeback in MLS history, but it was certainly up there.
*- Special thanks to the Vancouver Whitecaps media relations for providing much of this information.