1996 D.C. United season

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D.C. United
1996 season
General Manager United States Dave Kasper
Head Coach United States Bruce Arena
Stadium RFK Stadium
MLS 3rd
MLS Cup Champions
U.S. Open Cup Champions
Top goalscorer League:
El Salvador Raúl Díaz Arce (23)
All:
El Salvador Raúl Díaz Arce (24)
Highest home attendance 32,864 vs New England
(April 27, 1996)
Average home league attendance 15,585
Home colors
Away colors

The 1996 D.C. United season was the clubs' second year of existence, as well as their debutant season in Major League Soccer. The United would become the first club to win the MLS Cup this year.

Background[edit]

Prior to Major League Soccer's inaugural season, it had been six years since the Washington Metropolitan Area had a professional soccer club play within the region. The last team, was the late 1980s/early 1990s version of the Washington Diplomats. The Diplomats, played in the American Soccer League, which at the time was, by de facto, the top division of soccer in the United States although it was not sanctioned by U.S. Soccer or FIFA as a top tier soccer league. With the installation of the D.C. United franchise, it was the first time since the 1981 that a top division pro soccer club played in the region.

The foundation of the team came on June 15, 1994, when Major League Soccer selected Washington, D.C. out of twenty-two applicants to host one of the first seven teams, with three more added before the league's launch.[1] Once an MLS franchise was awarded to Washington, the new club management sought a name for the club. Attempting to allude to the American sporting culture, original suppositions included the area's name followed by a mascot for the club. Some ideas included the "Spies", "Americans" and "Eagles". Eventually, the idea of simply naming the team "D.C. United" was decided upon as the club name. The moniker "United" alluded to European club names such as Leeds and Manchester United as well as reflecting on being based in capital of the United States.[2]

Review[edit]

October[edit]

The final month of D.C. United's inaugural season saw the club compete in the first ever MLS Cup Playoffs, eventually being crowned the MLS Cup champions. Ten days later, United would earn the double by winning the 1996 U.S. Open Cup, the United States' domestic knockout cup competition. Such a feat would not be accomplished again until the Chicago Fire did so in 1998. To date, only four other MLS sides have ever achieved any sort of "double", being regular season, playoffs, or cup competition.

Playoff play continued into October with game three of the conference semifinal series, with kickoff on October 2. United, tied with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars were level 1–1 in the series. Played in front of a crowd of 20,423, United would emerge victorious in the match and in the series winning the match and series by a 2–1 scoreline. In game three, Steve Rammel opened the scoring in the 67th minute, giving United a crucial 1–0 victory. Inside 20 minutes later, the MetroStars leveled things up off an 86th minute strike from NY/NJ's Antony de Ávila. The match, looking destined for sudden death extra time was abruptly halted when a penalty was called against NY/NJ in the box. The call resulted with United's Raúl Díaz Arce notching the eventual match winner in the 89th minute of play. The win booked United into the 1996 MLS Eastern Conference Finals.

D.C. United took on the Supporters' Shield winners, Tampa Bay Mutiny on October 10 to open up the Eastern Conference Finals. The first match of the three-game series was held at RFK Stadium, where United posted a 4–1 victory. The score was United's largest margin of victory throughout the playoffs. The match saw Díaz Arce notch a hat trick, making him the first player in MLS Cup Playoffs history to score a hat trick in a playoff match. Díaz Arce scored in the 38th minute to give United the go-ahead lead, only for Tampa Bay's Roy Lassiter to equalize in the 42nd minute. United's Steve Rammel score what would eventually be the match-winning goal in the 52nd minute to give United a 2–1 lead over the Mutiny. Díaz Arce would score insurance goals for United in a three-minute span, scoring in the 58th and 60th minutes of play.

Held two days later, game two of the conference finals took place at Houlihan's Stadium near Tampa, Florida. With a crowd of 9,339 on hand, Tampa Bay took a 1–0 lead against D.C. inside 15 minutes, thanks to a strike from Steve Ralston. Ralston's goal proved to be the difference between the two sides for the remainder of the first half. However, four minutes into the second half of play, United's Richie Williams netted the equalizer. Díaz Arce would, once again, provide last minute heroics scoring in the 82nd minute to give United the 2–1 lead, and to book themselves in the inaugural MLS Cup championship.

Match Results[edit]

Legend[edit]

Major League Soccer[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

Conference semifinals[edit]
Conference finals[edit]
MLS Cup[edit]
Further information: MLS Cup '96

U.S. Open Cup[edit]

League Standings[edit]

Conference[edit]

Pos Club GP W (sw) (sl) L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 32 20 1 3 12 66 51 15 58
2 D.C. United 32 16 1 3 16 62 56 6 46
3 NY/NJ MetroStars 32 15 3 2 17 45 47 -2 39
4 Columbus Crew 32 15 4 5 17 59 60 -1 37
5 New England Revolution 32 15 6 2 17 43 56 -13 33

Overall[edit]

Pos Club GP W (sw) (sl) L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 32 20 1 3 12 66 51 15 58
2 Los Angeles Galaxy 32 19 4 4 13 59 49 10 49
3 D.C. United 32 16 1 3 16 62 56 6 46
4 Dallas Burn 32 17 5 3 15 50 48 2 41
5 Kansas City Wiz 32 17 5 2 15 61 63 -2 41
6 San Jose Clash 32 15 3 6 15 50 50 0 39
7 NY/NJ MetroStars 32 15 3 2 17 45 47 -2 39
8 Columbus Crew 32 15 4 5 17 59 60 -1 37
9 New England Revolution 32 15 6 2 17 43 56 -13 33
10 Colorado Rapids 32 11 2 4 16 44 59 -15 29

Transfers[edit]

In[edit]

Date Player Previous Club Fee/Notes Ref
January 24, 1996 United States Jeff Agoos Germany Wehen Allocated
January 24, 1996 Bolivia Marco Etcheverry Colombia América de Cali Allocated
January 24, 1996 United States John Harkes England West Ham United Allocated
January 24, 1996 Bolivia Berthy Suárez Bolivia Guabirá Allocated
February 6, 1996 El Salvador Raúl Díaz Arce El Salvador Luis Ángel Firpo Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Shawn Medved United States Seattle Sounders Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Erik Imler United States Raleigh Flyers Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Richie Williams United States Richmond Kickers Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Thor Lee United States Wichita Wings Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Brian Kamler United States Richmond Kickers Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Mile Milovac United States Indianapolis Twisters Drafted
February 6, 1996 United States Kris Kelderman United States St. Louis Ambush Drafted
February 7, 1996 United States Clint Peay United States Virginia Cavaliers Drafted
February 7, 1996 United States Ben Crawley Germany TuS Celle Drafted
February 7, 1996 Bosnia and Herzegovina Said Fazlagić Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo Drafted
February 7, 1996 Venezuela Daniel de Oliveira El Salvador Luis Ángel Firpo Drafted
February 7, 1996 United States Matthew Olson United States Everett BigFoot Drafted
February 7, 1996 United States Sterling Wescott Hawaii Hawaii Tsunami Drafted
February 7, 1996 United States Garth Lagerwey United States Hampton Roads Mariners Drafted
February 7, 1996 Mexico Carlos Garcia United States Mytrle Beach Boyz Drafted
April 19, 1996 United States Steve Rammel United States Washington Mustangs Loan [3]
July 18, 1996 Bolivia Jaime Moreno England Middlesbrough Lottery

Recognition[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "General Overview". Major League Soccer. 2009. Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
  2. ^ Dure, Beau (2010). Long Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books. pp. 21–23. ISBN 978-1-59797-509-4. 
  3. ^ http://www.intermark.com/Rapids/rp070397.html