The match took place on Sunday, 25 October 1998, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, between Chicago Fire Soccer Club and D.C. United. It was the third consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup final by D.C. United and the first appearance by an expansion club (Chicago) in the final. Chicago Fire won the match 2-0, with goals from Jerzy Podbrożny and Diego Gutiérrez. In doing so, Chicago became the first expansion club to win MLS Cup, astonishingly in the team's inaugural season. The win also completed a domestic double for the Fire, the first American club to win both a league championship and the U.S. Open Cup in a single season.
As the top two finishers in the MLS Cup Playoffs, both D.C. United and Chicago Fire earned the right to represent the United States in the 1999 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. The clubs faced off once again in the third-place match of the continental tournament, almost a year after meeting in MLS Cup '98. That game ended in a 2-2 draw.
The match began with great enthusiasm as D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno threatened early with a shot over Chicago's crossbar within the first minute. Chicago's first goal arrived after 29 minutes, following a quick exchange between Polish international Piotr Nowak and Ante Razov just inside the corner of D.C.'s 18-yard box. The move lured United goalkeeper Tom Presthus off his line, at which point Nowak passed across the box to oncoming Fire midfielder Jerzy Podbrożny who scored an easy tap-in at the back post. Nowak almost scored a second goal when his 45th minute shot deflected off the body of his teammate, Diego Gutiérrez. Nowak was credited with his second assist of the match, and Chicago headed into the second half with all the momentum and maintained the clean sheet on the way to the club's first league championship. Chris Armas played a significant role in his team's victory by neutralizing the playmaking ability of roaming midfielder Marco Etcheverry, a key ball distributor in United's attack and the league leader in assists that season. MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zach Thornton was prolific with 8 saves on the day, including 3 from previous Golden Boot winner and United's leading scorer, Roy Lassiter.