MLS Cup 2004

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MLS Cup 2004 logo.gif
Date November 14, 2004 (2004-11-14)
Venue The Home Depot Center, Carson, California
Man of the Match Alecko Eskandarian
(D.C. United)
Attendance 25,797
Weather Sunny, 71 °F (22 °C)

MLS Cup 2004, the ninth edition of Major League Soccer's championship match, was played between D.C. United and the Kansas City Wizards to decide the champion of the 2004 season. The match that took place at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California on November 14, 2004. D.C. United defeated Kansas City 3-2 on an own goal by Wizards defender, Alex Zotinca. It was D.C. United's fourth MLS Cup victory and their first since MLS Cup '99.

Route to the final[edit]

Peter Nowak's first season with United gave him the distinction of being the first person to win the MLS Cup as a player and head coach. As a player for the Chicago Fire, Nowak was named MLS Cup '98 MVP for his two assists during the Fire's 2-0 victory over United. He also started in the 2000 MLS Cup against the Kansas City Wizards, which resulted in 0-1 loss. His teammate at the time, Josh Wolff, who played as a substitute in that match, would score Kansas City Wizards's first goal in the 2004 MLS Cup.

While United barely surpassed a .500 record, the Wizards entered the playoffs as the most victorious team of the regular season.[1]

United won 10 of their final 12 regular season games. Winning the MLS Cup completed a seven-game winning streak. Their last loss was on September 25, 2004 against the Columbus Crew.[2]

D.C. United Round Kansas City Wizards
Eastern Division Standings Regular Season Western Division Standings
Team Pld W L D GF GA Pts
Columbus Crew 30 12 5 13 40 32 49
D.C. United 30 11 10 9 43 42 42
MetroStars 30 11 12 7 47 49 40
New England Revolution 30 8 13 9 42 43 33
Chicago Fire 30 8 13 9 36 44 33
Final standing
Team Pld W L D GF GD Pts
Kansas City Wizards 30 14 9 7 38 30 49
Los Angeles Galaxy 30 11 9 10 42 40 43
Colorado Rapids 30 10 9 11 29 32 41
San Jose Earthquakes 30 9 10 11 41 35 38
Dallas Burn 30 10 14 6 34 45 36
Opponent Result MLS Cup Playoffs Opponent Result
MetroStars 2–0, 2-0 Conference Semifinals San Jose Earthquakes 3-0, 0-2
New England Revolution 4-3 Conference Finals Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0

D.C. United[edit]

D.C. United players and coches celebrating their win in the 2004 Eastern Conference Championship.

After dominating the league in the first four years of Major League Soccer's existence, D.C. United's entered a rough patch in the early 2000s, failing to make the playoffs in the next three seasons following their 1999 championship. The previous season, D.C. United made a return into the playoffs, but were immediately eliminated by Chicago Fire, losing both matches by 2–0 margins.

Entering the 2004 season, club management hired for Chicago Fire standout, Piotr Nowak as the club's head coach, making Nowak the first ex-MLS player to subsequently manage a team. Throughout a majority season, the club was inconsistent on the field, failing to post back-to-back wins through the first 24 weeks of the campaign. However, following the team's 3–0 home victory to Dallas Burn, the club won four of their remaining five matches, and climbed into second place in the Eastern Conference, and fourth place overall.

The second-seeded United played host to their Atlantic Cup rivals, MetroStars in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Both matches of the two-legged aggregate series, ended in 2–0 victories for United, as they advanced to the Eastern Conference championship winning the semifinal series, 4–0.

Considered ones of the greatest matches in Major League Soccer history,[3][4][5][6][7] the match ended drawn at 3–3 after New England's Pat Noonan tied the game in the 85th minute. With no clear victor in extra time, the Eastern Conference championship was decided through the virtue of penalty kicks. In the first round of penalties, both United's Ben Olsen and the Revolution's Steve Ralston missed their penalties. The next two penalty takes from both sides scored in the shootout. The third round of penalties saw United's Alecko Eskandarian score, but New England's Jay Heaps miss. In the fourth round, the fortunes switched, as New England's Shalrie Joseph scored, but United's Jaime Moreno missing, causing the shootout to go to sudden death. In the first round, New England's Clint Dempsey had his shot hit the post, while United's Brian Carroll scored the match-winning penalty kick, sending D.C. United into their fifth-ever MLS Cup final.

Kansas City Wizards[edit]

The Kansas City Wizards were returning to the MLS Cup final for the second time in club history, the last being in 2000, in which they emerged victorious over Chicago Fire. It was the same year that the Wizards earned their first, so far only, "league double" earning the Supporters' Shield along with the MLS Cup title. During the regular season, the Wizards had the highest total number of regular season wins. Despite that, the Wizards fell short of the league premiership, due to tiebreakers, but emerged as Western Conference regular and postseason champions, while earning their first ever U.S. Open Cup title.

Kansas City began their postseason campaign by playing the San Jose Earthquakes, the defending MLS Cup champions, in the Western Conference Semifinals. The first leg of the aggregate series was played in San Jose, and the match ended in the Earthquakes' favor, as the club posted a 2–0 victory over the Wizards. Since the away goals rule is not used in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Wizards needed an at least a two-goal victory to send the series to extra time, or a three-goal win to advance to the Western Conference Final. An own goal from San Jose, along with goals from Khari Stephenson and Jack Jewsbury during regulation time gave Kansas City a 3–2 aggregate victory, and sent the Wizards to the Conference Final for the second straight year.

The 2004 Western Conference Final saw the top-seeded Kansas City take on second-seed, Los Angeles Galaxy. The series was a rematch of the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals, in which the Galaxy defeated the Wizards 2–1 in a best-of-three series. However, during the 2004 regular season, Kansas City had not lost to Los Angeles during any of the four outings, winning and drawing twice, each. The Western Conference championship saw Kansas City's Davy Arnaud netting twice to send the Wizards to their second straight league championship.

Pre-match[edit]

Venue selection[edit]

For the second consecutive season, Carson's The Home Depot Center was selected to host the MLS Cup championship, the first time a stadium has hosted consecutive MLS Cup championships (the Home Depot Center would again host back to back MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012).

Analysis[edit]

Match[edit]

Due to limited seating capacity it was the first MLS Cup sellout.[1]

United responded with three goals in only seven minutes.

Dema Kovalenko received the first red card in MLS Cup history when he blocked a Kansas City shot with his arm while standing on the goal line. Josh Wolff scored his first career playoff goal on the resulting penalty kick. It was the first penalty kick scored in MLS history.

Adu's substitution in the 65th minute made him the youngest member of an American professional championship team in modern sports history.[8]

First half[edit]

Second half[edit]

Details[edit]

November 14, 2004
Kansas City Wizards 2 – 3 D.C. United
Burciaga Jr. Goal 6'
Wolff Goal 58' (pen)
Report Eskandarian Goal 19' Goal 23'
Zotinca Goal 26' (o.g.)

KANSAS CITY WIZARDS:
GK 25 United States Bo Oshoniyi
DF 12 United States Jimmy Conrad
DF 3 United States Nick Garcia
DF 23 Romania Alex Zotinca Substituted off 82'
DF 6 United States Jose Burciaga Jr.
MF 5 United States Kerry Zavagnin
MF 7 United States Diego Gutierrez Booked 33'
MF 14 United States Jack Jewsbury Substituted off 66'
MF 24 Jamaica Khari Stephenson Substituted off 45'
FW 22 United States Davy Arnaud
FW 15 United States Josh Wolff
Substitutions:
MF 20 Russia Igor Simutenkov Substituted in 45'
FW 19 United States Matt Taylor Substituted in 66'
MF 8 Brazil Diego Walsh Substituted in 82'
Head Coach:
United States Bob Gansler

D.C. UNITED:
GK 18 United States Nick Rimando
RCB 26 United States Bryan Namoff Booked 72'
CB 7 New Zealand Ryan Nelsen
LCB 12 United States Mike Petke
RM 8 United States Earnie Stewart Booked 55' Substituted off 82'
DM 16 United States Brian Carroll
CM 14 United States Ben Olsen Booked 89'
LM 21 Ukraine Dema Kovalenko Red card 57'
AM 13 Argentina Christian Gomez Substituted off 59'
FW 99 Bolivia Jaime Moreno
FW 11 United States Alecko Eskandarian Substituted off 65'
Substitutions:
MF 17 United States Joshua Gros Substituted in 59'
MF 9 United States Freddy Adu Substituted in 65'
DF 4 United States Brandon Prideaux Substituted in 82'
Head Coach:
United States Peter Nowak

Man of the Match:
Alecko Eskandarian [9] (D.C. United)

Statistics[edit]

Post-match[edit]

After the game Eskandarian stated, "I didn't even know where the ball hit me. It was just what you learn in youth soccer; you keep going until you hear a whistle."[8] On August 19, 2011 Eskandarian publicly stated that there was a handball on the play that led to his second goal.[10]

The Wizard's head coach, Bob Gansler, complimented United's defensive performance:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dave Litterer (30 September 2011). "The Year in American Soccer, 2004". The American Soccer History Archives. 
  2. ^ "Cup ties: '99 D.C. vs. '04 D.C.". Major League Soccer. 22 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Dure, Beau (November 11, 2004). "Harkes keeps both feet in the soccer world". USA Today. Retrieved June 19, 2007. 
  4. ^ Dell'Apa, Frank (July 26, 2005). "10 of the best... MLS games". ESPN. Retrieved June 19, 2007. 
  5. ^ Goff, Steven (November 3, 2006). "Revolution Ready to Take Another Shot". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 19, 2007. 
  6. ^ "D.C. United & Comcast SportsNet to launch 'Brunch with D.C. United'". Major League Soccer. January 25, 2006. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007. 
  7. ^ Lifton, David (May 11, 2005). "Looking back: Unforgettable in every way". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on April 7, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b c "Kansas City 2-3 DC United". ESPN Soccernet. 30 September 2011. 
  9. ^ David Leon Moore (14 November 2004). "Eskandarian waits his turn and delivers twice for D.C.". USA Today. 
  10. ^ Martin Shatzer (30 September 2011). "Alecko Eskandarian Reveals Truth About 2004 MLS Cup Final". Black And Red United. 

External links[edit]

Additional sources[edit]