|Date||November 21, 1999|
|Venue||Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts|
|Man of the Match||Ben Olsen|
|Weather||Sunny, 63 °F (17 °C)|
MLS Cup '99, the fourth edition of Major League Soccer's championship match, was played between D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy to decide the champion of the 1999 season. The match took place at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on November 21, 1999. D.C. United defeated Los Angeles 2-0 with goals from Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno during the first half. A rematch of the first MLS Cup- coincidentally held on the same venue- D.C. United captured their third MLS Cup victory in the first four years of Major League Soccer's existence and second victory against the Galaxy in an MLS Cup.
The Galaxy and United met in the final for the second time since the inaugural MLS Cup '96 when United rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Galaxy 3-2 in overtime. The match, which was also held at Foxboro Stadium, was the first of four consecutive Cup appearances for United, of which three resulted in victories.
During the regular season the Galaxy and United met twice each winning on the road.
The Galaxy became the first team in the history of the league to allow less than one goal a game during the regular season with 29 goals in 32 games.
Marco Etcheverry, a central midfielder for United and one of the best playmakers in the league's history, proved to be a persistent threat during the playoffs. During the third game of the semifinal series against the Columbus Crew Etcheverry created three assists and one goal in the 4-0 victory.
The 1999 Cup was the first championship match to feature the top team in each division.
|Los Angeles Galaxy||Round||D.C. United|
|Western Division Standings||Regular Season||Eastern Division Standings|
|Result*||Opponent||MLS Cup Playoffs||Result*||Opponent|
|3-0, 2-0||Colorado Rapids||Conference Semifinals||2-0, 1-0 (SO)||Miami Fusion|
|2-1, 2-3 (SO), 3-1||Dallas Burn||Conference Finals||2-1, 1-5, 4-0||Columbus Crew|
* Best of three games advanced
The final was the first league match in which the referee on the field kept official time and a fourth official displayed the amount of injury time added at the end of each half. Previously, the official time counted down from 90 to zero and was kept by a scoreboard clock.
In addition to the official time change, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced earlier in the week that tiebreakers would not longer be decided by a shootout. The changes were planned to take effect with the start of the following season, but a last-minute decision was made to instate them earlier. That meant that the 1999 Cup was the first MLS game ever to not be subject to a tie-breaking shootout. Instead penalty kicks would be used to settle the game if drawn after two 15-minute periods of overtime.
Seven minutes into the match MLS defender of the year and Best XI selection Robin Fraser was substituted out of the game after suffering a broken left collarbone. The injury was sustained when Fraser competed with D.C. United forward, Roy Lassiter, for the ball in the corner of the field. After the game Fraser argued that he had been fouled when Lassiter pushed him from behind, although no foul was given. Faser was replaced by Steve Jolley, which prompted the Galaxy to switch to a three-man defensive line with Paul Caligiuri positioned as sweeper.
Although not widely publicized at the time, Fraser was wearing a brace throughout the 1999 Major League Soccer season due to shoulder problems. The brace restricted the movement of his shoulder and prevented him from responding quickly to the collision with Lassiter. Rather than bracing the fall with his arm, the majority of the impact was sustained by his shoulder, which led to the broken collarbone. The impact of the substitution is still disputed over ten years later.
Twelve minutes after Fraser left the field Jaime Moreno gave United a 1-0 lead when he scored on a rebounded save by Hartman, which Caligiuri failed to clear.
During the four minutes of extra time added by referee Tim Weyland to the first half D.C. United extended its 1-0 lead when Ben Olsen intercepted a loose ball and scored. MLS goalkeeper of the year, Kevin Hartman had failed to clear a back pass from substitute defender Steve Jolley. Although Hartman managed to evade Roy Lassiter, pressure from forward Jaime Moreno forced Hartman to attempt a pass to Paul Caligiuri on the left side of the field. Hartman failed to make contact with the ball, which rolled to Olsen. Olsen struck the ball with a single touch from outside the box, which would be the final goal of the match.
The Galaxy failed to mount an effective offense. That was partially attributed to Richie Williams, United's defensive midfielder, who disrupted the play of Mauricio Cienfuegos, the Galaxy's playmaker. This was reflected by the fact that United's goalkeeper, Tom Presthus, was forced to make only one save during the championship game.
November 21, 1999
|Los Angeles Galaxy||0-2||D.C. United|
During the post-game awards ceremony the stage nearly collapsed beneath D.C. United. After saluting the fans D.C. United players celebrated the victory with cigars and champagne in the locker room with friends, families and fans.
After taking part in all four MLS Cups in the league's history, with their only loss coming in 1998 to the Chicago Fire, it was generally accepted that D.C. United had established a dynasty. After the game Cobi Jones stated that:
|"||It's obviously a dynasty. It's disappointing for us, but it's great for them. They're showing they're a dominant force in the MLS.||"|
Journalists questioned MLS Commissioner Don Garber as to whether D.C. United's domination was hurting the league. The issue was notable since the league was designed from its outset to create parity among teams through a system in which investors would pay a stake in the league as a whole. Garber responded by stating:
|"||I think it's terrific to have a dominant team. There will be teams shooting after them all year.||"|
D.C. United was honored for their third MLS championship on December 14 with a 10-block parade through downtown Washington, D.C. Following their third MLS Cup title in four years, the club went on a downturn, failing to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the next three seasons. United would not qualify for the playoffs again until 2003, and it would not be until 2004, that the team would win their next MLS Cup, which to this date is their most recent MLS Cup title.
As runners-up, Los Angeles Galaxy would earn a berth into the 2000 CONCACAF Champions' Cup, where they would finish as the eventual champions. To date, it was the last time an American soccer club won a CONCACAF club competition, and the first time until 2011 an American soccer club reached the finals of an American soccer club competition. In the Cup, the Galaxy would oust United in the semifinals.
In MLS Cup play, Galaxy would reach the finals again in 2001, where they would, once again lose in the final, falling to their California Clasico rivals, San Jose Earthquakes. It was not until the following season that the Galaxy would win their first-ever MLS Cup championship, defeating New England Revolution, the club would also win their second championship three years later, again, against New England.