1998 Club by Club
A FIRST FOR THE USA: D.C. United became the first-ever club from the USA to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup, defeating CD Toluca of Mexico 1-0 in the final at RFK Stadium on August 16,1998.
United was just the second U.S. club to reach the final in the 35 times the cup has been contested since 1960, after Los Angeles Galaxy lost to Cruz Azul of Mexico 5-3 last year. United also became the first U.S. club to win a continental championship.
Then, in December, United became the first U.S. club to win the Interamerican Cup, winning 2-1 on aggregate against CR Vasco da Cama.
THE RECORD: United has played eight matches in international competition, the historic 2-0 victon/ against Vasco da Cama the first away from RFK Stadium. The first six were all in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, before the first leg of the Interamerican Cup on Nov. 14.
In addition, United has played a pair of friendlies at RFK Stadium against international opponents: a 2-1 victory against CD Luis Angel Firpo (El Salvador) in 1996, and a 1-1 draw with Leeds United AFC (England) in 1997.
CUP-HUNTING: United has played for five international cups, having won three. In 1997, United opened the season with two preseason friendlies in Asia, a cup awarded to winner of each. United lost to Nagoya Grampus Eight of Japan 3-1 in Sanwa Bank Cup, before defeating Instant-Diet FC of Hong Kong 7-1 in the Carnival of Champions. United then finished third in their first appearance in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Then United won both the CONCACAF Champions Cup and Interamerican Cups.
AT EAST CAPITOL STREET: United won 14 of 16 league matches at RFK stadium last season, nine in full time and five in shootout taking 32 of a possible 48 points. The Black-and-Red lost in regulation time at home for the first time this season in their penultimate match, 3-1 to the Miami Fusion. In all competitions, United lost just once in full time in 19 home matches.
More impressively United has never been shutout at home in MLS play, and only twee in 66 matches in all competitions. The only times United has been shutout at East Capitol Street came in the 1997 CONCACAF Champions Cup when United lost 1-0 to Los Angeles Galaxy in the semifinal, and in the first leg of the Interamerican Cup 1-0 to Vasco da Gama.
United lost their first point at RFK Stadium this season with the shootout loss to Dallas June 7. The Black-and-Red won their first eight matches this season at East Capitol Street, five in regulation time and three in shootout.
A year ago, United didn't lose in regulation time at RFK Stadium in their first 14 league matches, losing three in shootout. However, they lost their final two league matches in full time. In 1996, United won 11 league matches at home, losing one by shootout.
PLAYING IN OCTOBER: When D.C. United clinched a playoff spot last season, they were the earliest (chronologically) to do so in MLS history. United's 1-0 defeat of Dallas 1-0 on August 7 beat by 10 days Tampa Bay's clinching in the inaugural season of 1996. United clinched in their 24th game, equaling the Mutiny's mark that season.
UNITED'S RECORD: Technically United and Los Angeles Galaxy set a league record last season with 24 wins, surpassing United's mark of 21 wins a year ago.
But Los Angeles was 10 points ahead in the true indicator of a team's record - their points won -with 68 through 32 matches. United finished on 58 points, three more than their league-high of last year (17 regulation-time wins, 4 in shootout). Tampa Bay Mutiny's 58 points in 1996 (19 full-time wins, 1 in shootout) was previously the best record in MLS history.
HOLDING FIRM: United's loss to Miami on Sept 13 was the first in nearly three months, since a 3-1 loss June 25 away to the Colorado Rapids. In the 13 matches in all competitions in between, United saw just two matches go to a shootout, winning one and losing one, allowing just eight goals while scoring 32, posting seven shutouts. In nine league matches over the period. United allowed the eight goals and posted four shutouts.
NO TIES HERE: United played a club record 10 league matches which ended in a regulation tie and went to a shootout last season. United took seven of the 10 shootouts. A year ago, United played in eight shootouts, going 4-4. In 1996, United was 1-3 in the post-match deciders.
EVER-PRESENT: With Ben Olsen's ban for the final match of the season, United had no ever-present players during the league season. Olsen had played in each of United's first 31 matches, starting 24, before being forced to sit out the finale after receiving a red card in the 35th minute Sept. 19 v. Miami.
BREATHING ROOM: On July 1, United led the Eastern Conference by just four points and were feeling pressure from the MetroStars and Columbus Crew. But over the next month, United opened up their lead to 13 points. A look at the move in the standings over the month:
IN THE NICK OF TIME: A year ago, United had a trend of late goals to decide matches. That was again the case this season, with 15 of United's 74 regular-season goals coming in the final quarter-hour - nearly the same record as last season.
Last season, 15 of United's 63 regular season goals came in the final 15 minutes, including eight game-winners and three equalizers.
UNITED'S STARS: Eight D.C. United players - the most among the 12 MLS teams - played in the 1998 All-Star Came held August 2 in Orlando.
Five players played for the MLS USA team, which ran out 6-1 winners against the MLS World team, comprised of the league's international players. United had five starters selected through fan balloting, the only club to have multiple starters named for each team - Marco Etcheverry, Jaime Moreno and Geoff Aunger to the MLS World team, and John Harkes and Eddie Pope to the MLS U.S. team. In addition, Bruce Arena was an All-star coach for the second consecutive year, coaching the winning U.S. side.
Only Eddie Pope played the entire 90 minutes, with each of United's other players seeing 45 minutes of action. United's stars figured in just one goal, the USA's fifth, but it was well-taken. Jeff Agoos hit a cross from the right first-time, but it rebounded off a defender. Roy Lassiter crushed the rebound from eight yards out giving Thomas Ravelli no chance as he put it under the crossbar.