Eskandarian '19, '23
Burciaga Jr. 6'
2004 Club by Club
After winning three of the first four MLS Cups, four years without a trip to the final was a long time to wait for D.C. United, particularly after seeing the San Jose Earthquakes come within one title of tying D.C.’s trophy haul. But 2004 would be the end of the Capital Club’s drought, as United defeated the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 in the final.
It was an ignominious end to what had been a stellar season in KC. The Wizards ended their campaign tied with the Columbus Crew – who finished the season on an 18-game unbeaten run – on both points and goal differential, and lost out on the Supporters’ Shield only because they had scored two fewer goals than the Eastern Conference leaders. Josh Wolff had a rebound campaign with the Wizards after a disappointing 2003 season, his 10 goals and 7 assists tying him for fifth in the scoring title chase.
The Scoring Championship would also end in a tie. With the winner calculated by number of points scored – two points for a goal and one point for an assist - the New England Revolution’s Pat Noonan and the MetroStars’ Amado Guevara each finished the season with 30. Their efforts would help push both players’ teams into the postseason. Indeed, New England earned a playoff berth at the expense of the 2003 MLS Cup finalist Chicago Fire only by virtue of goal differential.
Guevara’s season, meanwhile, would earn the Honduran Most Valuable Player honors. But the Revolution had an award-winner of their own – Rookie of the Year and future US national team superstar Clint Dempsey. But Dempsey’s wasn’t the only future national-teamer who began his MLS career in 2004, as D.C. United signed 14-year-old wunderkind Freddy Adu, who became the youngest-ever player and goalscorer in league history. The Earthquakes’ Brian Ching and Dallas Burn’s Eddie Johnson also emerged as top predators in front of the net, as they led the league with 12 strikes apiece.
The reigning champion Earthquakes had a down year – 38 points to earn fourth place in the West – but still made the playoffs and looked set to advance to the Conference Final after a 2-0 win over the Wizards in their first leg matchup. The Wizards would storm back to win 3-0 in the reverse leg on their way to the Final. The Revs, despite bouncing the Shield-winning Crew in the first round, would ultimately lose out on a trip to a second MLS Cup in three years after falling to D.C. United in an Eastern Conference Final that many still consider to be the greatest game in MLS history. New England were forced to come back three times, their third goal to finally tie the score coming in the 85th minute courtesy of Noonan. The match would go to penalties after 120 minutes, with both teams going three-for-five to start the shootout. Though Matt Reis recorded two saves, United's Nick Rimando would answer on the last kick of the game, saving against Dempsey to win the game for D.C. and send the three-time champions to their chance for a fourth against Kansas City.
Most Valuable Player: Amado Guevara – MetroStars
Goalkeeper of the Year: Joe Cannon – Colorado Rapids
Scoring Champion: Amado Guevara/Pat Noonan – MetroStars/New England Revolution, 30 points each
Rookie of the Year: Clint Dempsey – New England Revolution
Defender of the Year: Robin Fraser – Columbus Crew
Goal of the Year: 2004: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes vs. D.C. United – August 2, 2004
Coach of the Year: Greg Andrulis – Columbus Crew