On this day in 2002: DC United legend Marco Etcheverry scores free kick golazo

Marco Etcheverry - close up

Marco Etcheverry produced plenty of magical moments during his eight years with D.C. United, but few topped his free kick from 18 years ago on March 30, 2002.

After a season-opening loss at the LA Galaxy, the Black-and-Red returned home to face Eastern Conference rival Chicago Fire. Etcheverry, the team’s captain, was surely aware of the need for a bounce-back result.

So on a free kick in the 39th minute, the Bolivian midfielder stood over the dead-ball situation alongside Lazo Alavanja. That was only a decoy, though, as Etcheverry went across his body with a curling strike to the top corner that caught Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton leaning in the wrong direction.

Etcheverry’s strike got the ball rolling, with teammate Abdul Thompson Conteh also scoring in the 46th minute for a 2-0 win. As electrifying as that moment was, D.C. finished last in the Eastern Conference and bottom of the Supporters’ Shield table in 2002.

During his storied MLS career, Etcheverry scored 34 goals and handed out 101 assists across 191 games. He helped D.C. win MLS Cups in 1996, 1997 and 1999, plus was named MLS MVP in 1998. 

Outside of MLS, Etcheverry had 13 goals in 71 appearances for Bolivia’s national team. He also featured for storied South American clubs such as Colo-Colo, Bolivar and America de Cali.