Miscellaneous notes on the MLS Cup Final between D.C. United and
the Kansas City Wizards:
Kansas City set an MLS record with eight 1-0 victories this season. The previous high was six by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1999.
The Wizards' backline of Jose Burciaga Jr., Jimmy Conrad, Nick
Garcia, and Alex Zotinca played 1063 minutes together this season,
allowing only six goals during that time (regular- and postseason
combined)-an average of 0.51 per 90 minutes.
United outscored their opponents 34-21 with Alecko Eskandarian
and Jaime Moreno on the field together; the team was outscored 21-9 when
either or both were on the bench.
Bob Gansler was hired as Wizards coach in May 1999. His
current tenure is the longest of any head coach in MLS history.
D.C. United coach Peter Nowak could do something tomorrow
that hasn't been done in any major U.S. pro sports league in nearly 50
years-win a championship within two years of the end of his playing
career. Nowak retired following the 2002 season after five years with
the Chicago Fire.
The last coach to win a title that soon after the end of his playing
career was Alex Hannum, who retired as an NBA player after the 1956-57
season-when he was a player-coach for the St. Louis Hawks. The Hawks
won the NBA title under Hannum in 1958, his first season after retiring.
Since then, several coaches have won titles soon after retiring. Some
examples: Lenny Wilkens with the Sonics in 1979, four years after he
last played; and Frank Yallop last season with the Quakes, five years
after he last played in MLS. But no one since Hannum has won a title in
the first or second year after his retirement as a player.