|Date||November 21, 1999|
|Venue||Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts, US|
|Man of the Match||Ben Olsen|
|Weather||Sunny, 63 °F (17 °C)|
MLS Cup 1999 was the fourth edition of the MLS Cup, the championship match of Major League Soccer (MLS), which decided the champion of the 1999 season. It took place on November 21, 1999, at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and was contested by D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy in a rematch of the inaugural final played at the same venue in 1996.
D.C. United defeated Los Angeles 2–0 with goals from Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno during the first half. 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. American referee Tim Weyland was selected to officiate the match. Christina Aguilera performed at the halftime show.
Route to the final
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. Fraser 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.
|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 ten-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 earned a berth for the 2000 CONCACAF Champions' Cup in California, where they would finish as the eventual champions after defeating United in the semifinals. To date, it was the last time an American soccer club won a CONCACAF club competition, with the closest coming with Real Salt Lake finishing as runners-up in 2011. As continental champion, the Galaxy were set to play in the 2001 FIFA Club World Championship in Spain, but the tournament was canceled after the marketing firm responsible declared bankruptcy.
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.
- "MLS Cup 1999 – D.C. United 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 0". Major League Soccer. September 30, 2011.
- alex Yannis (November 21, 1999). "Galaxy and United To Battle in Final". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- Alex Yannis (November 22, 1999). "It's No Contest in M.L.S. As United Takes 3rd Title". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- Dave Litterer. "The Year in American Soccer, 1999". The American Soccer History Archives. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- "1999 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- "Standings: 1999 Regular Season". Major League Soccer. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- Jeff Green (December 19, 1999). "Goalkeeper's blunder puts MLS Cup out of reach". Sports Illustrated. CNN. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "Top MLS defender spends game on sidelines". Sports Illustrated. CNN. December 19, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "Top 50 MLS Cup Moments: #49 Broken Dreams". Major League Soccer. October 2, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- Michael Lewis (December 19, 1999). "United celebrates victory with cigars". Sports Illustrated. CNN. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "Rain doesn't dampen parade: Nation's capital honors MLS dynasty United". Sports Illustrated. December 19, 1999. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
- French, Scott (February 19, 2016). "How a FIFA scandal killed the 2001 LA Galaxy's Club World Cup dreams". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Nation's capital honors MLS dynasty United". Sports Illustrated. CNN. December 19, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "MLS claims to be ahead of its plan after four years". Sports Illustrated. CNN. December 19, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "MLS teams waive goodbye to players". Sports Illustrated. CNN. November 27, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "United sets standard of excellence for MLS". Sports Illustrated. CNN. December 10, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- Michael Lewis (December 19, 1999). "Etcheverry to power D.C. in potential classic". Sports Illustrated. CNN. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- Michael Lewis (November 20, 1999). "A look at the headlines from MLS' fourth season". Sports Illustrated. CNN. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "Two first-half goals lift United to MLS Cup". Sports Illustrated. CNN. December 19, 1999. Retrieved June 3, 2011.