Friday, August 16, 2013
16 August 1998 - Later, More Than 50,000 Claimed They Were There
Established in 1962, the Champions Cup (now known as the CONCACAF Champions League) is the federation's premier club competition, comparable in scope to the UEFA Champions League and South America's Copa Libertadores. For over thirty-five years, however, no team from the United States had ever won the competition. Indeed, none of them had even reached the final until the Los Angeles Galaxy managed it in 1997 (but lost to Cruz Azul).
As the reigning MLS Cup holders, DC United entered the 1998 competition in the quarterfinals. They didn't have to travel far, as DC's RFK Stadium hosted all of the remaining matches from that point forward, including the final, which saw United up against Toluca, the Mexican Primera División title holders.
A meager crowd of just 12,600 showed up, but the ones that did were rewarded with Eddie Pope's match-winner in the 41st minute.
DC has yet to return to the final, although other MLS teams have; the Galaxy won it in 2000 and Real Salt Lake finished as runners-up in 2011. Toluca, meanwhile, returned twice more, winning it in 2003.