For legendary United midfielder Marco Etcheverry, one cold, rainy night at RFK Stadium stands out more than any other—the 1997 MLS Cup between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids.
For the second year in a row, the Black-and-Red lifted the MLS Cup, but not after some classic championship drama at RFK. Etcheverry, Jaime Moreno, and Raul Diaz Arce drove the attack like they did so many times for United, with the home team threatening for much of the first half. The Black-and-Red broke through in the 37th minute after a D.C. counterattack beat Colorado's offside press. Etcheverry flicked a ball to Tony Sanneh on the wing, Sanneh flew up the right side and sent a cross to Moreno, and Moreno calmly collected, took a touch into space, and fired a shot into the bottom left corner.
Sanneh doubled United's lead in the 67th minute after a failed corner-kick clearance from Colorado allowed the Black-and-Red another opportunity in the final third. A Rapids defender attempted to head United's corner away, but the ball ended up on the foot of Richie Williams, who fed John Harkes on the left side of the box. Harkes escaped his defender and sent a perfectly-placed ball to Sanneh just outside the six-yard box, and Sanneh scored off the header.
Despite the deficit, the Rapids refused to go down without a fight. The visitors finally got on the board in the 75th minute when Adrian Paz fired a rocket into the upper left corner, leaving United goalkeeper Scott Garlick with little chance of making a save. Colorado's goal was little more than consolation, though, as D.C. held on to repeat as MLS Cup champions.
The win was one of the first major MLS victories witnessed at RFK Stadium, as Etcheverry and co. celebrated their second title in as many seasons in front of 57,431 D.C. fans.