When San Jose visit United Saturday, it will be the last time a Western Conference team plays at RFK Stadium. Since 1996, the Black-and-Red have hosted over 150 matches at RFK against western-based MLS teams. Take a stroll down memory lane from some of the most iconic inter-conference showdowns in the District.
May 1, 1996 vs. Dallas
United earned their first-ever home win against a western side, defeating the Dallas Burn 3-1. Raúl Díaz Arce scored the opening goal on a penalty kick and Marco Etcheverry and Steve Rammel each added a goal in the second half to push the Black-and-Red to a historic win in front of 11,253 first-year United fans at RFK.
July 7, 1996 vs. Dallas
A little over two months later, Diaz Arce tormented the Burn again, scoring four goals in the match, becoming the first player in MLS history to complete the feat. Diaz Arce scored goals two, three and four in a 15-minute span in the second half, solidifying a 6-1 United victory, the club’s largest margin of victory ever. The Salvadoran then repeated his four-goal performance less than a year later against another Western Conference team, albeit in Colorado. Díaz Arce’s United record for most goals in a single match still stands today.
October 26, 1997 vs. Colorado
Perhaps the Black-and-Red’s most important game at RFK in their 21-year history, United topped the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in MLS Cup ‘97, securing their second consecutive MLS Cup title. Jaime Moreno started the scoring in the 37th minute, sending a record-breaking crowd of 57,431 into a frenzy. Tony Sanneh scored the eventual game-winner, heading in a John Harkes’ cross in the second half. It was the first and only time a D.C. professional sports team clinched a championship in the District.
August 9, 2007 vs. Los Angeles
While this game might be most remembered as David Beckham’s first MLS match, it was United who stole the show at RFK, spoiling the English star’s debut with a 1-0 victory. Luciano Emilio scored the game’s lone goal, beating LA goalkeeper Joe Cannon with a blast from outside of the box. With 46,686 people in attendance, Beckham entered the match in the 72nd minute, but was unable to make a major difference on the pitch.
March 28, 2015 vs. Los Angeles
The Black-and-Red got off to a red-hot start in 2015, winning three of their first four matches, including a dramatic 1-0 victory over the Galaxy at RFK. Chris Pontius scored the winner in stoppage time, heading the ball in at far post while battling a defender to give United the win. The match was part of a 20-game undefeated streak at home, a club record.