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Firsts and lasts at RFK Stadium

United’s tenure at RFK Stadium came to a bittersweet end on Oct. 22 with their last-ever match at the historic venue. Before the Black-and-Red move into their new home at Audi Field next season, take a look back at some of the most historic goals, wins and shutouts at the stadium.  

First Goal - April 20, 1996

United scored their first goal at RFK Stadium in the home opener on April 20,1996. Despite falling 2-1 to Los Angeles, Raul Diaz Arce made history by scoring the first-ever D.C. United goal at the venue with a sublime first-time volley into the top right corner. The Salvadoran forward went on to become the second all-time leading scorer at RFK (behind Jaime Moreno) with 28 goals in four seasons with United.

Last Goal - Oct. 22, 2017

In the final match at RFK, marquee signing and young Designated Player Paul Arriola slotted in his first career MLS goal in the 44th minute. Luciano Acosta delivered a well-placed cross to an unmarked Arriola at the back post after a clever bit of build-up play from United. The finish earned Arriola MLS Goal of the Week honors, and despite falling 2-1 to the Red Bulls, Arriola’s volley gave fans one final goal celebration at RFK Stadium. 

First Win - May 1, 1996

Diaz Arce scored the first-ever goal at RFK in United's home opener, but the forward and the rest of the Black-and-Red were eager to tally their first win in front of their home fans. That first victory came when United played the Dallas Burn on May 1, 1996, in their second match at the stadium. Diaz Arce continued his scoring streak by finishing from the penalty spot to give United the lead, and while Dallas’ Washington Rodriguez equalized in the 43rd minute, Marco Etcheverry retook the lead for United by scoring his first career MLS goal in the 53rd. Steve Rammel then added a third in the 64th minute to earn the Black-and-Red’s first win at RFK Stadium and the first of many to come.

Last Win - Sept. 23, 2017

Four MLS Cups and four MLS Supporters’ Shields later, United won their final match at RFK Stadium on Sept. 23, 2017, against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes made the final pilgrimage as a Western Conference team to one of America’s most well-established soccer relics, but left with a heavy defeat compliments of the Black-and-Red. The teams battled through the first 45 minutes and entered halftime locked in a 0-0 stalemate, but the scoring floodgates opened in the second half. Forward Patrick Mullins proceeded to score four goals in 31 minutes to become the first player in MLS history to score four in a half, gifting United their final win at their original home.

First Shutout - July 12, 1996

As the pieces of the puzzle continued to come together in their inaugural year, the Black-and-Red defense earned their first clean sheet eight games into their tenure at RFK. The defensive grit clicked into overdrive on July 12, 1996, as goalkeeper Mark Simpson and the United backline earned a shutout win against the Tampa Bay Mutiny. That defensive intensity continued to grow throughout the season and ultimately helped United capture their first MLS Cup. 

Last Shutout - Sept. 23, 2017

Patrick Mullins' four-goal wonder game served as the perfect catalyst for a final win at RFK, but the 4-0 victory also encapsulated United’s defensive fortitude with the final shutout at the venue. Goalkeeper Steve Clark was acquired by the Black-and-Red on Aug. 17, 2017, and the goalkeeper earned his first career shutout for United in the rout. While Clark deserves praise for his performance in the net, the back line also limited San Jose's Chris Wondolowski's offense to only one shot on goal that night.