Five minutes into Sunday’s MLS championship game, it seemed like the Galaxy was going to enjoy the terrible weather.
Eduardo Hurtado scored on a header and promptly slid belly-first into the corner of the field with several soggy teammates.
But Galaxy teammate Robin Fraser knew better.
“No way was I going to get my shirt any more wet,” he said.
He was one of the few smart ones. By the end of the game, the short-sleeved United players were so unaffected by the storm that they celebrated on the field for nearly 30 minutes.
While the Galaxy rushed off.
“A lot of our guys have never seen anything like this,” said defender Mark Semioli, who also did not slide with Hurtado.
Indeed, New Yorkers Semioli and Chris Armas were the only Galaxy starters reared somewhere other than warm climates.
Seven of 11 United starters, however, were from places where there are winters.
MLS’s first championship game was off to a bad start Sunday when, despite a driving rainstorm, Foxboro Stadium workers removed the tarp from the grass field two hours before the game.
“They said if they waited any longer, it would get too heavy,” one MLS official said.
In a banquet held here Saturday, the MLS announced what may be the strangest award in the history of professional sports.
In the league’s inaugural season, it named a Rookie of the Year.
He was Steve Ralston of the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
Don’t even ask.
Other award winners: Tampa Bay’s Carlos Valderrama was named most valuable player, Thomas Rongen, also of Tampa Bay, was named coach of the year and the top goaltender was Dallas’ Mark Dodd. John Doyle of the San Jose Clash was named defender of the year.
On Sunday morning, officials were correctly predicting that the crowd at the mid-afternoon game would be pro-Washington.
The reason? They had received reports that major roadside doughnut shops on Interstate 95 from Washington--about an eight-hour drive--were sold out.
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MLS CUP ’96
D.C. United 3, Galaxy 2 (OT)
Galaxy: 1 1 0--2
D.C. United: 0 2 1--1
First half--1. Galaxy, Hurtado (Cienfuegos), 5th minute.
Second half--2. Galaxy, Armas, 56th minute. 3. D.C. United, Sanneh (Etcheverry), 73rd minute. 4. Was, Medved, 82nd minute.
Overtime--5. D.C. United, Pope (Etcheverry), 94th minute.
Goalies-- Galaxy, Campos (7 shots-4 saves); D.C. United, Simpson (4-2).
Total shots--Galaxy 5, D.C. United 14. Shots on goals--Galaxy 4, D.C. United 7. Saves--Galaxy 4, D.C. United 2. Fouls committed--Galaxy 20, D.C. United 16. Offsides--Galaxy 6, D.C. United 5. Corner kicks--Galaxy 3, D.C. United 7.
Yellow cards--Etcheverry, D.C. United, 30th minute; Hurtado, Galaxy, 41; Peay, D.C. United, 53; Noamouz, 74.
GALAXY--Jorge Campos, Mark Semioli, Robin Fraser, Greg Vanney, Jorge Salcedo (Curt Onalfo, 77th minute), Chris Armas, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Cobi Jones, Harut Karapetyan (Ante Razov, 76), Eduardo Hurtado, Ante Razov.
D.C. UNITED--Mark Simpson, Clint Peay, Eddie Pope, Jeff Agnos, Mano Gori (Shawn Medved, 70th), Richie Williams, John Maessner (Tony Sanneh, 59), John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry, Jamie Moreno, Raul Diaz Arce.