Back in 1997, D.C. United had an early season road trip to Denver to face the Colorado Rapids, the worst team in MLS during the previous, inaugural season. The defending MLS Cup champs made sure the Rapids continued to look like Wooden Spoon favorites, taking them to the woodshed to the tune of 5-2. Raul Diaz Arce, who left MLS in 2001 in second spot on the all-time goalscoring charts (he is now tied with Brian Ching for 12th, on 82 goals), scored four of United's five goals, with Jaime Moreno providing an intermezzo after Diaz Arce's hat trick and before the Salvadoran's final delicious tally. Marco Etcheverry was diabolical as ever, finding space to shred the Colorado defense time and again. It should be noted that the scoreline, lopsided as it is, actually managed to flatter the Rapids.
When you watch the video, you'll notice some things that would be right at home in 2014 and some things that, not so much. Dave Johnson on the call fits right in (as do the updated score graphics and count-up game clock, both of which were added to the re-airing this video must have been recorded from). The acres of space, both on the field and in the stands at Mile High Stadium, however, are relics of a bygone age. It's exceedingly rare in MLS to find defending as lackadaisical as you'll see in this video, and (United and the New England Revolution sadly notwithstanding) the days of MLS teams playing in front of marginally-filled, cavernous NFL stadiums are also long gone.
So take this walk down memory lane and enjoy the days when the Black-and-Red were lightyears ahead of the rest of the league. And then come back here and let us know what you take away from the video.