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The 1996 Major League Soccer season was the inaugural season of Major League Soccer. It was also the 84th season of FIFA-sanctioned soccer, and the 18th with a national first-division league, in the United States and Canada.

1996 Major League Soccer season
Season1996
MLS CupD.C. United (1st title)
Supporters' ShieldTampa Bay Mutiny (1st shield)
Matches played160
Goals scored539 (3.37 per match)
Top goalscorerRoy Lassiter
(27 goals)
Longest winning runLos Angeles Galaxy
Games: 12
(04/13 – 06/30)
Longest losing runColumbus Crew
Games: 6
(05/15 – 06/22)
Highest attendanceLos Angeles Galaxy
Season: 462,650
Game Avg.: 28,916
Lowest attendanceColorado Rapids
Season: 163,413
Game Avg.: 10,213
Total attendance2,785,001
Average attendance17,406
1997

Contents

OverviewEdit

Preparation for first seasonEdit

Major League Soccer had originally intended to begin competitive action in 1995. Various difficulties forced the league to postpone its first season until 1996. In preparation for its first season, the league began signing what it called marque players, beginning with Tab Ramos on January 3, 1995.[1] Beginning in October 1995, the league apportioned the marque players in the 1996 MLS Inaugural Allocations.[2] Each team received two national team and two foreign players in the allocation.[3] The league then invited about 250 players to a tryout the second week of January 1996 on the campus of UC Irvine.[4] On February 6 and 7, 1996, the league held its 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft in which the ten teams selected 160 players over sixteen rounds. The Columbus Crew selected Brian McBride with the first pick of the draft. On March 4, 1996, the league then held the 1996 MLS College Draft followed by the 1996 MLS Supplemental Draft later that day. Despite the numerous drafts, the teams were not obligated to sign only players from the drafts.

Pre-seasonEdit

The preseason began the first week of March. The teams reduced their rosters to twenty-two players by March 25 and had to make a final roster reduction to eighteen by April 15.[5] The teams had a $1,200,000 salary cap with no player allowed to receive more than $192,500. In order to promote American players, teams were limited to five foreigners on the roster.[6]

SeasonEdit

The teams played thirty-two games each. Each win was worth three points, a loss counted for zero and a shootout win earned a team one point. Fear of alienating fans with tied games had led the league to adopting the shootout when games ended even. The league also adopted a count down clock instead of running clock, unlike IFAB's standards, but did it away starting with MLS Cup 1999. The league also divided the teams equally into two conferences – Eastern and Western. The league began its first season on Saturday, April 6, 1996, when the San Jose Clash hosted D.C. United at Spartan Stadium. ESPN carried the game live which the Clash won on a goal by Eric Wynalda. That goal was selected as the 1996 MLS Goal of the Year. The regular season ended on September 22. The playoffs began two days later.

TeamsEdit

StandingsEdit

Eastern ConferenceEdit

Pos Team Pld W L SOW GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 32 19 12 1 66 51 +15 58 Playoffs
2 D.C. United 32 15 16 1 62 56 +6 46
3 NY/NJ MetroStars 32 12 17 3 45 47 −2 39
4 Columbus Crew 32 11 17 4 59 60 −1 37
5 New England Revolution 32 9 17 6 43 56 −13 33
Source: MLS

Western ConferenceEdit

Pos Team Pld W L SOW GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 Los Angeles Galaxy 32 15 13 4 59 49 +10 49 Playoffs
2 Dallas Burn 32 12 15 5 50 48 +2 41
3 Kansas City Wiz 32 12 15 5 61 63 −2 41
4 San Jose Clash 32 12 17 3 50 50 0 39
5 Colorado Rapids 32 9 21 2 44 59 −15 29
Source: MLS

Overall standingsEdit

Pos Team Pld W L SOW GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 Tampa Bay Mutiny (X) 32 19 12 1 66 51 +15 58
2 Los Angeles Galaxy 32 15 13 4 59 49 +10 49 1997 CONCACAF Champions' Cup[a]
3 D.C. United (C) 32 15 16 1 62 56 +6 46
4 Dallas Burn 32 12 15 5 50 48 +2 41
5 Kansas City Wiz 32 12 15 5 61 63 −2 41
6 San Jose Clash 32 12 17 3 50 50 0 39
7 NY/NJ MetroStars 32 12 17 3 45 47 −2 39
8 Columbus Crew 32 11 17 4 59 60 −1 37
9 New England Revolution 32 9 17 6 43 56 −13 33
10 Colorado Rapids 32 9 21 2 44 59 −15 29
Source: MLS
(C) Champion; (X) Supporters' Shield winner.
Notes:
  1. ^ Qualified as 1996 MLS Cup finalists

MLS Cup PlayoffsEdit

BracketEdit

  Conference Semifinals Conference Finals MLS Cup '96
                                   
  E1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 2 1 4  
E4 Columbus Crew 0 2 1  
  E1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 1 1 x  
Eastern Conference
  E2 D.C. United 4 2 x  
E2 D.C. United 2 (5) 1 2
  E3 NY/NJ MetroStars *(pen.) 3 (6)* 0 1  
    E2 D.C. United (aet) 3
  W1 Los Angeles Galaxy 2
  W1 Los Angeles Galaxy 0 2 2  
W4 San Jose Clash 1 0 0  
  W1 Los Angeles Galaxy *(pen.) 2 2 (3)* x
Western Conference
  W3 Kansas City Wiz 1 1 (1) x  
W2 Dallas Burn 2 2 2 (2)
  W3 Kansas City Wiz *(pen.) 3 1 3 (3)*  
  • Best of Three series winners will advance.

Conference semifinalsEdit

Eastern Conference

New York/New Jersey MetroStars2–2
6–5 (SO)
D.C. United
de Ávila   38'
Savarese   75'
Díaz Arce   24'
Moreno   56'
  • D.C. United wins series 2–1, advances to Conference finals.

Columbus Crew0–2Tampa Bay Mutiny
Lassiter   82'87'
Attendance: 20,807
Referee: Brian Hall
Tampa Bay Mutiny1–2Columbus Crew
Lassiter   26' Paz   1'
McBride   58'
Tampa Bay Mutiny4–1Columbus Crew
Vásquez   3'
Lassiter   41'58'
Pittman   55'
McBride   35'
  • Tampa Bay Mutiny wins series 2 – 1, advances to Conference finals.

Western Conference

Kansas City Wiz3–2Dallas Burn
Johnston   16'
McKeon   79'
Preki   89'
Elliott   21'
Ashton   25'
Dallas Burn2–1Kansas City Wiz
Kreis   5'
Washington   32'
Preki   30'
Attendance: 10,125
Dallas Burn2–2
2–3 (SO)
Kansas City Wiz
Sánchez   27'
Elliott   66'
Chung   41'
Takawira   62'
Attendance: 9,802
Referee: Rich Grady
  • Kansas City Wiz wins series 2–1, advances to Conference finals.

San Jose Clash1–0Los Angeles Galaxy
Ianni   36'
Los Angeles Galaxy2–0San Jose Clash
Fraser   84'
Hurtado   90'
Los Angeles Galaxy2–0San Jose Clash
Hurtado   31'
Cienfuegos   36' (pen.)
  • Los Angeles Galaxy wins series 2–1, advances to Conference finals.

Conference finalsEdit

Eastern Conference

D.C. United4–1Tampa Bay Mutiny
Díaz Arce   36'58'60'
Rammel   54'
Lassiter   42'
Attendance: 23,566
Referee: Kevin Stott
Tampa Bay Mutiny1–2D.C. United
Ralston   14' Williams   49'
Díaz Arce   82'
  • D.C. United wins series 2–0, advances to MLS Cup '96.

Western Conference

Los Angeles Galaxy2–1Kansas City Wiz
Armas   48'
Vanney   57'
Preki   52'
Attendance: 25,212
Referee: Brian Hall
Kansas City Wiz1–1
1–3 (SO)
Los Angeles Galaxy
Preki   69' Vanney   76'
  • Los Angeles Galaxy wins series 2–0, advances to MLS Cup '96.

MLS CupEdit

Los Angeles Galaxy2–3 (a.e.t.)D.C. United
Hurtado   5'
Armas   56'
Sanneh   72'
Medved   81'
Pope   94'
Attendance: 34,643
Weather: Rain, 44 °F

Player awardsEdit

Weekly awardsEdit

Week Player of the Week Club
Week 1   Eric Wynalda San Jose Clash
Week 2   Brian McBride Columbus Crew
Week 3   Marcelo Balboa Colorado Rapids
Week 4   Bo Oshoniyi Columbus Crew
Week 5   Giovanni Savarese MetroStars
Week 6   Brian McBride Columbus Crew
Week 7   Jorge Campos Los Angeles Galaxy
Week 8   Preki Kansas City Wiz
Week 9   John Doyle San Jose Clash
Week 10   Eduardo Hurtado Los Angeles Galaxy
Week 11   Mark Dodd Dallas Burn
Week 12   Mark Chung Kansas City Wiz
Week 13   Tony Meola MetroStars
Week 14   Raúl Díaz Arce D.C. United
Week 15   Paul Bravo San Jose Clash
Week 16   Cobi Jones Los Angeles Galaxy
Week 17   Joe-Max Moore New England Revolution
Week 18   Tony Meola MetroStars
Week 19   Adrián Paz Columbus Crew
Week 20   Marco Etcheverry D.C. United
Week 21   Brad Friedel Columbus Crew
Week 22   Brian Maisonneuve Columbus Crew
Week 23   Frank Yallop Tampa Bay Mutiny
Week 24   Brad Friedel Columbus Crew

Monthly awardsEdit

Month Player of the Month Club
April   Mauricio Cienfuegos Los Angeles Galaxy
May   Carlos Valderrama Tampa Bay Mutiny
June   Eduardo Hurtado Los Angeles Galaxy
July   Jason Kreis Dallas Burn
August   Marco Etcheverry D.C. United
September   Brad Friedel Columbus Crew

End of season awardsEdit

Award Player Club
Most Valuable Player   Carlos Valderrama Tampa Bay Mutiny
Scoring Champion   Roy Lassiter (58 points) Tampa Bay Mutiny
Defender of the Year   John Doyle San Jose Clash
Goalkeeper of the Year   Mark Dodd Dallas Burn
Rookie of the Year   Steve Ralston Tampa Bay Mutiny
Coach of the Year   Thomas Rongen Tampa Bay Mutiny
Goal of the Year   Eric Wynalda San Jose Clash

Player statisticsEdit

Top goal scorersEdit

Rank Player Club Goals
1   Roy Lassiter Tampa Bay Mutiny 27
2   Raúl Díaz Arce D.C. United 23
3   Eduardo Hurtado Los Angeles Galaxy 21
4   Preki Kansas City Wiz 18
5   Brian McBride Columbus Crew 17
6   Steve Rammel D.C. United 14
7   Paul Bravo San Jose Clash 13
  Jason Kreis Dallas Burn
  Giovanni Savarese NY/NJ MetroStars
  Vitalis Takawira Kansas City Wiz

Goalkeeping leadersEdit

(Minimum 1,000 minutes)

No. Player Club Games
Played
Minutes Goals
Against
GA
Average
Wins Loses
1   Jorge Campos Los Angeles Galaxy 24 2025 27 1.20 13 8
2   Dave Salzwedel San Jose Clash 14 1168 17 1.31 9 4
3   Tony Meola NY/NJ MetroStars 29 2610 38 1.31 14 15
4   Mark Dodd Dallas Burn 31 2776 45 1.46 17 14
5   Mark Simpson D.C. United 15 1260 21 1.50 7 6
6   Mark Dougherty Tampa Bay Mutiny 28 2520 47 1.68 17 11
7   Aidan Heaney New England Revolution 19 1534 29 1.70 8 9
8   Tom Liner San Jose Clash 20 1712 33 1.73 7 12
9   Garth Lagerwey Kansas City Wiz 23 1959 38 1.75 12 10
10   Jim St. Andre New England Revolution 15 1346 27 1.81 6 9
11   Chris Woods Colorado Rapids 23 2070 43 1.87 8 15
12   Jeff Causey D.C. United 19 1620 35 1.94 9 10
13   Bo Oshoniyi Columbus Crew 13 1170 33 2.54 3 10

AttendanceEdit

Club Games Season totals Game average
Los Angeles Galaxy 16 462,650 28,916
NY/NJ MetroStars 16 382,360 23,898
New England Revolution 16 304,392 19,025
Columbus Crew 16 303,202 18,950
San Jose Clash 16 275,712 17,232
Dallas Burn 16 256,173 16,011
D.C. United 16 244,199 15,262
Kansas City Wiz 16 206,044 12,878
Tampa Bay Mutiny 16 186,856 11,679
Colorado Rapids 16 163,413 10,213
Total 160 2,785,001 17,406

CoachesEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit