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Washington Is To Host MLS Cup Game

February 23, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The MLS Cup is returning to RFK Stadium.

Washington beat out Tampa Bay for the right to hold this season’s Major League Soccer championship.

The title game drew a record 57,431 rain-soaked fans when it was first played in the nation’s capital in 1997. This year’s game will be played Oct. 15.

Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium had been considered the favorite for the game, but negotiations stalled because the University of South Florida was to play a football game there the day before. By the time the conflict was resolved, a deal with RFK was nearly complete.

``The Tampa bid was an outstanding package that made this an extremely difficult decision,″ MLS commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday.

The MLS Cup was played at Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium in 1996 and 1999. The 1998 game was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

But the 1997 game at RFK drew the largest crowd for any MLS playoff game. D.C. United, playing in its home stadium, defeated Colorado 2-1.

D.C. United has yet to complete a deal to play its home games at RFK this season. Although negotiations have been slow, both sides are certain an agreement will be in place before the regular season begins March 18.

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