The Scene: The 2006 MLS Cup Final may only be so high on this list due to its recent relevancy, but I think it will stand the test of time. Before a crowd of 22,000 fans at Pizza Hut Park, the Houston Dynamo (an expansion team) beat the New England Revolution in the first (and only) Final to go to penalty kicks. It was a great game and the closest Final ever.
The Build-Up: Both the Revs and the Dynamo had finished 2nd in their conferences after having good seasons. The Revs had barely escaped the Fire (on PKs) in the first playoff round, while Houston had barely edged Chivas. Both teams had looked good in the Semis and the Final matchup would be one of the most evenly matched in history.
The Game: The game itself was a defensive masterpiece by both sides. Neither team scored during regulation or in the first overtime period. In double OT, Twellman notched a goal in the 113th minute, and NER’s long nightmare looked to be over. But, Ching scored one minute later. After Ching made his penalty and Heaps missed, HOU had won the shootout 4-3 and hoisted the trophy.
The Legacy: This game was significant for so many reasons it’s hard to list them all here. It was the most exciting game in Cup Final history in my opinion, and still the only one to come down to penalties. It also featured an expansion team (sort of) winning the MLS crown. Finally, it was the first of HOU’s back-to-back titles over the Revs, and the third of NER’s four Cup Final losses over a six year period. I think it deserves the #2 spot on this list.