Three Former Bruins To Play For MLS Cup 2004
Nov. 7, 2004
Former UCLA soccer players Jimmy Conrad (1996-97), Matt Taylor (2000-03) and Nick Rimando (1997-99) will be returning to Southern California for MLS Cup 2004 when the Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United square off on Nov. 14 at 12:30 pm at The Home Depot Center.
Conrad and Taylor helped the Wizards return to the MLS Championship game for the first time since winning in 2000. Conrad, a finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year award, led the Kansas City defense to a 2-0 shutout over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference Finals on Nov. 5. He will be seeking his second MLS Cup, having won with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. Taylor, UCLA's leading goal scorer in 2002 and 2003 and the 2003 Pac-10 Player of the Year, has yet to see action in the playoffs but played in 17 games during the regular season, scoring three goals and one assist.
Rimando, an All-American in 1998, was the hero in D.C.'s 4-3 penalty kick shootout decision in the Eastern Conference Final against the New England Revolution on Nov. 6. Rimando stopped two PKs, including the last kick from Clint Dempsey that put D.C. United into their fifth MLS Cup but first since 1999. Rimando, who has battled knee injuries all season, made seven saves in the game, including six during extra time. His performance negated an equally fine performance by Revolution keeper Matt Reis (UCLA, 1994-97), who also had two penalty kick stops.
All three players helped UCLA win NCAA Championships - Conrad and Rimando in 1997, and Taylor in 2002. Their participation in the title game continues UCLA's constant presence at MLS Cup. A Bruin has played in every MLS championship game since the league's inception in 1996.
MLS Cup will be the first of two soccer championships held at The Home Depot Center in the next month. UCLA will host the NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup on Dec. 10-12.