When D.C. United won the CONCACAF "Copa de Campeones" Sunday by beating C.D. Toluca F.C. of Mexico, 1-0, at RFK Stadium, it was a big deal for everyone involved.
By shutting out three straight opponents, one from Trinidad and two from Mexico, D.C. United, the best professional club in the United States, earned the right to call itself the best pro club in the region.And Ben Olsen of Middletown, Pa. - out of the University of Virginia, and a few years removed from his club days with Delaware County's FC Delco - had once again held his own.
"You never know how you're going to react when you step up a level," said Olsen, the youngest player in yesterday's game. "This is kind of my first championship ever, on a big stage."
His header into the left side of the net in the game's 11th minute, after a 35-yard pass from United captain Etcheverry, was waved off when Olsen was ruled offside. "Barely" offside.
In the game's last minutes, Toluca's final scoring chance was thwarted when Olsen was on the receiving end of a one-on-one challenge and took the ball away from Toluca's Croatian forward, Darko Vukic.
"He's full of energy," said D.C. United defender Eddie Pope, who scored the winner in the 41st minute after Toluca's goalkeeper was run into by a teammate and lost control of a free kick. "The scary thing is we haven't seen the best from Ben yet."
The last nine CONCACAF club champions had all come from Mexico or Costa Rica. With the victory, D.C. United qualifies for the hemisphere's club championship, against Barcelona of Ecuador or Vasco de Gama of Brazil. There also is a possibility that D.C. United will be picked to represent CONCACAF in a world club championship. FIFA is expected to approve such a tournament next month.
As for reports that he is about to be offered the job of U.S. national team coach, D.C. United coach Bruce Arena begged off, saying, "I'm not commenting on that."