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Crew tops Fire, clinches MLS Cup berth


An ugly first half had the Columbus Crew looking like another Supporters Shield winner that would fall short of an MLS Cup title. An inspired second half reminded us how the Crew finished the regular season with the best record in the league.

Second-half goals from Chad Marshall and Eddie Gaven helped Columbus erase a 1-0 halftime deficit and give the Crew a 2-1 victory in the Eastern Conference final at Crew Stadium on Thursday night. The win sends Columbus to its first MLS Cup final, where the Crew will face the winner of Saturday’s Western Conference final between Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls.

What did you think of the match? Did you think it lived up to the hype? Disappointed to see the Fire play so poorly in the second half? Think Eddie Gaven was diving a little? Surprised to see Cuauhtemoc Blanco disappear in the second half? Can you see either RSL or the Red Bulls beating the Crew in the MLS Cup final?

Share your thoughts on the Crew’s Eastern Conference final victory in the comments section below.


  1. “Let me see if I got this straight,…Sigi attempts to congratulate Busch on a tremendous season and Busch tells Schmid to go F*&k himself.”

    That is Sigi’s version of the story which means you are only just repeating what was a second hand iteration on the ESPN broadcast.

    Truth is.. Sigi took the opportunity to hit back at Bushy for some of the remarks Bushy made in the press about Sigi when he cut the guy. Absolutely classless on his part.

    ..there’s two sides to this story… and Bushy is now being classy and keeping his mouth shut and not inflaming it.

  2. Congrats to Columbus. Schelotto is a (crafty) beast, and the teams has so far remained consistent, dominant, and in control.

    Look forward to the other conference final, and to the CUP.

  3. Al17 – my only complaint with Hamlett is the choices he makes during the game…. not to mention continually starting Mapp… outside of that, i would say he’s constructed a quality side, picked up some quality picks, and will continue to grow… i only hope he recognizes players not performing well (mapp) and start benching him to get him fired up….

  4. BrianK- its dumb b/c his class had nothing to do with him being “off-loaded”..

    i applaud Sigi on trying to congradulate Busch, but some wounds are too deep to drop at an instant….

    Busch (and the fire) just lost another Confrence finals with one of the most talented rosters we’ve had for some time…. he already had bad blood with Sigi… perhaps it wasnt the best time for Sigi to try to mend old wounds….

    i do not condone what busch may have said but i dont no condem him for saying it… emotions were flying and got the better of him….

    again, i say its dumb b/c it had nothing to do with why he was dropped from CLB…

  5. Dissapointed to hear about Summers last night. Anyone at Lucky Bar last night? Were they showing the game? I’m told there is a gastropub opening up in Columbia Heights (DC) that’ll show soccer as well.

  6. “Watching it I found myself hoping it was braodcast in Europe too (anyone know, as I believe some MLS games are shown on their euro network). It was on ESPN Desportes in Central and South America. It was a great advert for the league- tough, cup-final play, big moments, and REAL supporters from both sides. Sadly, it’s tough to sell playoff games (early on a weeknight) in MLS, but patience please. The crowd looked great on TV. This was a quality affair that will serve as an enticement to those players considering an MLS move.”

    They should move the Thursday night games to Friday Night, especially with the NFL on.

  7. “That was great MLS Cup game! I really enjoyed it. Oh..wait…there’s two more games? My bad.

    Posted by: Sigmund Freud”

    Right on. That was a GREAT cup game. Too bad we still have conferences.

  8. Watching it I found myself hoping it was braodcast in Europe too (anyone know, as I believe some MLS games are shown on their euro network). It was on ESPN Desportes in Central and South America. It was a great advert for the league- tough, cup-final play, big moments, and REAL supporters from both sides. Sadly, it’s tough to sell playoff games (early on a weeknight) in MLS, but patience please. The crowd looked great on TV. This was a quality affair that will serve as an enticement to those players considering an MLS move.

  9. Does anyone else think Busch looks like Coach Buzzcut from Beavis and Butthead. I can just hear him screaming, “Go ahead, kick me in the jimmy!” Anyway, congrats to the Crew. They were the better team on the night.

    Posted by: dolan | November 14, 2008 at 10:55 AM


    Damn, he does. LMAO!!! I’ve wondered for awhile who does he remind me of …

  10. Great match – my only complaint is that it was on a weeknight, otherwise I and several more Fire fans would have made the trip to C-Bus.

    Couple of Things:

    Those of you whining about calls and diving, give it a rest. Despite both teams being able to make claims about calls not going their way, calls didn’t determine the outcome of this match – thank goodness.

    To the Fire fan screaming how Hamlett is at best a #2 I say get a clue. He’s done more in one season with this team than any other coach in Fire history aside from Bob Bradley. We were the 2nd best team in the league and lost to the Best team in the league – I don’t like it but I’d prefer losing to the #1 team in the league as opposed to the last placed team in the league.

    People commenting on the Busch-Sigi incident should get a life. None of us were on the field nor do any of us know what it was about. There’s no love loss between the two, so only those two would have a clue as to what went down.

    Hopefully the second semi-final will be as exciting and I hope RSL makes it to the Finals. The Osorio getting a team into the Cup Final by way of the West is just flat out wrong but hey given the opportunity, the Energy Drink is making the most of it.

  11. Does anyone else think Busch looks like Coach Buzzcut from Beavis and Butthead. I can just hear him screaming, “Go ahead, kick me in the jimmy!” Anyway, congrats to the Crew. They were the better team on the night.

  12. Inpressive victory by Colombus, who owned the second half. The defense was solid and they have multiple weapons on offense. Their passing out of the back was questionable however. RBNY (Rojas, Van Den Berg, Richards) and RSL (Morales, Beckerman) have the midfield countering skill to make them pay. Chicago relied on Blanco too much.

    Don’t hand the Crew the Cup yet.

  13. Brett,…errr Jon Busch,…care to expalin why “#7 is the dumbest thing” you have read all day?

    Let me see if I got this straight,…Sigi attempts to congratulate Busch on a tremendous season and Busch tells Schmid to go F*&k himself.

    Whatever happened to being “proud and unbending in honest defeat”? Busch could have demonstated a little class and accepted Sigi’s congrats. Did it ever occur to Busch that maybe things worked out for the better? Busch ended up in Chicago in fine form and had a great season. It may not have worked out that way in Columbus had he been afforded the opportunity to hang around.

    Furthermore, Busch should have taken a page out of David Beckham’s book. When Beckham was at Real and Capello first,…Capello was crapping all over Beckham, publicaly. Beckham to his credit, kept his mouth shut, showed up for training and alas,…was a factor in Real winnning La Liga. Oddly enough,…Capello ended up as England coach and has praised Beckham’s professionalism.

    Sadly,…Busch seems to have missed that one.

    What say you Brett?

  14. i think my first post failed to recognize the Crew for their accomplishments…

    deservingly so, they are moving onto the finals…. they were the best team throughout the season and won the SS… as much as id like them to flame out in the Cup game, if they face the redbulls i would very much rather the crew win then the bulls… simply b/c i dont feel like going a year with the bulls fans gloating O.o

    i could take the crew fans gloating simply b/c they were the best this season and have the right… but to barely scrape into the playoffs and win would be so annoying….

    personally im hoping for RSL to move on, and beat the crew…either way, this is definately a good season for crew fans… whoa, nearly threw up saying that

  15. All this talk about diving would be much more understandable if ESPN actually showed replays that provided evidence of it. Unfortunately, tWWL continues to treat MLS as the red-headed stepchild of American sports (no offense to red-headed stepchildren).

  16. Am a Red Bull fan, so initially had no real desire to see one team win over the other… But now, I am really pleased with the result. Congratulations to Columbus and their fans for the first ever MLS Cup appearance, you all must be absolutely ecstatic. Am pleased to see a team as season long solid as the Crew get their chance, and admire how classy a player Schelotto is especially, on and off the field. If we are fortunate enough to beat Salt Lake, it will be a pleasure trying to complete earning the Cup by going through the best team in the league. I’m sure there will be plenty of Boca fans in LA wearing yellow as well, would look forward to cheering against you guys. But first things first, Salt Lake here we come! Good luck Columbus.

    On further thought, come to think of it, I know I’m not alone in hating Blanco, the Fire, and their many fans who have posted here in a pompous delusional arrogant state, especially after all of their perceived victimization by the Red Bulls. I’m even more glad the Crew won now hehe See ya! 🙂

  17. …and, I really hope the final is a sellout. I will be painful if I have to invite the eurosnob buddies over to see a half filled HDC. Blanco was a shoe-in for ratings and stadium crowd… hopefully ESPN promotes the game well.

  18. I’m sure MLS is now praying mightily for the NYRB to win, less they suffer with a Columbus-Salt Lake final instead of the Chicago-New York final they undoubtedly were hoping for. Columbus, it must be said, however, is a very entertaining side, and enough cannot be said about GBS, an absolute legend in Argentina who put his faith in a small maket MLS side and city, didn’t take DP money, has an incredible work rate, and has maintained his superior skills. If the league had a GBS (and, for that matter, a JPA) on every team, we’d really have something.

  19. I think the Fire controlled the match for the first half and it showed in the scoreline. But like the Fire did all season, came out slow and tried attacking to much down the left which lead to Gaven getting in behind and you cant knock the guy for going down. And this is coming from a Fire supporter. McBride looked lost when defending Marshall and its 1-1. Then we must have thought we were losing so we went all out attack and boom its 2-1 and they have all the momentum. Hamlett should have put Pappa on right away instead of Nyarko and moved Rolfe up top and Pappa out on the right. Hamlett had his chance with the main job but I think he is only a number 2. We need to look for a new coach because I think this was the year to win it because of our stars’ age. So hopefully the Fire FO will look into a new coach and a new right back and lets go at it next year.

  20. Brant — sorry you had that experience at Summers, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Most MLS fans in D.C. can’t stand Summers. It gets great crowds of Euro fans on Saturday mornings; and at World Cup time, it commits itself to nothing but WC. But the rest of the time, whatever you want to watch is an imposition. And the service is bad, as you found; even worse is the food, with some of the absolute worst bar food of anyplace I’ve ever been in the U.S. Summers is, and has been, awful.

  21. you have to be kidding if you thought Gaven dived too much, the ref missed calls on both sides…but it wasn’t the calls that made the difference it was the players. The Crew look like a team capable of not only lifting MLS cup but possibly SuperLiga and making a run in the champions league next year. They are just exciting to watch, Emmanual Ekpo is a great player as well and doesn’t even start. The Crew are set for a few years as long as they can hold onto their key players the way Houston has.

  22. It was a great game. McBride’s goal was masterful. I contrast this mature form with the guy who always seemed to be bleeding because he was blindly sticking him head into situations few would have dared. He seemed to know exactly where he wanted to put the ball, and how he was going to do it. As to Ives’ question regarding Blanco’s disappearance in the 2nd half, he seemed to be struggling for much of the game. Even in the first half his first touch was often uncharacteristically poor, and he tripped himself up on one or two occasions in the first half, almost like someone who was already over-tired.

  23. BrianK – “7. Jon Bush demonstrated little class at the end of the match. Dear Jon,…maybe that is why Sigi off-loaded you.”

    dumbest thing ive read all day (i know its early so you may not win the award)….

  24. good 2nd half by the crew…. after that 2nd goal i drank myself stupid :'(…. you know its going to be an interesting day when you wake up to get ready for work and you are still drunk….

    2nd half blunders costing the fire?? isnt the first time this has happened…

    our schedule will be a little less congested with the loss… with a win last night we would have to had dealt with USOC, league games, Superliga and CL…. altho i would have loved to had the fire play in the CL, i cant help but be glad that we wont experience the same thing DCU & NE had to experience with such a congested schedule…. we’ll have more games (due to Superliga), which i feel will strengthen us more then hurt us (if we also had CL games)…

    as for the final, i hope its a RSL v CLB game, and i hope RSL take home their first Cup….

  25. Brant,

    Too bad Summers is falling short especially with US Soccer voting for best soccer hangout on the horizon.

    Next time check out Babylon Futbol Cafe … … in Falls Church, VA. Does anyone know if they had the Eastern Conference Championship on last night?

  26. I really enjoyed the match. It really had the edge to it that most regular season matches lack. Observations:

    1. Columbus and Chicago are the two best teams in the league.

    2. I was disapointed with the crowd of only 15K. The biggest match in Crew’s history should have drawn 20K+.

    3. Is there any doubt that Schelotto is the best player in MLS? Blanco has been a nice addition to the league and has added a great deal of intrigue,…but Schelotto is a notch above. What a player. MLS needs two dozen more GBSs.

    4. Schelotto ran himself ragged and Sigi showed real balls in taking him out with a one goal lead.

    5. Rob Rogers is the most elegant young American player I have ever watched. He is a good one.

    6. Chad Marshal’s goal was macho! He physically and authoritatively overwhelmed McBride. It galvanized the Crew.

    7. Jon Bush demonstrated little class at the end of the match. Dear Jon,…maybe that is why Sigi off-loaded you.

    8. RSL will get past the Red Bulls 2-0.

    9. Crew will lift MLS Cup.

  27. Congrats to the Crew. I was pulling for them.

    As good as he is, Segares did not have one of his better games.

    Chicago gave up too many set pieces in their 1/3; way too dangerous when you have GBS taking them. The RSL/Red Bull winner should learn from the Fire’s mistakes.

    GBS certainly deserves league MVP. He’s the one player who is not a DP who is DP caliber. Can you imagine if Columbus was able to fit a DP player under their salary cap to join GBS and the rest of the Crew?

  28. One other note: I was pretty disappointed in Summers Sports Bar in DC. It was very convenient to the Metro, so I went with that option for the game based on recommendations from here on SBI.

    I saw my waiter about 5 times in almost 3 hours. They didn’t have the game on at all until I went and asked them about 10 minutes into the broadcast so I wouldn’t miss the kickoff. When I did ask, they treated me as though the soccer game was somehow an imposition, despite having walls full of soccer stuff.

    The bulk of the TVs were on Jets-Pats, with a few on the Pens-Flyers hockey game, and the balance on VT-Miami (plenty of VT alums in the DC area). They changed 1 to Crew-Fire. Yep, just 1. Then they turned off the music on the PA and put on the game call for the Jets-Pats game.

    For a place that presents itself as a soccer-friendly bar (especially on their website) they were horribly disappointing for a traveling soccer fan. I intentionally wanted a soccer pub b/c of the football game being on THU and your garden-vareity sports bar was likely to have nothing but Jets-Pats. Summers wasn’t that impressive.

  29. I thought it was a great match. I think there is a small minority that keeps banging on the “Gaven was dying” storyline, which makes it look more prominent than it really was. I think Chicago tried to hack the crap out of Robbie Rogers, when they could catch him, which wasn’t that often. And I think the fact that The Crew can score from almost any position, at any time, makes them very dangerous in the final. As an example, Evans scored the first goal last week and took several more quality shots at Hartmann; this week, how often did you see him out there? No problem – Gaven steps up and Carroll bottles up Blanco and Rogers runs crazy.

  30. i think the red bulls can beat the crew… sure, the teams in their current incarnations have never played each other, but if the red bulls can get past salt lake (which i think is likely), we’ll be seeing juan pablo angel raising that new trophy like it will always belong in new york.

  31. The way Terry Vaughn was calling the game, wouldn’t you take the dive to see if he’ll call it? Trust me, Vaughn missed MANY MORE fouls than he called. Conde flat out tackled Rogers as he was running to a lazy ball trickling to Busch.

    Speaking of Busch….wow, he’s a real classy individual. Sigi came over to congratulate him after the game on GK of the year and bury hatchet. Buschy’s response– “F*ck off”. At least Sigi put him in his place.

    Go Crew, Beat RSL/ Red Bulls

  32. I loved the game, great atmosphere and very exciting play. However there would be a different story line this morning if the Crew had lost last night. It would be match fixing. How can you miss Blanco offsides by 10 yards, his flops, tackles from behind not carded, and take downs not called. This game got out of control. This was the worst called game I have ever seen. I must tip my hat to the Crew for beating the the odds 11 vs 15.

  33. I wouldn’t write the Crew in as champions in ink just yet. RSL has talent and NY just beat Houston 3-0 in Houston. I think MLS Cup will be worth watching.

  34. So if NYRB win on Saturday, they will be considered the Western Conference champions?? Or are RSL by default??

    Get rid of the conference crap and go to a single table…

  35. As a neutral supporter it was a very entertaining match. Great atmosphere, good pace, good attacking soccer. Overall something ESPN2 should have been proud to air.

  36. However, I will give Ives big props for the following almost prescient statement:

    “If there is a lower ranked team I can see putting it together it’s Columbus. The Crew has a good nucleus of young players who just might be ready to grow up and turn the Crew into a serious playoff contender.”

    While our favorite soccer writer DID put Columbus 11th in his preseason power rankings, he clearly saw the potential.

    I just love going back and looking at predictions after the dust has settled.


  37. Who was that soccer writer that predicted Columbus to be very weak this year? I think it was the same guy (usually very smart) who still said they would fade after the first 4 or 5 games….who was that?

    (Sorry Ives, couldn’t resist).

  38. One of the reasons why i admire the MLS is that diving is strongly looked down upon…well it was like that. These days having players like Ruiz, Blanco, and now Gaven is rather scary as the fact that compares to MLS early days, diving is slowly but noticeably increasing. NOOOOOO!! Diving is the one thing that i would attack eurosnobs with…that and all their corruption and scandals haha

  39. I suspect that many of the subsequent comments will be about Eddie Gaven’s numerous impressions of Greg Louganis, but I would really like to acknowledge his playoff beard. For a guy of 22, he sure can grow quite a bit of facial hair in a short amount of time. Hats off to Jon Busch and Wilman Conde for their efforts in this area, too.

  40. I hope the RBNY/RSL contest is as exciting as this match was. Blanco dives but Blanco doesn’t get the call. Gaven got the call on a dive that resulted in the 1st goal for the Crew. Blanco got one call in that game and it was when Moreno? ran him over. The Crew were floppin’ all over the place though. Congrats to the Crew.

  41. I was not surprised Clumbus came out and scored two goals in the second half. They had done it a few times during the season and the crowd was great tonight. In the end I think home field advantage was the X factor in this game. I do not see either team beating or even taking Columbus in the final next weekend. The west has been weak all year and this will be no different. Columbus beats RSL 3-1 next week and wins their first of many MLS cups

  42. I can’t believe that the Crew have made it this far… Sigi coming back to LA and vying for the MLS Cup is going to be something.. I am buying my tickets as we speak.


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