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MLS Cup: Post-Game thoughts

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Good evening folks. It is the evening after the 2008 MLS Cup and while I will offer more analysis on Monday, I wanted to share some more thoughts on the match for the East Coast night owls and the West Coast members of the SBI Mafia. Here are some of my thoughts on the match:

The scene in the Columbus locker room after the final was unforgettable. You could certainly tell there was more emotion than usual, in no small part because of the fact that the Crew hadn't even been in the playoffs for three straight years, let alone won a title.

Seeing the celebration, which included Guillermo Barros Schelotto getting some of his hair shaved off by Duncan Oughton (and vice versa) illustrated just how close the squad became during this unforgettable season.

One note I found ironic about Sunday's final is that in the same year the league changes the name of the MLS Cup to honor Phil Anschutz, the trophy is won by a team coached by  a coach fired by Anschutz's team. While I know the Galaxy won an MLS Cup title after Schmid was fired, nobody can argue that the Galaxy hasn't been in terrible shape since Schmid left.

There is no denying that the Crew didn't play well in the first half, but like a champion, Columbus found a way to take a lead even after being outplayed. Schelotto punished the Red Bulls' mistakes and the Crew showed why they were the class of the league.

The Crew ownership deserves credit for sticking with Schmid even after the team failed to make the playoffs in Schmid's first two season. A lot of other clubs would have cut ties after two failed seasons, but Schmid was building toward something and Crew ownership gave him the leeway and opportunity to finish building a champion.

Lost in the hoopla over Guillermo Barros Schelotto's MVP performance was the performance by Chad Marshall, who capped an unbelievable season with a game-winning MLS Cup goal. His story is an amazing one and one I wrote a piece on for Check for that story on Monday.

One player generally can't be blamed for a loss, but Diego Jimenez is certainly at the front of the line for blame on Sunday. The Red Bulls defender got beaten on the Crew's first goal and inexcusably surrendered a totally unnecessary corner kick that led to the game-winning header from Chad Marshall. Jimenez had enjoyed a great playoff run, but was awful in the final.

The Red Bulls may have denied after the match it but sources tell me Juan Pablo Angel played the MLS Cup final, as well as the Western Conference final, with a hip injury that limited his effectiveness.

That is all for now. I will look to share more insight into Sunday's MLS Cup on Monday. For now, feel free to share your thoughts on the match in the comments section below.


  1. @Brant: Are you seriously saying that “es-schelotto” is the wrong pronunciation, and that Sullivan somehow made it up? Really?

  2. A couple other people have brought up this point, but: Is that the same trophy that was unveiled a couple weeks ago? It looks very different in these pictures, and I can’t find one on the internet that looks like the “unveiled” one by Garber. Maybe it’s an ILLUSION….

  3. Well, RBNY couldn’t pull it off but they put in a good run. The Crew showed their consistency again and deserved the win. Their hard-working ethic really shined through yesterday. And it was good to see the coverage on the front page of the Columbus Dispatch. If RBNY won, I don’t think they would have gotten either back page of the Post or Daily News. This market is still too hung up on the Cosmos glory of the 70s. Though RBNY needs time to grow. I hope they keep JCO and let him build. And I hope he builds by getting a central defense. What hurt the Bulls in yesterday’s match by far was their defense (or lack thereof). Even Chris Leitch looked scared everytime Rogers touched the ball. We need speedy and aggressive defenders. On the overall MLS Cup, I hope MLS does work with their broadcast partners about moving the game to a Saturday night. Saturday is “match day” in the league and it needs to be that day for the final. It truly would be much more of an event than a Sunday afternoon.

  4. Marshall will be getting a call up ASAP

    which leave me asking…lets just say he is SOLID.and proves himself…would you guys want to move bocanegra to the left(worst part of our defense) then put gooch and marshall in the middle??

  5. “I wonder if there were people in Columbus who were calling for Schmid’s head when he didn’t go for the quick fix over the last couple seasons and missed the playoffs.”

    End of last year, when Ives’ old blog had the question about whether or not Sigi should keep his job, I was a discruntled Crew fan. But I was willing to stick by Sigi.

    Ives’ post, with 1/2 of my screed in the comments below:

    My full & extended comments, that for some reason wouldn’t post to the old blog correctly:

  6. The broadcast on ABC was almost tough to watch at certain points. They kept cutting to different camera angles and views at a ridiculous pace and in such a way that I felt dizzy at times. And who cares about an aerial view of of the RBNY supporters?? Maybe show them once or twice throughout the match, but not many, many times in a short period of time. Just show the game. Also, I hope that MLS soon moves the cup to an evening start time. Not only would the game look more professional and prestigious on TV, but it could help fill more seats in the stadium and truly sell out the game.

  7. In a different way, Schmidt’s professional situation might soon become just as wrenching. His contract expires at the end of November — and speculation continues that he might end up in charge at expansion Seattle. Officials at Hunt Sports Group, Columbus’ owner, say they want to keep Schmidt, who also won an MLS title at Los Angeles.


    john edwin

  8. I wonder if there were people in Columbus who were calling for Schmid’s head when he didn’t go for the quick fix over the last couple seasons and missed the playoffs. Hats off to him for slowly building a solid team with youthful talent and level headed experience that should be strong for years to come. Congratulations to the Crew for a great year and a well deserved Cup win.

    I have to laugh when people complain about Kreis here in Salt Lake. He is building a team in a similar way to Columbus (and the Clash/Earthquake/1856/Dynamo team from the last 5 years). Success has already started to come. With the talented youth on the team, the future looks bright.

  9. Personally, if it were me, I wouldn’t blame Diego for the first goal. Cepero has to have that one. It was from a sharp angle, and I think Jiminez did play it conservatively and made sure to push him wide instead of taking the aggressive route and perhaps getting burned. And from that angle, and MLS goalie should have it. I don’t mean to throw under the bus, but… Don’t throw Diego there.

  10. Regarding the Crew’s beards: the Dynamo have gone unshaved during the playoffs every year of their short history. I think it’s a playoff tradition borrowed from ice hockey by the Canadians of the team (which numbered 3 in the Dynamo’s inaugural year and is down to 2 now). It brought them luck in 2 of the last 3 MLS Cup tourneys. I would guess that’s a similar story behind the Crew’s “playoff beards”.

  11. Tom from Syracuse – The Reds swept Oakland in 1990…I believe that was the last Ohio pro sports championship.

    Hats off to both teams…entertaining match.

  12. I love the new MLS Cup. Did anyone else notice, but it looked like the little handles were going to break every time a player held it up. That would have been classic had the arms broke or bent.

    Great season Crew. Great playoff run RBNY. In general it was a solid season. Let’s get ready for the draft!

  13. What happened to all the fans? the ones that had seats waiting for them? THAT was embarrassing

    But even at that the other fans made up for that with some great noise, songs, and banging and honking. Those guys were awesome

  14. Nothing I can do but tip my hat to the Crew. They were nasty this year. I hope all the Crew fans out in SBI-land are enjoying this.

    It goes without saying that I wish RBNY won yesterday. But I’m glad it was not decided by the ref. What a game. Congratulations to Columbus.

  15. I thought the first 30 minutes displayed good soccer. After that, tho there were a few decent moments, there was absolutely no rhythm, imho.

  16. I thought Cepero had an awful game. He showed why he was a backup. Up until the final I believe he was extremely lucky. The Crew were well deserved winners. The league’s best team won the trophy and justice was served.

  17. Ives, it IS absolutely impressive that the Crew ownership kept Sigi. I wonder how many more teams would have success (in any sport), if they would just ride through a couple years of mediocre success.

    Brant, you said a lot of good things.

    Also, I too was a bit embarrassed by the “shake hand! shake hand!” scene. It was definitely not a moment for primetime TV. I appreciate what the ref was trying to do–that wasn’t so much the problem. It was the foreign language, the reticence of the players to shake hands and the time wasting that took place. (I am not anti foreign language, I speak 2.5, lol)

  18. Is Garber’s State of the League address available anywhere? says that Montreal has withdrawn their bid.

  19. Well I know 3 Red Bulls who wont be back next season. (I’ll give you a hint, Last names start with P, C, R and all are from the Southern regions in the hemisphere).

  20. Re: The Crew’s beards — one of the ABC/ESPN commentators mentioned that a number of Crew players grew beards during the playoffs as an act of team solidarity.

  21. It was a great run. And a spirited effort.

    Ives I think a good story would be the impact players that Osorio overlooked all season (or so it seemed) had in the playoffs. Guys like Sassano, Ubiparapovic, Woly, etc who were riding the pine, were the guys that got the Red Bulls to the finals. It wasn’t Osorio’s the high priced foreigner’s that could only be considered busts in this person’s opinion. Does Osorio learn from this season? Or does that wonderful eye for talent pick up more Rojases etc, and keep players that served him well in the playoffs on the bench next season.

    I think this team is close, hopefully it doesn’t get overhauled in the offseason…

    And how bout that lalas shotgunning a Redbull… funny stuff.

  22. A just result. RB had a fine ride. But I can’t complain about the result

    But Columbus was clearly the best team all season in the toughest conference. And unlike the previous Crew SS winner (which did it with a lot of ties and wins against the run of play), this Columbus team went out and played good, attractive soccer while kicking the butts of a lot of good teams along the way (see their late season smack-down of NE as just one example).

  23. the referee was embarrasing.. MLS needs better referees!! When he had Padula and Dane Richards shake hands.. Please !! That was stupid, its a final!! idiot! Its not a high school game I never saw that before

  24. I loved this tidbit from The Columbus Dispatch:


    A man approached me, introduced himself and said he was at the Crew’s first game 1996, and has been a season-ticket holder ever since. He said his wife was on line, buying him a ticket to LA for the MLS Cup, just as soon as the Crew nailed down the victory in the Eastern Conference final.

    I asked him whether the trip was expensive, and he said: “Well, that depends on how you look at it. If you divide the price by 13 years, it’s really cheap.”


  25. “Brant – Garber did mispronounced Schelotto last name. He used the right pronounce in Spanish, which sounds like “Skelotto””

    I’m talking about the insistence on calling him “es-Schelotto” a la Christopher Sullivan.

    Roll back the tape of any appearance of The Crew on ESPN or (if you can get them) any of the scoreboard videos from Crew Stadium. Whenever GBS intro’s himself, he pronounces his name without the “es-” in front of “Schelotto”.

  26. While I’m die-hard Metro & a season ticket holder from the start, I must say that the best team won the hardware. That said, RBNY gave us quite a ride & it was as much fun as I’ve ever had watching this team.

    And hey, at least Chicago didn’t win it.

    Hopefully, RBNY gets better up the middle & make sit back next year.

  27. good win Crew, much deserved with your season…. it truly would have been a shame for you to win the league but not be deemed as league champs by the media and unaware fans….

    now, onto 09’….

  28. Scholleto’s setup on Hejduk’s goal was incredible.

    I don’t have a team in MLS, so I was torn on who I wanted to win. On one hand, Columbus was the best team all year and I wanted them to get the hardware. Likewise, it would be good for New York if they won. As it went, the deserving team won but it was still a good game.

    Only complaint, there were visibly a lot of empty seats in there!

  29. Columbus’ second and third goal were remarkably similar to the two goals they scored against Chicago in the conference final. Marshall headed in corner kicks in both games and the Hejduk goal was on a play similar to the one that Gaven scored on a week and a half ago.

  30. best thing about the game? Crew fight for the win and cap off a magical season.

    worst thing? easily Brian Carroll’s “beard”. Close second was Garber butchering the trophy presentation by misidentifying the Crew’s captain, and mispronouncing GBS’s name.

    Glad to see an entertaining game and that RBNY didn’t roll over and play dead and act like they were just happy to be here.

    RBNY seems to be 1 central mid and 1 centerback away from being a really good team. Things just broke down in the middle too often and they were chasing the game there a bit much.

    The Crew are going to have some changes next year, but likely not too much. Eddie Gaven’s salary is likely to get revisited, and he might be exposed in the expansion draft, but with Noonan and Ekpo waiting in the wings, it shouldn’t be a huge loss.


  31. decent match though it was painful watching new york’s crappiness second half.

    chad marshall is amazing and the set piece goals are like clockwork.

    now i have seen enough beardy dudes to last me a very long time.

  32. I’m not mad. This fairy tale had to end with the Crew winning. If we won, it would’ve been sweet but I can’t be mad. I didn’t even think we’d make here in the first place. Long live Osorio, that’s all I have to say. This franchise’s predilection for firing coaches needs to end now. Osorio deserves time to build and craft this team over the next few years.

    Forza Metro!

  33. I was just happy to see the Geico caveman score that last goal for the Crew. So easy a caveman could do it!

    (Frankie, what is with that beard??)


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