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 ESPN.com. 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.