MLS Cup 2008

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MLS Cup 2008
Date 23 November 2008
Venue The Home Depot Center, Carson, CA
Man of the Match Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)
Attendance 27,000
Weather Sunny 68 °F (20 °C)

MLS Cup 2008, the 13th edition of Major League Soccer's championship match, was played between the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls to decide the champion of the 2008 season. The final was played at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California on November 23, 2008. Columbus won 3–1 with goals from Alejandro Moreno, Chad Marshall, and Frankie Hejduk — all of which were assisted by Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Schelotto was named MVP of the final, matching his MVP award for the regular season. The Crew became the fourth club in league history to win the MLS Cup and the Supporters' Shield in the same season, following D.C. United (1997, 1999), the Kansas City Wizards (2000), and the Los Angeles Galaxy (2002).

To date it is the only championship to match two Eastern Conference teams against each other, and the first time since the inaugural title game that both teams made their MLS Cup debut.

Both the participants entered the CONCACAF Champions League, with winners Columbus Crew being seeded directly into the group stage and runners-up New York Red Bulls entering at the preliminary round.

Road to the Final[edit]

Main article: 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs

Columbus Crew[edit]

For the Columbus Crew, their road to the final was expected after being widely considered the best team during the regular season. It also marked their debut in the final after thirteen years of existence in the league. The Crew was led by their coach, Sigi Schmid, an experienced veteran of the game who had achieved prior success as coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy.[1][2] From 1999-2004, Schmid had made a dynasty out of the Galaxy by leading them to one championship and three trips to the final. In 2004, he was controversially sacked and after a year in charge of the under 20 U.S. National Team, Schmid was hired by the Crew in 2006. While they had gone through two fruitless years, the Crew had now signed a number of players like Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Alejandro Moreno and was ready to work as a team.[1][2] In their first playoff match, they faced the Kansas City Wizards which ended in a 1-1 draw. The replay a week later saw the Crew beat the Wizards 2-0. Then in the Eastern Conference Final against the Chicago Fire, the Crew came back from a goal down to win 2-1 and made their berth into the final as the favorite to win.(2)[3]

New York Red Bulls[edit]

It was a tumultuous year for the New York Red Bulls who despite struggling for most of the year still achieved play-off berth. However, they then made a magical post-season run which saw them take care of the Houston Dynamo, the previous champion for the last two years 4-1 on aggregate. Then in the Western Conference final against Real Salt Lake, the Red Bulls got a goal form Dave van der Bergh in the 28th minute and then held out for the victory despite Real hitting the post three times.[4] Even though they had lost some players to drug suspensions[5] and were the last team to qualify, they had made their first final due to the remarkable play of key players like striker Juan Pablo Angel and backup goalie Danny Cepero. Their inspired play under the detailed tactics of Coach Juan Carlos Osorio had now led to their debut in the final.


First Half[edit]

The first twenty minutes of the game was dominated by a barrage of chances from the Red Bulls, who truly put great pressure on the Crew’s defense. It wasn’t until after the first quarter of the game did the Crew start to gain control and in the 31st minute, a quick pass from Schelotto left Alejandro Moreno alone on the right wing with a single defender who he sidestepped and then ripped a shot across goal that went off the goalie’s hand into the net. The Crew held on to halftime with both the lead and the momentum of the game.(6)[6]

Second Half[edit]

After halftime, the score remained the same until the 51st minute when Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards passed in the penalty box to a sliding John Wolyniec who scored the equalizer. Just as the Red Bulls had got back in the game, the Crew got a corner in the 53rdminute in which Schelotto whipped it into the box and defender Chad Marshall charged in and headed it into the goal. The Crew had regained the lead and momentum which they carried throughout most of the second half. The Crew was eventually able to finish the game off in the 82nd minute when Schellotto chipped a sublime ball over the New York defenders to a charging Frankie Hedjuk who headed it over the goalie Danny Cepero into the net for the decisive blow. The Crew held on from there and won the final and were crowned champions for the first time.[6]


The Crew won largely because of the sterling play of starters Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Frankie Hedjuk, among others. Barros Schelotto won both the MVP of the final and of the 2008 MLS season[7] because of the difference he made for the Crew. Chad Marshall also received the award for defender of the year in 2008.[8]

Match details[edit]

23 November 2008
12:30 PST
Columbus Crew 3 – 1 New York Red Bulls
Moreno Goal 31'
Marshall Goal 53'
Hejduk Goal 82'
Report Wolyniec Goal 51'
Columbus Crew
New York Red Bulls
GK 1 Will Hesmer
RB 2 Frankie Hejduk (c) Goal 82'
CB 14 Chad Marshall Goal 53'
CB 5 Danny O'Rourke
LB 4 Gino Padula Booked 68'
CM 16 Brian Carroll
CM 3 Brad Evans
RW 12 Eddie Gaven Substituted off 90+3'
LW 19 Robbie Rogers
SS 7 Guillermo Barros Schelotto Substituted off 90+1'
CF 10 Alejandro Moreno Goal 31'
DF 6 Andy Iro Substituted in 90+1'
FW 32 Steven Lenhart Substituted in 90+3'
Sigi Schmid
GK 1 Danny Cepero
RB 2 Kevin Goldthwaite
CB 29 Diego Jimenez
CB 33 Chris Leitch Booked 4'
LB 4 Carlos Mendes
CM 19 Dane Richards
CM 32 Luke Sassano Substituted off 78'
MF 8 Siniša Ubiparipović
AM 11 Dave van den Bergh
CF 9 Juan Pablo Angel (c)
CF 15 John Wolyniec Goal 51' Substituted off 82'
MF 13 Jorge Rojas Substituted in 78'
FW 10 Macoumba Kandji Substituted in 82'
Juan Carlos Osorio

Man of the Match:
Guillermo Barros Schelotto (CLB)

Assistant referees:
Greg Barkey, Kermit Quisenberry
Fourth official:
Mark Geiger

Match rules:

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra time if scores level
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level
  • 7 substitutes named, of which three may be used


  1. ^ a b Bueno, Luis. "Schmid Leads Crew to MLS Cup Game | Sports | Inland Southern California Sports." | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California. Web. 07 Feb. 2011. <>.
  2. ^ a b Zeigler, Mark. " Sports Soccer -- Schmid's Career Comes Full Circle in MLS Cup." San Diego News, Local, California and National News - Web. 07 Feb. 2011. <>.
  3. ^ "2008 Columbus Crew Schedule | Fanbase." Fanbase | The Web's Largest Almanac of Pro and College Athletes, Built by Fans. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  4. ^ 1."2008 New York Red Bulls Schedule | Fanbase." Fanbase | The Web's Largest Almanac of Pro and College Athletes, Built by Fans. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  5. ^ Bell, Jack. "Two Red Bulls Players Suspended for Failed Drug Tests -" New York Times - Soccer - Goal Blog - Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <>.
  6. ^ a b "YouTube - 2008 MLS CUP: New York Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 07 Feb. 2011.<>.
  7. ^ "Guillermo Barros Schelotto Is an All-time Great in the MLS. - Jonah Freedman -" Breaking News, Real-time Scores and Daily Analysis from Sports Illustrated Web. 07 Feb. 2011. <>.
  8. ^ "Columbus Crew." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.