MLS Cup 2008

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MLS Cup 2008
DateNovember 23, 2008
VenueHome Depot Center, Carson, California, US
Man of the MatchGuillermo Barros Schelotto
(Columbus Crew)
RefereeBaldomero Toledo
WeatherClear, 68 °F (20 °C)

MLS Cup 2008 was the 13th edition of the MLS Cup, the championship match of Major League Soccer (MLS). The match took place on November 23, 2008, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, near Los Angeles. It was contested between Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls, both from the league's Eastern Conference.

MLS Cup 2008 was the only final in which two Eastern Conference teams met, and the first time since 1996 that both teams made their MLS Cup final debut in the same match. Columbus won the game by a score of 3–1 with goals from Alejandro Moreno, Chad Marshall, and Frankie Hejduk — all assisted by Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Schelotto was named man of the match, adding to his MVP award from the regular season. The Crew became the fourth club to win both MLS Cup and the Supporters' Shield in the same season, following D.C. United (1997, 1999), Sporting Kansas City (2000), and Los Angeles Galaxy (2002).

Both the participants qualified for the 2009–10 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.


The Home Depot Center at night

The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, home to the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA, was announced as the venue for the 2008 edition of the MLS Cup on November 19, 2007.[1] It marked the third time that the stadium had hosted the MLS Cup final, following back-to-back editions in 2003 and 2004. The stadium opened in June 2003 and has a capacity of 27,000, making it the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States. The Home Depot Center also hosted the 2003 MLS All-Star Game, the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, the 2007 SuperLiga final, two editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and several United States national team matches.[1][2]

Road to the final[edit]

The MLS Cup is the post-season championship of Major League Soccer (MLS), a professional club soccer league in the United States and Canada. The 2008 season was the 13th in MLS history, and was contested by 14 teams in two conferences.[3] Each club played 30 matches during the regular season from March to October, facing each team twice and two in-conference teams a third time.[4] The playoffs, running from October 30 to November 23, were contested by the top two clubs in each conference and four wild card teams in the next positions regardless of conference.[5] It was organized into three rounds: a home-and-away series in the Conference Semifinals, a single-match Conference Final, and the MLS Cup final.[6]

The 2008 edition of the MLS Cup was contested by the Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls, both first-time finalists.[7] It marked the first time that two teams from the Eastern Conference played each other in the MLS Cup final.[6][8] The Crew and Red Bulls played each other three times in the regular season, with New York winning 2–0 and 3–1 at home in April and October, respectively, and Columbus winning 3–1 at home in September.[citation needed] The mayors of Columbus and New York made a ceremonial bet prior to the match, promising to exchange local foods and beer to the winning city.[9]

Columbus Crew[edit]

Managed by Sigi Schmid, Columbus proved their quality throughout the regular season, claiming the Supporters' Shield on 57 points. The Crew met Kansas City in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, drawing 1-1 on an added time goal from Steven Lenhart. The return leg at Crew Stadium one week later saw goals from youngsters Brad Evans and Robbie Rogers propel the club into the Eastern Conference final, defeating Kansas City 2-0.

The next round pitted Columbus against rivals Chicago Fire in a single-game knockout stage. After 29 minutes, former Columbus man Brian McBride made the score 1-0 to Chicago on a close-range header that looped high over keeper Will Hesmer. In the second half, Guillermo Barros Schelotto's free kick from the right wing found a leaping Chad Marshall, whose header deflected off the underside of the crossbar and equalized the match at 1-1. After dominating the next few minutes, Eddie Gaven found himself with the ball inside Chicago's penalty box. Gaven squared up the volley and slotted it home past a diving Jon Busch to send Columbus through to the MLS Cup final.

New York Red Bulls[edit]

2008 was a tumultuous year for the Red Bulls, who earned a playoff berth with only 39 points on the final day of the regular season. Despite mediocre play throughout the majority of the campaign, New York bested defending champions Houston Dynamo in the first round on a 4-1 aggregate scoreline. In the Western Conference Final against Real Salt Lake, Dave van der Bergh's 28th-minute goal proved the difference, even as RSL's chances rattled the New York goalposts on three separate occasions.[10] Even though they had lost some players to drug suspensions[11] and were the final team to qualify, the Red Bulls largely survived all the way to Los Angeles due to the timely play of Juan Pablo Ángel and the emergence of backup goalkeeper Danny Cepero. Their inspired play under the leadership of manager Juan Carlos Osorio guided the club through to its first MLS Cup final.

Summary of results[edit]

Note: In all results below, the score of the finalist is given first (H: home; A: away).

Columbus Crew Round New York Red Bulls
1st place in Eastern Conference
Pos. Team Pld. Pts.
1 Columbus Crew 30 57
2 Chicago Fire 30 46
3 New England Revolution 30 43
4 Kansas City Wizards 30 42
5 New York Red Bulls 30 39
Regular season 5th place in Eastern Conference
(Seeded into Western Conference bracket)
Pos. Team Pld. Pts.
3 New England Revolution 30 43
4 Kansas City Wizards 30 42
5 New York Red Bulls 30 39
6 D.C. United 30 37
7 Toronto FC 30 35
Opponent Agg. 1st leg 2nd leg MLS Cup Playoffs Opponent Agg. 1st leg 2nd leg
Kansas City Wizards 2–1 1–1 (A) 2–0 (H) Conference Semifinals Houston Dynamo 3–2 1–1 (H) 3–0 (A)
Chicago Fire 2–1 Conference Final Real Salt Lake 1–0

Broadcasting and entertainment[edit]



The 2008 Final debuted a new award for the champions, renamed the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy. Previous MLS champions were presented with one of two versions of the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy, which was retired after MLS Cup 2007. The new, iconic design was more reminiscent of a traditional cup, with the winners allowed to wear a scudetto badge the next season, similar to the Italian tradition.


Both teams were allowed their home kits for the final, due to the contrast in strip colors. Columbus chose to wear its traditional all-gold look, with New York donning home whites on red shorts. A commemorative badge featuring the MLS Cup 2008 logo was worn by both clubs.


Though Columbus were the favored side going into the match, the Red Bulls dominated the first twenty minutes of play. John Wolyniec and Juan Pablo Ángel were gifted excellent scoring opportunities by the overwhelmed Crew defense, but were unable to finish their chances in the early going. Columbus' first opportunity arrived in the 31st minute, as Guillermo Barros Schelotto found Alejandro Moreno in space along the right flank. One on one against Diego Jiménez, the Venezuelan deftly used his speed to beat the New York defender and rolled the ball past Danny Cepero to open the scoring 1-0 to Columbus.[12]

The second half opened with the Red Bulls pushing hard to equalize. Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards wove through large gaps in the Columbus defense and played through to a sliding Wolyniec who leveled the score after 51 minutes. The underdogs' exuberance would be short-lived, however. The Crew earned a corner within a minute of the restart, and Schelotto's kick was driven into goal by Chad Marshall, with a header reminiscent of Columbus' playoff victory against Chicago. Sigi Schmid's men continued to press their advantage, with a long attempt by Schelotto deflecting off the crossbar in the process. The pressure was ultimately too much for New York, as the insurance goal for Columbus arrived in the 81st minute of play. Schelotto notched his third assist of the match by brilliantly flicking the ball into the Red Bulls' penalty box and finding Frankie Hejduk cutting in behind the defense.[13]


Columbus Crew United States3–1New York Red Bulls United States
Moreno Goal 31'
Marshall Goal 53'
Hejduk Goal 82'
Report Wolyniec Goal 51'
Columbus Crew
New York Red Bulls
GK 1 United States Will Hesmer
RB 2 United States Frankie Hejduk (c) Goal 82'
CB 14 United States Chad Marshall Goal 53'
CB 5 United States Danny O'Rourke
LB 4 Argentina Gino Padula Yellow card 68'
CM 16 United States Brian Carroll
CM 3 United States Brad Evans
RW 12 United States Eddie Gaven Substituted off 90+3'
LW 19 United States Robbie Rogers
SS 7 Argentina Guillermo Barros Schelotto Substituted off 90+1'
CF 10 Venezuela Alejandro Moreno Goal 31'
DF 6 England Andy Iro Substituted in 90+1'
FW 32 United States Steven Lenhart Substituted in 90+3'
United States Sigi Schmid
GK 1 United States Danny Cepero
RB 2 United States Kevin Goldthwaite
CB 29 Mexico Diego Jiménez
CB 33 United States Chris Leitch Yellow card 4'
LB 4 United States Carlos Mendes
CM 19 Jamaica Dane Richards
CM 32 United States Luke Sassano Substituted off 78'
MF 8 Bosnia and Herzegovina Siniša Ubiparipović
AM 11 Netherlands Dave van den Bergh
CF 9 Colombia Juan Pablo Ángel (c)
CF 15 United States John Wolyniec Goal 51' Substituted off 82'
MF 13 Venezuela Jorge Rojas Substituted in 78'
FW 10 Senegal Macoumba Kandji Substituted in 82'
Colombia Juan Carlos Osorio

Man of the Match:
Argentina Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)

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

Match rules:

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary.
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level.
  • Seven named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.


  1. ^ a b "MLS Cup 2008 awarded to Los Angeles" (Press release). Major League Soccer. November 19, 2007. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  2. ^ "Galaxy trade for Mathis, will host MLS Cup". Visalia Times-Delta. Associated Press. November 20, 2007. p. B3. Retrieved December 9, 2018 – via Free to read
  3. ^ "MLS set for lucky 13". March 28, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "2008 Rules of Competition". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "General Overview". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Rodriguez, Alicia (October 21, 2015). "Audi MLS Cup Playoffs: Tracing the evolution of the postseason format since 1996". Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Dure, Beau (November 21, 2008). "Red Bulls, Crew both hope first time in MLS Cup is the charm". USA Today. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "MLS Cup 2008: Watch the full match". Columbus Crew SC. December 9, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Crew, Red Bulls to clash for MLS Cup". The Marion Star. Associated Press. November 23, 2008. p. C2. Retrieved December 9, 2018 – via Free to read
  10. ^ "2008 New York Red Bulls Schedule" Fanbase. Web. Feb 13. 2011. <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 22, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2011.>.
  11. ^ Bell, Jack. "Two Red Bulls Players Suspended for Failed Drug Tests" Web. Feb 16. 2011. <>.
  12. ^ "YouTube – 2008 MLS CUP: New York Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew." YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Web. Feb 07. 2011.<>.
  13. ^ "Guillermo Barros Schelotto Is an All-time Great in the MLS. – Jonah Freedman –" Web. Feb 07. 2011. <>.