It may be a bit late but, I have to say congratulations to the Columbus Crew on becoming the 2008 MLS Cup winners.  The Crew defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in a wonderful cup final played at the Home Depot Center this past Sunday.  For me it was interesting in the fact that this was the first appearance by both squads in the MLS Cup final.  I was cheering mightily for the Crew, mainly because they are the closest MLS team to me.  So here are my thoughts on a wonderful day of football, MLS style.

The night before Mrs Gunny could tell that I was anxious to see the match.  Whilst out Christmas shopping for the Gunnette at J. Crew she knew that I wanted to leave the store quickly and get to sleep.  That wonderfully patient lady just said to me that tomorrow will come in its due time so I bought the Gunnette a nice matching knit hat, scarf and gloves set and then it was off home.  Sunday was going to be busy.  I had 16 trees to put Christmas lights on prior to the big match.  Thankfully my method of wrapping the lights from the previous year's Holiday allowed me to make quick work of the 16 Trees and I was able to be perched in front of the TV with beer in hand just in time for kickoff.

The New York Red Bulls had the better of the play from the outset.  I must also say that I was cheering just a bit for Juan Pablo Angel.  The Colombian has been nothing but class since joining MLS from Aston Villa.  But I was hoping that the Crew could do the domestic double of Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup.  The Crew took an early lead against the run of play on a fine pass from Guillermo Barros Schelotto which allowed Alejandro Moreno to score.  The Red Bulls then equalized through John Wolyniec.  A quick response from Columbus through a header from MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall saw the Crew go into the half up 2-1.  I have watched both teams from time to time this season and the overriding thing that I always come back to is the genius of Guillermo Barros Schelotto.  The Argentine was cool in the tackle and his possession and distribution are always entertaining.  His efforts were rewarded with the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player award which was well deserved.  For me his best play was the nice little flick pass to Frankie Hejduk.  Barros Schelotto lifted the ball over the defenders on to an onrushing Hejduk which allowed the fiesty fullback to head home the Crew's third goal and salt the victory away.  Well done indeed.  MLS is not always kind to players who have such silky skill honed in the South American tradition.  The league tends to be a bit more physical than some expect but Schelotto is always able to find a way and this title and his MLS MVP for the season are a testament to that fact.

Another intersting note for me was the fact that Columbus coach Sigi Schmidt was returning to the Home Depot Center for the MLS Cup Final.  He previously led the Los Angeles Galaxy to the title but was then let go the next season.  The rather large Sigi was once again wearing that wonderful Crew scarf for the Cup final and even though New York was having the better of it early on the scarf worked its magic and the Crew won in the end.  It will be interesting to see if the dear Sigi stays on at Columbus or he moves to the Seattle Sounders FC as some have rumored.

So a wonderful day of decorating for Christmas and Cup Final football the only thing that improved on such a wonderful day was the linguini with clams served later that evening, yummy.

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