MLS Cup Final: 2008

Did Beckham flick on the MLS Cup final over in Italy? Did Blanco turn on the tube down in Mexico to catch New York versus Columbus? I seriously doubt it. But I am surprised, and yet very thankful that the MLS didn’t trot out Beckham in some way prior to this MLS Cup final. Sure, it’s fine if he shows up in China to help England promote the Olympics, but I’m getting tired of seeing his face when it’s related to the MLS.

If Beckham is the face of the MLS’s marketing arm, then there’s an Argentine who’s the star of the MLS in terms of pure skill and class and his name is Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Blanco is a close second and Pablo Angel a close third – but the Colombian is a pure scorer. If Angle and Schelotto were on the same team then it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the league. They’d smash home goals every which way.

Schelotto, at 34-years-old with all of these youngsters running around, put on a dazzling display in terms of his ability to create chances for a team this year. He had a total of 45 assists. In the MLS Cup final he assisted on all three goals and smacked the post with a shot from the top of the box. The third goal was one of pure genius, as he chipped the ball through to the tireless Frankie Hedjuk to head over the keeper.

I would have loved to have seen Schelotto get a goal but if there was another player then that would be Frankie. Frankie Hejduk can’t kick the ball where he wants to but he’s a guy you want on your team. He’s a warrior. He’s a leader. Will he become a coach in the MLS when he’s done running? I think so. He knows how to win.

Throughout the game, I was saying to myself, just pass it back to Schelotto, just pass it back to him when he gives it to you. Instead, the Columbus players would try to switch the ball or rotate the ball around to another part of the field and away from Schelotto. Inevitably, they would lose the ball when all they had to do was give it to the maestro, let him find the open player. It’s a simple game. Just keep the ball moving and get it to your skilled players. They will give it back to you when you are open.

The MLS is a weird miss match of players who switch from one team to another throughout the year. But the same does happen in all of professional sports, so it’s not too terrible, look at the NBA or even the EPL where Mikael Silvestre just recently joined up with Arsenal. Yet the Crew had a player (Danny O’Rourke) who previously played for the Red Bulls and the Red Bulls had a player who was a legend (Claudio Reyna) in his time retire and then they started to play well together. The MLS just seems like a lot of teams thrown together at the last minute. I hope clubs like the Crew, Houston, DC, New England can continue to develop into a big four in the MLS like the EPL has their big four.

A better final I think would have been Houston versus the Crew, but New York has a troublesome three-pronged attack in Dave van den Bergh, Juan Pablo Angel, and Dane Richards. It’s all about the three or four players who can play well together.

The Crew has a Nigerian player (Emmanuel Ekpo) who played in the Olympics but wasn’t needed in the MLS Cup final. The Crew also didn’t even use Pat Noonon, the crafty winger/forward who starred for New England. Was he injured?

If there’s a talisman for teams who want to win the MLS Cup it’s Alejandro Moreno, he’s won the Cup with Houston, LA, and new Columbus.

For the Crew to win both the league and the Cup you have to tip your hats to them. It is and was no easy feat and to play that consistently over time is very difficult. Sigi Schmid I think deserves all the credit for this.

The Crew mystic will continue in Argentina, as more Boca Juniors fans will pick up a Schelotto Crew jersey.


Twins: Gustavo, the twin brother of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, was shown up in a VIP box. Did he sneak in and play for Guillermo when he wasn’t feeling up to it? They’re spitting images of one another.