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isrus
11-23-2008, 10:52 AM
http://indiecitizen.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/new-york-red-bull.jpgVS http://soccerlens.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/columbus-logo.png
MLS CUP 2008
New York Red Bull VS Columbus Crew
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
NOVEMBER 23, 2008; 12:30 p.m. PT; 3:00 p.m. ET



THE MATCHUP ... For the first time since the league's inaugural season - when of course it was impossible - two teams who have never before played in the MLS Cup Final will meet for the league championship in MLS Cup 2008. The Columbus Crew had advanced to a conference final on four occasions before finally getting to the title game this year, while the New York Red Bulls had won a playoff series just once before this season, in 2000, when they lost the Eastern Conference Final to Chicago. In every MLS Cup from 1997 to 2007, at least one of the teams had appeared in a previous championship game.
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The teams met on three occasions during the regular season with the home team winning in each - ironically opening the season against each other, on April 5 at Giants Stadium, a 2-0 New York win. They then met twice more in the final six weeks of the season, a 3-1 Crew victory in Columbus on Sept. 18, then a 3-1 Red Bulls win at the Meadowlands on Oct. 18.
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In the first game, Dave van den Bergh scored the fastest goal in New York club history, officially after 47 seconds, and Kevin Goldthwaite added one in the 61st minute to give the Red Bulls the win. In the second game, Juan Pablo Angel gave the Red Bulls a first-half lead (21), but goals from Frankie Hejduk (41) and Robbie Rogers (46) on either side of halftime gave the Crew the lead, then Eddie Gaven scored five minutes from the end. In the series finale, Angel scored twice (48, 62) wrapped around a Steven Lenhart goal (62) - then Danny Cepero, making his MLS debut, became the first goalkeeper to score a goal in league history, in the 83rd minute.
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The Crew are looking to be the first Supporters' Shield winner since 2002 to win the MLS Cup. Of the 12 previous Supporters' Shield winners, only four have gone on to lift the championship trophy - D.C. United (1997 and 1999), Kansas City Wizards (2000) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (2002). The last Shield winner to reach the MLS Cup Final was the 2003 Chicago Fire, 4-2 losers to the San Jose Earthquakes in the final. They were the only team to have the best regular-season record and fall in the championship game.
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Regardless of the victor, the winning club will become just the second from the Eastern Conference to win MLS Cup. D.C. United is the only Eastern Conference champion to have won - in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004. The Chicago Fire, currently in the East, won the Western Conference in advancing to the final in 1998. Of course, the Red Bulls won the Western Conference Championship this season, but that as a wild card out of the Eastern Conference. Since 2000, Western Conference clubs have won six of the last seven MLS Cups, with only D.C. United's 2004 victory snapping the string.
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Ironically, the Red Bulls have the Crew to thank for even being in the MLS Cup Playoffs. After a 5-2 loss to Chicago in the regular season finale, D.C. United went to Columbus needing a victory to qualify for the postseason - ahead of New York. But the Crew won 1-0 on a Brad Evans goal, and the Red Bulls claimed the eighth spot overall and the second and last wild card spot.
THE TEAMS ...

Playing the Final in California will certainly be a homecoming for a large number of Crew players, led certainly by head coach Sigi Schmid. Schmid's family moved to Torrance in 1962 (when he was age 9), and he played at UCLA from 1972-75, where he later coached. Schmid coached defender Frankie Hejduk at UCLA, who lived in San Diego. Defender Chad Marshall is from Riverside, while midfielder Robbie Rogers is from Huntington Beach, as is assistant coach Mike Lapper, and reserve striker Steven Lenhart is from Yorba Linda and attended Azuza Pacific. Brad Evans attended Cal-Irvine, Andy Iro went to UC-Santa Barbara and Duncan Oughton went to Cal State Fullerton. As well, both Alejandro Moreno and Ezra Hendrickson are former members of the LA Galaxy.
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While the Crew have a real California connection, the Red Bulls are true to their hometown. Goalkeeper Danny Cepero was born and raised in Baldwin, N.Y., in Nassau County on Long Island. Defender Carlos Mendes is from Mineola, N.Y., also in Nassau County on Long Island, and began his pro career with the Long Island Rough Riders. Forward John Wolyniec was born and raised on Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, and attended Fordham University in The Bronx while also beginning his career with Long Island. And head coach Juan Carlos Osorio played professionally for five years in New York, with teams such as the New York Fever and New York Centaurs, beginning his coaching career with the Staten Island Vipers of the A-League.
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For the Crew, Ezra Hendrickson started three MLS Cup Finals for the Los Angeles Galaxy, in 1999, 2001 and 2002, winning on the third occasion. He was then an unused substitute in D.C. United's 2004 victory. Brian Carroll was also an MLS Cup winner with United in 2004, starting and playing the entire match. Pat Noonan appeared in three consecutive MLS Cup Finals with the New England Revolution, starting in 2005, '06 and '07. Alejandro Moreno was with the LA Galaxy for MLS Cup 2002 and the Houston Dynamo in 2006, seeing time in both games as a substitute for each Cup-winner.
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Just two members of the New York Red Bulls have been with teams in the MLS Cup Final - Jon Conway was a backup goalkeeper for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 and 2003, while defender Kevin Goldthwaite was a reserve for the Houston Dynamo in 2006.
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MLS Cup 2008 will also match up the leading goalscorer and assist man over the past two seasons. New York's Juan Pablo Angel has 33 goals since he's coming into the league, more than any other player in that time. Since the start of the 2007 season, that total is two more than D.C. United's Luciano Emilio, followed by Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy, 28); Taylor Twellman (New England, 24); and Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas, 22). Since he's come into the league, Schelotto has 30 assists, which is eight more than Donovan's total over the past two years. They are followed by Steve Ralston (New England, 21); Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA, 20); and Terry Cooke (Colorado, 19)
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The Crew have been remarkable in their lineup consistency over the course of the season. Nine players have started 22 games or more for Sigi Schmid. By comparison, the Red Bulls have had just six players start 20 games or more - and three of those (Seth Stammler, Jon Conway and Jeff Parke) will not be available for the final
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If Danny Cepero starts the MLS Cup Final for the Red Bulls, he will have the fewest starts by any starting goalkeeper in the championship game. Cepero made his MLS debut on Oct. 18 (vs. Columbus) and started the final two league games of the season before starting all three games in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
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Red Bulls forward Juan Pablo Angel could become the third Colombian-born player to win an MLS Cup. Defender Carlos Llamosa won the 1997 and 1999 Cups with D.C. United, also appearing in the 1998 Final with United and the 2002 Final with New England, both losses. Chicago Fire defender Diego Gutierrez won MLS Cup 1998 as a member of the Chicago Fire; he was on the losing end on two further occasions (Chicago, 2000; Kansas City, 2004).
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Crew forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto could become the fourth Argentinean-born player to win an MLS Cup. Mario Gori was on the D.C. United roster for each of the first three MLS Cup Finals, playing in just the first one (1996). Diego Sonora played for D.C. United in 1999, and Christian Gomez played for D.C. United in 2004.
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If Schelotto wins the 2008 Volkswagen MLS MVP award, he has a chance to become just the third league MVP to also win MLS Cup. In 2002, Carlos Ruiz won the award in leading the Los Angeles Galaxy to their first MLS Cup. In 2000, Tony Meola did the same for the Kansas City Wizards. The MLS MVP winner has lost in the Cup Final on two occasions: Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United) in 1998, and Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution) in 2005.
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In the week leading up to the MLS Cup Final, four players were called into their respective national teams. Red Bulls winger Dane Richards was called into Jamaica's team for their crunch qualifier against Canada in Kingston. Three players - Jorge Rojas and Gabriel Cichero of New York and Alejandro Moreno of Columbus - were called into Venezuela's national team for its friendly against Angola in Caracas.

agoo101284
11-23-2008, 11:13 AM
I would do a running commentary, but I have a work event to attend. Columbus should roll over New York in this one.

isrus
11-23-2008, 03:55 PM
Columbus win 3-1