Welcome to Home Depot Center. It's time for MLS Cup. I tried to get on here earlier but it's been pretty much a madhouse here today, way more crazy than the usual regular-season zaniness that's found here.
Anyway, the stadium is very colorful today. We've got one corner full of yellow-and-black clad Columbus supporters and on the opposite side we have the MetroStars supporters. Yeah, I said MetroStars. Many of them have MetroStars jerseys although there are also quite a few Red Bulls shirts too.
All in all, there is a fairly large crowd both on the concourse and up here in the press box.
I'll be on here throughout the match. I just have the one story to write and since I have an early deadline I won't be hard-pressed to have a 500-word story set to go by the end of the match. Which means more time to blog about the onging action.
Here are the starting lineups:
Columbus: William Hesmer; Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, Gino Padula; Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Robbie Rogers, Guillermo Barros Schelotto; Brad Evans, Alejandro Moreno.
New York: Danny Cepero; Chris Leitch, Diego Jimenez, Carlos Mendes, Kevin Goldthwaite; Dane Richards, Luke Sassano, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Dave van den Bergh; John Wolyniec, Juan Pablo Angel.
1 - Okay, the game is finally underway. It's 12:50 and I figured it would have started at 1:00 so we're a little early I suppose. I got here at 10:20 and the morning flew by.
2 - Columbus trying to break through New York's defense early on, NY gets a counter but Angel is offside. Not sure if NY will play defensively and try and counter. We'll see if that's how the game shapes up.
4 - Chris Leitch gets a yellow for flattening Robbie Rogers near the left side. Barros Schelotto sends a cross in but Crew are offside. I believe it was Rogers who put the ball in the net but it didn't count.
5 - Van den Bergh wins a corner as Gino Padula knocks his cross out of bounds. Van Den Bergh's cross goes right to Hesmer.
10 - New York wins another corner This time it's Ubiparipovic with the cross and again Hesmer plucks it out of the air.
12 - John Wolyniec flattens Hejduk but does not get a card. I still can't believe that John Wolyniec is starting in the MLS Cup.
13 - New York nearly gets a clean look at goal. Van Den Bergh whips in a cross and Wolyniec nearly gets to the ball but it bounces away from him and Hesmer smothers it. Now, Wolyniec gets a shot off but skies it over the crossbar.
15 - Moreno goes down outside the box but doesn't get a call.
16 - Van Den Bergh is getting room on the left side and whips another cross into the box but neither Wolyniec nor Angel can get to it.
18 - Another corner kick for the Red Bulls. Van Den Bergh again takes it from the right corner and Goldthwaite flicks a header on goal but it goes just wide of the far post.
21 - New York knocking the ball around as Columbus can't get possession.
23 - Dane Richards gets loose inside the box but can't find anyone as his cross goes horribly wide. New York definitely has the better of possession and momentum in the early going.
24 - Padula goes down. Looks like he's in real pain, not feigning anything. Knee might be the issue.
27 - Eddie Gaven lines up a shot from 20 yards but it goes right to Cepero. The Crew get the ball back and Rogers tests out his fortune from the other side of the box but his shot goes right to the goalie again.
28 - And finally a Crew corner kick. The ball goes towards Marshall but doesnt get to him as Angel jumps and clears it. Then, Angel nearly has a breakaway but O'Rourke gets back and claers the ball out of danger.
29 - Richards gets past three defenders and swings a ball over to Angel who tries a left-footed volley but sends it well over the crossbar.
31 - GOAL!!! Cash in your ticket if you had Alejandro Moreno as scoring the first goal in the game. Guille sets him up as he takes a ball away from van den Bergh, lays it softly to Moreno who races down the right side of the field. Moreno turns "Tepa" Jimenez around and fires a slow-rolling ball on goal that gets past Cepero and trickles over the goal line.
34 - Moreno had 5/1 odds of scoring the first goal, not a bad payoff I suppose.
35 - Another Crew corner. Guille sends it in and nearly puts one past Cepero but the rookie punches it away.
40 - Angel can't get loose inside the box but wins another corner, I think their fifth of the game. Maybe 4. Hesmer punches it away though. No harm done.
41 - Van den Bergh lines one up from 25 yards but it goes over the crossbar.
43 - Hejduk goes down, his second flop of the match on the right side of the field.
44 - Guille steals one from Jimenez and draws a foul. It's a dangerous spot as he's well down the right side of the field. He knocks it in but right to Cepero.
45 - Two minutes of stoppage time.
HALFTIME, Columbus 1, New York 0.
So far, it's been pretty even and, in fact, the Red Bulls may have even had the better of play. Still, it's Columbus who has the lead. Not the prettiest goal but they don't care. They are 45 minutes away from their first MLS Cup title.
50 - Okay, second half is underway. Yay. Sorry, I was busy typing something. Not much has happened and there werent' any subs.
51 - GOAL!!! It's Wolyniec who gets the equalizer! Dane Richards went past Padula inside the box and slipped a ball to Wolyniec who somehow got a ball to it in the middle of traffic and poked it into the back of the net.
52 - I can't believe Wolyniec started an MLS Cup, and I really can't believe he scored a goal in an MLS Cup.
53 - GOAL!!!! Chad Marshall!!!! Score one for the hometown hero!! Off a corner kick, Marshall races in there and buries a shot in the back of the net. Golazo!
54 - Much of the Marshall clan is out here in support of their son brother, nephew, friend. I ran into an aunt and uncle of his before the game and had wanted to meet up with his parents but I never did. I can imagine how happy they are right now, along with the entire southwest corner of the stadium.
57 - New York on a counter. Dane Richards races down the right side but his ball into the box goes to Hesmer, who collects it as Wolyniec whizzes past.
59 - If you took Marshall to score the game winning goal, you're sitting on a 30-to-1 winner! Plus, he's at 25-to-1 to win MVP so that double stands to pay off quite a bit if the score holds and Marshall wins MVP. A bit of nothing of course as those were my odds, just for kicks.
65 - Not much has gone on the past few minutes. Though the Red Bulls just won a free kick from about 35 yards out. Juan Pablo Angel's on it.
66 - Angel sends his shot very high, almost to the stadium club.
68 - Moreno nearly gets past Jimenez again but can't. Now ball over to Hejduk and he crosses but Cepero gets to it. Richards breaks down on a counter and gets past Padula, who takes out Richards from behind and earns a yellow. Lucky he didn't get a red.
71 - Columbus is 19 minutes away from winning MLS Cup!
75 - Columbus is doing well to keep possession. They're not sitting back quite yet and have had the better of the possession for most of the second half.
77 - Guille!! He nearly scores a grand goal as he rattles a shot off the crossbar from 25 yards out.
82 - GOAL!!! Frankie Hejduk!! Guille sets him up with a wonderful chip over the defense and Frankie runs under it, heads it over Cepero's head and across the goal line. What a play.
90 - It's all but over. The Crew will win their first MLS Cup title and Barros Schelotto will surely win the MVP. Columbus absolutely deserved this championship. From start to finish, they were a strong team this season. Their win was a product of itely finishing, strong defending and set piece mastery. New York put up a good fight and can walk away with their heads held high. They just lost to a superb team.
FULL TIME: Columbus Crew 3, New York Red Bulls 1!!! Congratulations to the Crew!