|Diego Jimenez (29) and New York couldn't contain Guillermo Barros Schelotto. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)|
Columbus discovers joy of title
CARSON, Calif. - Midfield maestro Guillermo Barros Schelotto collected some more hefty bling. Coach Sigi Schmid got a sense of redemption.
The 35-year-old Schelotto, a longtime star in his native Argentina, assisted on all the Crew's goals in yesterday's 3-1 MLS Cup victory over the New York Red Bulls, enabling Columbus to prevail in its first appearance in the championship game. Afterward, Schelotto received the game's MVP award to go with the regular-season MVP trophy he was presented earlier in the week.
Schmid hoisted the Cup in the home stadium of the Los Angeles Galaxy, a team that axed him in 2004, two years after he guided the club to the MLS championship.
"It's a very emotional moment for me, winning this game here in LA in front of family and friends. And, to be quite honest, the town that I was fired in," Schmid said.
Alejandro Moreno scored in the first half for Columbus. After New York's John Wolyniec tied it in the 51st minute, Chad Marshall put the Crew back in front two minutes later. Frankie Hejduk added an insurance goal.
"We played a very good second half," Schelotto said through a translator. "The first half was a bit more difficult. We were lucky to get that second goal off a corner kick. After that, I believe we were much better than the other team."
That rapid response to New York's tying goal was deflating for the Red Bulls, Wolyniec said.
"The timing of the second goal was disappointing," he said. "We were on a high from tying the game and it's tough to come back."
Schelotto, who led the league with 19 assists during the regular season, set up Moreno's goal with a heads-up play near the sideline, Marshall's with a bending corner kick, and Hejduk's with a soft lob.
Columbus and New York were original members of Major League Soccer when it began in 1996, and New York was also playing in the league championship game for the first time.
Hejduk, a member of the Tampa Bay Mutiny in MLS's inaugural season, was appearing in his first league title match.
"To be honest, I can't wait to have a beer, hang out, and party with my friends," the 34-year-old Hejduk said. "It's a little bit surreal right now."