You probably didn’t notice with all the football going on (Giants, cough, Cardinals, cough), but the Columbus Crew, the best team in MLS all season, won the MLS Cup this afternoon, 3-1, in sunny Southern California. While MLS Commissioner Don Garber was busy brushing up his Spanish accent so he could pronounce Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the Crew was busy dismantling an overmatched New York Red Bulls team that probably didn’t deserve to be there in the first place.
(This is what it’s supposed to look like, Ohio State.)
It’s a good story for American soccer fans, because the Crew has built itself up the right way, sticking with their plan and coach and augmenting a talented core, including longtime captain Frankie Hejduk, with one surprising international star (the aforementioned Barros Schelotto). But this title is even more important for the city of Columbus itself, providing a means of escape from two of the most embarrassing performances in collegiate national championship history.
Not only did the Crew do what Ohio State failed to do twice in two years, they did it in convincing fashion, setting a quick pace early in the season and rolling through the regular season while picking up wins like road kill along the highway in Chillicothe.
For Crew coach Sigi Schmid (that’s Zyggi, to you), the title completes a three-year, total turnaround with the club. He’s a two-time MLS coach of the year and has the league’s best playoff record at 18-7-4. But all those accolades came with previous teams, notably the Los Angeles Galaxy, who gave him an unceremonious booting from the very ground on which he won the MLS Cup just before they signed David Beckham last spring.
That’s the same David Beckham who’s been sitting at Lakers games and getting ready for a three-month loan deal to AC Milan, where he can try and shake off some of the serious tarnish he’s picked up playing in L.A. Funny how the superstar is the one who looks bad two years into an alleged “league-transforming” contract, while the coach his move helped push out is left to smile over the good fortune he’s walked into and helped create.