Guillermo Barros Schelotto showed why he was voted the best player in Major League Soccer as his three assist helped the Columbus Crew win their first MLS Cup with a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
The performance helped Schelotto be named the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player, becoming only the third player in league history to win league MVP honors as well as in the MLS Cup Final, joining Tony Meola (2000) and Carlos Ruiz (2002).
In what was an entertaining first half, it was Columbus who scored first in the 31st minute through Alejandro Moreno who took a Schelotto pass and turned Columbus defender Diego Jimenez inside out before slotting a tight-angled shot past Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero. The goal marked the first time during this postseason that the Red Bulls had trailed as they allowed their first goal in 206 playoff minutes,
New York would come to rue the host of missed chances it had before Moreno’s goal. With Dutchman Dave van den Bergh running wide down the left, both Kevin Goldthwaite and Dane Richards will have nightmares tonight for the two chances they missed.
New York finally got the goal that they deserved in the 51st minute when John Wolyniec latched on to a pass from Dane Richards to slide home the equalizer. Unfortunately, for Red Bulls fan, the game was tied for less than two minutes when Columbus defender Chad Marshall headed home a Schelotto corner to put Columbus back in the lead.
Ten minutes from time United States World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk sealed the victory and the Crew’s first MLS Cup when he scored a spectacular diving header from a great Schelotto chip.
“I’m still a little bit numb, you go through a number of emotions when you win a game like this,” Columbus coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after his team’s first MLS Cup triumph. “I’m just very proud of what our team did all season. We found different ways to win at various times and the individual play of this guy next to me was tremendous,” Schmid added, looking at Barros Schelotto who was voted the MLS Cup’s most valuable player.”
“We were hard done in the first half when I think we were the better team with the better chances,” said Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio. “But credit to the winning team and congratulations to them.”