MLS Cup: Postgame thoughts and lotsa pictures

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Wow.

I'm not sure I ever thought I'd see the day the Crew won MLS Cup. I definitely never thought I'd be there. And if you told me I'd get to bear witness to the rapturous locker room celebration, I'd call you a liar.

But all that stuff happened, and boy was it fun!

The following is a few brief slivers of thought about today's events plus lots of fun photos. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

•The day began with lots of nerves. For Sigi Schmid, it was even more nervous, as his wife woke up sick in the middle of the night and had to be on an IV in the parking lot before coming inside for the match. Thankfully everything worked out OK for her.

•The triumphant entrance by the New York fans had me on edge. They loudly wondered the same thing I was thinking: Where were the proud denizens of the Nordecke? Those most vociferous Crew fans showed up soon enough, though:

•New York's fans' confidence spilled over onto the pitch, where Red Bull controlled the run of play for much of the first half. Despite the Crew taking a 1-0 win into the locker room, they didn't rule the pitch in the first half. But this is a second-half team, and they certainly had their way with the second half.

•Back to the early going for a moment. I must point out that despite the loud, proud entrance by the Red Bull supporters, Crew fans were everywhere today. EVERYWHERE. Yellow, Glidden-emblazed jerseys were coming from all directions before, during and after the match. Columbus traveled well for this.

•I was also surprised how many jerseys of other teams I saw. Local supporters of the Galaxy and Chivas were to be expected, but I also spotted kits from San Jose, Colorado, Chicago, Houston and DC. I wouldn't be surprised if all 14 MLS franchises were represented somewhere in the stadium.

•Yet the game still wasn't sold out. Bummer. It sure felt like a sellout.

•I should mention that the Home Depot Center, which was built a few years after Crew Stadium and was the second soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., lives up to its reputation as the jewel of U.S. soccer. It's not any bigger than Crew Stadium — in fact, as far as seating goes, it feels smaller — but it just exudes class. The roof that hangs over the east and west stands goes a long way to creating that classic soccer atmosphere.

•The game itself is a big blur for me. I remember the goals, and I remember mingling with the Nordecke folk and thinking this is definitely the way to take in an MLS Cup. I remember being pissed that Robbie Rogers' goal was called back. I remember worrying that this would be a 1-0 result as the first half ticked away with no score. I remember being cautiously optimistic after Alejandro Moreno scored in the 31st minute. I remember not being worried when Red Bull tied things up. I remember the feeling of absolute elation that came when Chad Marshall immediately reclaimed the lead for the Crew. I remember more cautious optimism for the rest of the second half. (This didn't jibe with the proper Ohio sporting experience. Where was my lingering sense of dread?) I remember being flabbergasted at Frankie Hejduk's goal. And I remember not really believing that this wonderful season was all over when the final whistle sounded and Hejduk started bouncing with glee. Tactical stuff, though? I got nothing there.

•Let's just let the photos tell the story of the postgame, eh? Starting in the stands and continuing into the locker room...