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No matter which team wins today's MLS Cup final at the Home Depot Center (12:30 p.m., Channel 7, TeleFutura), the league is guaranteed a new champion. Neither the Columbus Crew nor the New York Red Bulls have reached the final before.

November 23, 2008|Grahame L. Jones


Columbus finished with a league-best 17-7-6 mark. New York was 10-11-9.


Crew Coach Sigi Schmid is a two-time MLS coach of the year and has a career 113-86-57 mark and an all-time best playoff record of 18-7-4. Red Bulls Coach Carlos Osorio is 16-14-15 all-time and 3-1-2 in the playoffs.


Columbus features four-year veteran Wil Hesmer. New York starts second-year man Danny Cepero.


The Crew is anchored by MLS defender of the year Chad Marshall of Riverside and U.S. World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk. Outside back Kevin Goldthwaite and Chris Leitch are the most experienced players on the Red Bulls back line.


Columbus is powered offensively by MLS player of the year Guillermo Barros Schelotto of Argentina and defensively by Brian Carroll. New York counters with Dutchman Dave van den Bergh and Dane Richards.


Venezuela's Alejandro Moreno (nine goals) leads the Crew's balanced attack. Colombia's Juan Pablo Angel (14 goals) paces the Red Bulls' offense.

Odd facts

Columbus defender Ezra Hendrickson and Moreno already have won two MLS Cup titles. Both did so with the Galaxy while Hendrickson also won with D.C. United and Moreno with the Houston Dynamo. If New York wins, goalkeeper Cepero would have set a world record of sorts by winning a national championship while playing in a total of only six professional games.

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