A combination of 13 former coaches and players from Columbus Crew SC's 2008 MLS Cup championship team will be returning to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 29, in celebration of the Club's 10-year MLS Cup anniversary as part of the Black & Gold's match versus the Philadelphia Union.
In honor of the Club's record-setting year, we took a look back at the returning honorees' individual seasons.
A defensive midfielder for Crew SC for three seasons, Carroll started all 34 total matches for Columbus in 2008, recording a team-high 2,692 minutes in regular-season play. During the year, Carroll logged one goal and two assists - including the game-winning assist in Crew SC's season-opening win over Toronto on March 29, 2008.
The Springfield, Va. native played all 360 minutes of post-season action and provided one assist during the 2008 MLS Cup playoffs.
Ultimately an eight-year veteran of Crew SC, Gruenebaum started one regular-season game as the backup goalkeeper behind Will Hesmer. Gruenebaum went on to play five more seasons with Columbus, collecting 79 starts on 80 total appearances to become the fourth-most experienced 'keeper in Club history.
As most - if not all - Crew SC supporters know, Hejduk's attachment to the Club does not start nor end with the 2008 season. In that year, however, Hejduk started 24 games in 24 regular-season appearances, providing one goal in (oddly enough) Crew SC's 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls as an exact prelude to the MLS Cup match which would take place only weeks later. Additionally, Hejduk delivered four assists during the regular season, which tied for second amongst the team. In the postseason, Hejduk played each minute of Crew SC's four playoff matches, and scored the championship-sealing goal against the Red Bulls.
A championship-winning goalkeeper and even eventually a game-winning goal scorer, Hesmer leads the Club's record books in every major goalkeeping statistic including starts (130), wins (59), saves (412), shutouts (41) and lowest goals-against average (1.21). During the 2008 regular season, Hesmer logged 29 starts and posted a 17-6-6 record with 10 shutouts, a 73.5 percent save rate, and a 1.14 goals-against average. In Crew SC's four post-season matches, Hesmer logged a shutout in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Kansas City and finished the playoff run with a 0.75 goals-against average.
A first-round SuperDraft selection and four-year defender for Columbus, Iro started 11 of 18 regular-season matches for the Black & Gold in 2008. Iro scored the second goal in a 4-0 shutout over New England on Sept. 6, 2008, in the midst of a nine-game unbeaten streak for Columbus. In the post-season, the Liverpudlian appeared in three matches - all as a substitute - for the Black & Gold.
In his first year in the League, Lenhart played in 10 regular-season matches for Crew SC, starting three, while totaling four goals - three of which came on the road - in just 278 minutes of play. The forward delivered a key added-time goal in Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Kansas City, marking one of two postseason appearances that year for Lenhart as he logged just eight minutes of playoff action.
Noonan appeared in 11 games on six starts for Crew SC during the regular season. The forward was directly involved in goal-scoring opportunities in three straight games late in the season, starting with an assist against New England on Sept. 6, 2008, before scoring the game-tying goal against Toronto (Sept. 13) and earning a secondary assist in the 3-1 win over the Red Bulls (Sept. 18). Noonan did not appear for Crew SC during the postseason.
As a 10-year MLS veteran - all of which were with Crew SC - Oughton made five appearances and one start in a talent-heavy midfield in 2008 after making 19 showings the season prior. After missing eight matches due to a combination of injury and New Zealand national team duty, Oughton did not witness any playing time in the post-season. The defender went on to play two more seasons for the Club.
In his first of three seasons with Crew SC, Padula started in 14 games in 2008, as Columbus went 11-1-2 in those matches. A solid left back for a top-of-the-line defensive team, Padula started in all four of Crew SC's post-season matches and went on to earn the Club's Newcomer of the Year award.
Peterson played in the League for two seasons - both with Crew SC - and logged two total starts, one of which came against the defending champion Houston Dynamo on Aug. 2, 2008.
A five-year member of Crew SC starting in 2007, Rogers started in 26 of 27 regular-season games played in 2008. The defender logged six goals (three game-winners) and three assists. Rogers' six tallies stood tied for second-most amongst the team that regular season, while his 70 shots and 33 shots on goal stood atop the team's charts. Rogers scored in Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to help secure a berth in the conference finals against the Chicago Fire. The 10-year MLS veteran was eventually named to the League's Best XI that season.
Sigi Schmid & Robert Warzycha
Schmid managed Crew SC for three seasons, guiding a once under-performing squad to MLS Cup champions in a three-year span. Schmid led Columbus to 17 wins that season en route to the Supporters' Shield and an MLS Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career.
A player-turned-coach for Columbus, Warzycha was as an assistant coach to Schmid during the 2008 campaign after serving seven seasons as a player for Crew SC. Warzycha still stands as the Club's all-time assist leader with 61, and remains among Club leaders in appearances (160) and starts (134).