Championship! (for a few former Hoosiers)

Danny O’Rourke is happy.

The Columbus Crew won their first MLS Cup on Sunday, and two former Indiana soccer players had a role in the game.

Danny O’Rourke (2001-04) switched from central midfield to center back and became a steadying force on the Crew’s dominant back line. The win was especially meaningful for O’Rourke, according to this tidbit borrowed from the MLS Web site:

Defender Danny O’Rourke was doubly happy. He beat his former club to claim the title and is from the Columbus suburb of Worthington.

“Not only did we do it for the team and the organization but for the city of Columbus,” he said.

He praised the backing for the club at The Home Depot Center.

“We’re spoiled enough to have them every day at home with that supporters’ section,” said O’Rourke. “For them to travel across the country and have the same support, I’m sure the Red Bulls were excited to have their group here but we’re used to it.

“They deserve that trophy as much as we do.”

Pat Noonan (1999-2002) came off the bench late in the game.

As you can read in this blurb below (which, again, I stole from the MLS Web site) this title has been a long time coming for Mr. Noonan.

Finally: After being on the losing side with the New England Revolution the past three seasons, forward Pat Noonan was a winner and it didn’t matter that he was on the bench the entire playoffs.

“This is a little better feeling. It’s well deserved for the team and organization. I’m proud to be a part of the Columbus Crew,” said Noonan, who joined the team in a trade with the Revolution in August after returning from a season in Norway.

“Of course you want to be playing but you support the guys who are out there. They worked hard for it and did the job. It was still great to run out there and celebrate with them.

“I’m sure it will sink in more in a couple of days but having lost three straight it sinks in pretty quickly. I’m not surprised we won it. This team has had great confidence and fight for each other. I’ve seen it every day since I’ve been here.”

Midfielder Brian Plotkin (2002-05) and defender Jed Zayner (2003-05) are also on the Crew roster, but did not play signficant roles this season.

The current Indiana soccer team, by the way, will play long-time rival St. Louis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Yeagley Field on Tuesday night. Jeremy Price will provide coverage of that.

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