Even before a champion was crowned on Saturday night in the last postseason match at the legendary MAPFRE Stadium, history was made.
Columbus Crew homegrown midfielder Aidan Morris was a surprise entrant into the starting XI in the place of Darlington Nagbe, becoming the youngest player in league history to start MLS Cup. He is 19-years and 27-days old.
Less than two hours after walking out as part of the starting XI, Morris was lifting the trophy with his teammates.
"I'm just a kid kicking a ball around for the most part," Morris told media after the game. "It's just another game, just having fun. I'm alongside the guys I love playing with, amazing teammates. It goes back to my staff and my teammates. They make it enjoyable every day, so coming into training, especially during tough times like this year. It's always enjoyable. I never go a day without loving it."
Morris marked his start with a first-half assist as the Crew jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Seattle Sounders, eventually winning 3-0.
The midfielder helped quell Sounders superstar Nico Lodeiro, who didn't have much of an impact on the game.
“I think the Crew did a good job of sitting with their two holding midfielders and denying space," Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said of Lodeiro's ineffectiveness.
Watch: Aidan Morris joins AT&T 5G's Call to the Field
Morris has represented the United States at various youth levels yet he made just two starts for the Crew this season and hadn't yet appeared during the postseason prior to MLS Cup. Morris was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last year in his lone season at Indiana University before signing a Homegrown contract this winter.
"It was two days ago and unfortunate news about Darlington being out with COVID. Nobody wants that, especially a key role in our team like Darlington," Morris said. "But I was prepared from the beginning of the season from the staff and the players, it was a key message that was drilled into my head. It was always to be ready and that's kind of the motto I lived by this year. Two days ago I got mentally prepared and physically prepared."
US national team head coach Gregg Berhalter was in attendance at the match, giving him a first-hand view of Morris' evening.