Oscure Metro Files: Paul Dougherty and Arley Palacios
January 16, 2006

It's not often that Obscure Metro Files looks at a player that contributed to Metro in a positive way; how much positively can be found in obscurity? But today, when we glance back at 1998, one of the two players we'll cover contributed more than his share in his short time with Metro. The same cannot be said about the other, who unfortunately lasted a year longer.

Paul Dougherty came to the MetroStars at what looked like the end of a long winding career. The Englishman started with Wolverhampton, before crossing the pond to play for the A-League's Montreal Impact and delving into the indoor scene, where he played in the MISL, NPSL, and CISL. The MetroStars signed Dougherty on February 3, 1998 on the heels of his CISL MVP season for the Houston Hotshots. And Dougherty helped immediately, all five foot three inches of him.

With Wellington Sanchez coming and going, Marcelo Vega arriving only to leave for the World Cup, and Tab Ramos spending time with the US natinal team, Dougherty was the sparkplug that ran the MetroStars for the first half of 1998. Combining with another pre-season signing, Jim Rooney, and feeding the powerful duo of Giovanni Savarese and Eduardo Hurtado (yes, that version of Hurtado was something to be seen), Dougherty got on the scoresheet often himself, scoring three goals and adding nine assists in just 16 matches (one must note that the Metro record for assists in a season is just five more, 14, set by Hurtado that same year). His most memorable match was a 5:3 thriller over the Revs, when Paul assisted on Mike Petke's game-winning blast, and then added the insurance tally with two minutes left in the game.

And then he was gone. With Ramos, and especially Vega coming back from the World Cup, Dougherty was deemed surplus to requirements and was shipped to Tampa Bay in July for the reigning rookie of the year Mike Duhaney. The rest is Metro history, dismal as it often is; Duhaney was horrid in his year and a half with the team, Vega was laughably crappy, while Dougherty scored three goals for the Mutiny, was traded a year later to Chicago, and ended his MLS career in 2000 after a year as a starter with Colorado. Nothing spectacular, but one must wonder what could have been if he was allowed to finish out 1998 with Metro. Dougherty currently works as a strength and agility trainer in California.

The other 1998 story comes from a foreign signing, Arley Palacios. He came to Metro from Colombian team Independiente Medellin, touted as a strong defender. He even had national team experience! Strangely, the Palacios that we saw on the field was nothing special, and rumors began circulating that the MetroStars signed the wrong Palacios brother; that they wanted to sign Arley's brother Everth (right), an emerging towering defender who would play for his country at that year's World Cup. Yet somehow, they ended up with Arley.

So, did the Metros make a mistake in signing the wrong Palacios? It looks like they did. Take a look at Arley Palacios' profile from the old MetroStars.com, screenshot below:

You will note that it says that he played 90 minutes for Colombia against Norway in a scoreless draw in Olso on October 9, 1997. Digging through the archives on rsssf.com, we find out that no mention of our Palacios is made in a game actually played a day earlier:

But who is that that played the full 90? None other than Everth.

So if this was indeed a mistake, how did the Metros make it? How did they sign the wrong player? The answer is lost in obscurity. Arley lasted a year and a half with the team, scoring a lone goal early in 1999, before being shipped to Miami in the massive deal for the Lothar Matthaus allocation. He went back to Colombia a year later, never to be heard from again.

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