Obscure Metro Files: Mike Duhaney and Lawrence Lozzano
May 19, 2006
As we enter our seventh game this season without a single win, we try to look for positives, be it the five not losses in the first six matches, or the improving defense. And the optimist in us can't help but remember 1999 (wait, it will make sense), a season that started 3-1 (fine, two of those were shootout wins) before a downward spiral sent Metro into soccer hell. So the beginning of the season has no correlation how the rest of it goes (and we can also remember the 3-6 start in 2000, or the 5-1-1 start in 2003...) But where were we? Yes, 1999.
That season, like no other, not even 1996, saw the Metro roster filled with terrible players, as assembled by the coaching genius, Bora Milutinovic. Yet a few of those players had success elsewhere before coming to Metro, before falling on their faces in 1999. Two of those players were Mike Duhaney and Lawrence Lozzano.
Duhaney (sometimes spelled DuHaney) was a Tampa Bay Mutiny draft pick in the inaugural draft. After missing the entire 1996 season due to injury, he came back strong in 1997, and was named Rookie of the Year despite not scoring a goal or an assist for the Mutiny. He was even touted as the US national team's left back of the future. So in 1998, most Metro fans welcomed the mid-season trade that sent Paul Dougherty south (obviously, a spot for Marcelo Vega was needed!) and brought Duhaney north. Of course, like so often with Metro trades, the initial analysis was dead wrong.
Duhaney would play 19 games for Metro in all competitions the rest of 1998, starting all but four, mostly at left back. He didn't distinguish himself in one way or another (except with his dyed hair, but then we already had Mike Petke), but the loss of Dougherty was felt more strongly than anyone could have suspected, and Metro plummeted in the standings. Then 1999 came, and Bora decided to move Duhaney into defensive midfield. With Mike's best quality being speed, an asset not necessarily that important for his new position, eyebrows were raised. And they stayed raised as Duhaney was often victimized throughout that crappy year. He played in 20 matches, started 14 (he did score two goals and two assists in his year and a half with Metro), and was shipped after the year to Columbus for the ancient Thomas Dooley. Two nondescript years with the Crew, a stint with Germany's Mainz 05, and he was out of soccer, another one failing to reach his potential.
As opposed to Duhaney, who came to Metro with us excited about his potential, it was obvious that Lozzano was at the tail end of his career. But like Duhaney, his best year in MLS was 1997, when he became one of the first 10-10 men in league history with a ten goal, ten assist season for San Jose (interestingly, Lozzano's MLS career started as a defender at Dallas before a trade to the Clash saw him move to the front). An owner of seven US caps, he was traded to the Galaxy midway through 1998, and was picked up off waivers by Metro midway in 1999, as the season was already spiraling down into oblivion.
Lozzano's versatility was a gift for Metro... Well, not really a gift, since this is 1999 we're talking about. Lozzano's versatility was useful for Metro, as he played some at forward, defense, and midfield, while not being as horrid as others, but also not distinguishing himself in any way (but as far as 1999 goes, not distinguishing yourself is actually a positive). He scored in the year's last game, a 2:1 loss to New England (his only goal in 13 games for Metro), and was sent off to that neverland where so many ex-Metros end up in February of 2000.
So maybe if we try to remember how horrible 1999 was, we'll think better about this season... Right?