Obscure Metro Files: Winston Griffiths and Nelson Akwari
May 31, 2007

To say that Metro has been unlucky in the MLS lottery is an understatement. Oh, they've won more than their share, but the quality of those victories is questionable at best. The best Metro fared was with Joey DiGiamarino, but even he did not last long; still, longer than the three Project-40/Generation Adidas youngsters won by Metro -- D.J. Countess, Nelson Akwari, and David Arvizu. Arvizu never appeared for the first team; neither did Countess, but his brief stint with Metro is a perfect lead-in to this edition of Obscure Metro Files, featuring two players from 2002: Akwari and the player acquired for Countess, Winston Griffiths.

But before we talk about Griffiths, we need to discuss Countess some more, because their Metro fates are thickly intertwined. Countess was won late in the 2001 season, but with Tim Howard firmly entrenched in the nets, and Paul Grafer's pants preventing him from receiving many splinters from his time on the bench, the Metros were set in goal. Nevertheless, Countess, a highly touted youth international from UCLA, declared that he was going to take the job away from Howard. We laughed and anticipated the worthless battle with Grafer for the #2 spot.

Enter Winston Griffiths. The Jamaican international left winger spent 2001 with the A-League's Connecticut Wolves, Metro invited him to training camp, and liked him enough to file a claim with the league. One problem: another MLS team filed a claim, putting Winston into -- you guessed it -- the lottery, one the Metros promptly lost to Dallas. So Griffiths packed his bags and went to the Burn. But Metro was not gonna let someone Nick Sakiewicz called a "terrific player" get away, so three days after Winston left for Dallas, they sent Countess to Texas for Griffiths and a swap of draft picks.

Griffiths then proceeded to give MetroFanatic one of the lamest interviews in the history of interviews, scored two in a 5:0 preseason drubbing of Southern Connecticut State, and started the season on the bench, as Metro draft pick Brad Davis won the left wing spot and kept it. Soon after, Metro signed Trinidadian Darin Lewis, who took a senior international slot, meaning Metro was maxed out, and Griffiths was sent packing to the Galaxy, one month and seven days after he was acquired. His total with the Metros stood at three sub appearances and 17 minutes. But he did enter the annals of MLS history, becoming the second player to play for three teams in one season, after being released from the Galaxy and being picked up by the Revs (the first was Orlando Perez, also traded by Metro early that year). 2002 proved to be Winston's only season in MLS; he would then play in the USL with the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Toronto Lynx.

(Update: On October 23, 2011, Griffiths passed away at the age of 33 after an illness. RIP.)

Now, losing the lottery for Griffiths meant Metro was still eligible to win one in 2002, and they promptly did so, grabbing highly touted youth international from UCLA Nelson Akwari in August. The defender ended up playing in seven games, starting three of them, and was underwhelming at best, as Metro swan dived to miss the playoffs. Still, many thought highly of his credentials to hope that he sticks around, but newly-arrived Bob Bradley would have none of that. On draft day in 2003, he would package Nelson to Columbus in a deal that yielded Tim Regan; and Metro did not lose much. Two underwhelming seasons with the Crew followed, an expansion draft move to Real Salt Lake, and two underwhelming seasons in Utah (in his first, he teamed up with Countess, who had a horrid year there before embarking on a world vagabond career). Akwari now plies his trade in the USL for the Charlotte Eagles alongside another Metro bust and fellow Christian Crusader Steve Shak.

Still, failures be damned, every time MLS holds a lottery, we hope Metro wins it. Why do we fail to learn from history? Maybe so we can continue Obscure Metro Files indefinitely?

•  News Archive
•  Rumor Mill
•  Weekly Awards
•  Season Ratings
•  Last Game Ratings

•  History Overview
•  All-Time Roster
•  All-Time Results
•  All-Time Stats
•  Team Records
•  Hall of Fame
•  All-Time XI
•  Numeric Roster
•  International Roster
•  Coaching History
•  Captain History
•  Draft History
•  Trophy Case
•  Transfer Records
•  Frivolities
•  Honors History
•  Award History
•  Ratings History

Home · Team · News · History · Boards · Stuff · About