Clint Mathis, 2002
History of Metro at the Gold Cup
June 2, 2011

With Metro having five players called up to this summer's Gold Cup, let's look back in history of the tournament and track every instance of Metros participating...

The first Gold Cup after creation of MLS took place in January of 1996. The MetroStars were yet to play a game, but Tab Ramos was already on their roster. He started all four games as the US finished third, falling in the semifinals to guest team Brazil on Marcelo Balboa's own goal.

The first game of the 1998 Gold Cup took place on February 1. This is important, for at the time, Alexi Lalas was still a New England player. He didn't play in that match against Cuba, but six days later, suited for the US against Costa Rica, now a MetroStar. On February 4, Lalas was acquired in a three-player trade that saw DC ship Raul Diaz Arce to the Revs and Metro give a draft pick to the Scum. Lalas played three games as the US finished second, heroically beating Brazil in the semis before falling to Mexico.

No current Metro made the roster in 2000, when the US bowed out in the quarterfinals. In 2002, however, we got two players on the US roster for the first time. Richie Williams, who made two substitute appearances, was still a Metro through the Gold Cup that finished on February 2. Eight days later he would be shipped back to DC. More importantly, Clint Mathis made his competitive return after suffering the horrible ACL injury in 2001. Mathis appeared in three games off the bench and scored in the penalty kick shootout in the semifinal win against Canada. The US beat Costa Rica in the final.

CONCACAF shifted from even to odd years, so the next tournament came in 2003. For the first time ever, Metro send players to non-American teams, as American-born Craig Ziadie suited up for Jamaica. He started three games as his adopted country lost in the quarterfinals. Mathis appeared in four games for the US, which finished third, once again thwarted by Brazil, those unwelcome guests, in the semis.

The US won the title in 2005, beating Panama for the championship in Giants Stadium, but no Metro was on any squad. In 2007, the same result: a championship for the US, beating Mexico in the final, no Metro to be seen. Then, in 2009, the drought was broken, but it wasn't for Metro Americans. Alfredo Pacheco suited up for El Salvador, and Dane Richards for Jamaica. The former started two games as his country bowed out at the group stage. The latter made one appearance of the bench in Jamaica's first-round exit.

Which brings us to 2011. Richards is back, sure to improve on his performance two years ago. He's joined by Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo for the US, Dwayne De Rosario for Canada, and Rafael Marquez for Mexico. Will any of them help their country lift the trophy, or, perhaps, score Metro's first ever regulation Gold Cup goal? And will Metro itself survive the month of June with so many players absent? Stay tuned.

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