Ten Best: Metro Colombians
February 28, 2012
If you take a look at Metro's all-time international roster, it's clear which nation is number one on the list: Colombia. And with Wilman Conde signed and Jhonny Arteaga and Jose Angulo possibly surviving their trials, that list is guaranteed to expand this year. So let's look at the ten best Colombians in Metro history, although in some cases the word "best" can't really apply. Note that we have to exclude Juan Agudelo, who, although Colombian-born, represents the US internationally.
10) Oscar Echeverry
Ouch. Not exactly the best place to start. The Colombian list actually has 11 players on it, but we will exclude the comically useless Julian Gomez. Echeverry just might have been Juan Carlos Osorio's worst signing, as the forward couldn't find the net in the nine matches he played. He did score against Chivas in a friendly... so that's something?
9) Ruben Dario Hernandez
Ah, yes. Our original "savior" and our original bust. Arriving in early 1996, and departing soon after, Rubencho did deliver an assist on Giovanni Savarese's magical bicycle kick goal. He spent the rest of his time here uselessly pouting, before begging to return to Colombia.
8) Diego Serna
A terror in Miami, Serna was acquired by Metro in the 2002 Dispersal Draft, as Mark Chung was sent away to receive the pick. The forward spent as much time on unannounced sojourns to Colombia as he did in practice, and was sent packing to New England after only eight games. But he did score a goal.
7) Pedro Alvarez
Alvarez also scored a goal, but forever will be remembered for two things: the multitude of cards he picked up (in his lone year with Metro, 12 yellows and two reds in all competitions), and the comment from Nick Sakiewicz that came before his signing that said Alvarez will "knock your socks off". He didn't, but at least he forever entered Metro lore...
6) Arley Palacios
There were rumors that Metro signed the wrong Palacios back in 1998. No one will admit if those are true, but the Palacios they did sign, a central defender, was average at best. But hey, he also scored a single goal! Weird trend we have going.
5) Henry Zambrano
After Metro mortgage its 1999 season to sign Lothar Matthaus, the German decided to stay away until 2000, so three players were quickly dispatched to fill in. One was Zambrano, who actually performed well down the stretch, scoring three goals. His first came against Columbus, the game-winner as Metro snapped a league-record 12-game losing streak. After the season, he was surprisingly traded for an allocation used on...
4) Alex Comas
Yes, Comas! The much-maligned mustached striker actually had a very productive 2000 season, scoring 14 goals in all competitions, while often coming off the bench. But he was awful in 2001, tallying two goals before getting released in midseason.
3) Antony De Avila
Ah, Pitufo. The dwarf king of ping-pong soccer. Signed after a long search for Rubencho's replacement, the diminutive striker was terrific in his first season, with eight goals (two of them in the playoffs) in just 11 games. 1997 wasn't as kind, but he did score nine... and dedicated a goal for Colombia to jailed drug lords. A mistake, he claimed.
2) Adolfo Valencia
Valencia was a repeated rumor to come to Metro during the league's early seasons. He did make his way over in 2000, and "El Tren" did not disappoint, setting the team record with 16 league goals in a season. When one counts all competitions, the total rises to a still-record number of 21, and includes the amazing late-second overtime winner in the playoffs against Dallas. Valencia slipped to just five league goals (eight in all competitions) in 2001, and that was that.
1) Juan Pablo Angel
Of course. Holder of many, many records, including goals in a season (19), league (58) and all competitions (62). Not only the greatest Colombian, but quite possibly the greatest player in franchise history.