Ten Best: Unexpected heroes
March 8, 2012

Every year, we go into the season with some expectation, of the team and of the players. Some of these are met; many, these being Metro, are not. And yet, from time to time an unexpected hero emerges... One only hope we'll find a new one in 2012.

  • 10) Carlos Mendes, 2005
    Long-in-the-tooth Jeff Agoos was supposed to anchor the defense, and little was expected of preseason trialist Mendes, who was originally thought to be a right back. But the former minor league outshone the veteran, and became a team regular not just for that season, but for seven years.

  • 9) Daniel Hernandez and Steve Jolley, 2000
    While Clint Mathis' arrival flipped 2000 on its head, the defense was patched by these two cast-offs. Acquired on the same day in 2000, Hernandez was not playing in Tampa Bay, and Jolley was left for dead in Los Angeles. The duo immediately stepped into the Metro lineup and revitalized the defense. While Hernandez's season-ending injury curtailed his prowess, Jolley didn't miss a minute of play until the 2002 season.

  • 8) Danny Cepero, 2008
    After starting keeper Jon Conway was suspended late in the 2008 season, the youngster Cepero, who spent the year on loan to the minors, was dispatched. His debut was short of miraculous, as he became the first goalie in MLS history to score a goal. His playoff run was magical, as he put in two amazing performances to shut out Houston and Salt Lake on the road to put Metro in its first MLS Cup.

  • 7) Jim Rooney, 1998
    The former minor league and construction worker went on trial with Metro during the 1998 preseason. The team went to Italy, where it was to play AC Milan. Rooney scored against the Italian giants, got signed, and promptly scored on his league debut as well. Overall, he tallied nine goals during the year and was the catalyst of much of Metro's attack. Somehow, the moronic Bora Milutinovic decided to dispatch Rooney early in 1999.

  • 6) Rodrigo Faria, 2001
    Supposedly, Octavio Zambrano had Faria tank the pre-draft player combine. So very few knew anything of this second-round pick from unheralded Concordia College. Heads were soon turned as Faria scored 11 in all competitions on his way to being named MLS Rookie of the Year. The Brazilian led the team in goals next year as well.

  • 5) Luke Rodgers, 2011
    Say what you want about Hans Backe, but at least he foresaw Rodgers' success, when few did. The much-traveled English striker, who never played above the third division in his native land, burst on the scene last year. His presence proved to be talismanic, as his ability to stretch the field proved to be an ideal partnership for Titi Henry. Ten goals don't tell the whole story... Hopefully we'll see more this year.

  • 4) John Wolyniec, 2003
    Wolyniec had a cup of coffee with Metro in 1999, but returned in 2003 after stints in MLS and the minors. Not much was expected from the journeyman, but when Jaime Moreno pulled up lame in midseason, Woly turned it on. From his amazing overtime winners to the goal that put Metro into the US Open Cup final, to his many contributions through 2010 (minus a sojourn in late 2005, early 2006) that included Metro's first (and so far, only) goal in MLS Cup, the Staten Island Ronaldo forever entrenched himself in Metro lore.

  • 3) Joel Lindpere, 2010
    Estonia? Really? Yes, Estonia. People looked at Lindpere's resume and sneered, and his claims for his desire to visit every US state was met with snarky remarks, even from this very website. And yet, he delivered, starting from opening day, when his rocket against Chicago opened Red Bull Arena to a raucous celebration. It got better from there, as Lindpere's never-say-die attitude and fighting spirit catapulted him into the hearts of Metro fans. Team MVP in 2010, and MetroFanatic's two-time Player of the Year. Yes, Estonia!

  • 2) Jeff Parke, 2004
    There are draft picks, and then there are draft picks, and then there is Jeff Parke. The very last pick of the 2004 SuperDraft, not much, if anything, was expected from the unheralded defender. But Bob Bradley saw in him what many others didn't, as he became a starter from day one, and a stalwart through 2008 (winning MetroFanatic Player of the Year in 2006). We still rue the day the moronic combo of Agoos and Juan Carlos Osorio decided to let him go.

  • 1) Giovanni Savarese, 1996
    Who else? The ninth-round pick in MLS's inaugural draft scored in Metro's first game ever, and proceeded to score the first eight goals in team history (discounting an own goal). The amazing bicycle kick against Tampa, the first hat-trick in team history against Colorado, countless huge goals through his three season stay, and a team record of 44 in all competitions when he departed.
  • •  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