Opening day rookie starters
Magee vs Columbus, 2003
March 14, 2012
It's hard to look for a silver lining in Metro's rather tepid performance on opening day; perhaps the play of rookie Ryan Meara can be one. The goalkeeper became the first Metro rookie netminder to start on opening day, and acquitted himself rather well, despite surrendering two goals. Where will his career take him from here? It's hard to tell, for the fate of Metro's opening day rookie starters has been anything but predictable.
1996: Damian Silvera
Well, the unpredictability start right off the bat, for Metro's only inaugural day rookie starter passed away at the age 35. The highly-touted prospect had a highly-underwhelming MLS career, starting only nine games for Metro before being shipped out to Kansas City after the season. He was out of soccer soon after. More here. Another rookie who appeared on opening day was Miles Joseph, as a sub.
1997: Andrew Lewis, Carlos Parra
What is this, Obscure Metro Files galore? Here is Lewis and here is Parra. Not much was expected from the former, who actually made 16 starts in his lone Metro season before going to Chicago in the expansion draft. Much was expected from the latter, who was the first Project-40 signing in league history... His total start number in a season and a half? Four, before a trade to Miami.
2000: Steve Shak
We have to skip two years to get to Shak, the biggest botch of a draft pick in team history... and he is only absolved of being the biggest botch in league history by the even more horrible Nik Besagno. Total starts? 19 in a season and a half, before a trade to Colorado. 19? How did he get 19 starts? More here.
2002: Sam Forko
Yes, another Obscure Metro Files subject! Forko was actually one of only two rookies to start in the league on opening day that year. He only started two more times the rest of the way, and was out of MLS after the season.
2003: Ricardo Clark, Mike Magee, Jacob LeBlanc
Finally, some quality! Clark: 35(!) starts in his rookie season, 56 overall, before a much-discussed departure and a much-maligned World Cup appearance. Magee: 21 starts as a rookie, 91 overall in six seasons, before a trade to a LA, where he... LET'S NOT DISCUSS WHAT HAPPENED IN LAST YEAR'S PLAYOFFS. LeBlanc: the only other start of his MLS career came in the meaningless regular season finale. Well, they can't all be winners.
2004: Jeff Parke
Who would have thunk it that the very last pick, 60th overall, would become an opening day starter? Or that he would start in 30 games and outplay Eddie Pope? Or that he would end up starting 136 games for Metro?
2005: Michael Bradley
Bradley was actually drafted in 2004, but missed the whole season due to injury. 33 starts in 2005, his lone Metro season. An excellent European career and a World Cup since. Are we still mad by the way he was dispatched? Hell, yes!
2006: Marvell Wynne
The first overall pick of that year's draft was infinitely better than Shak... But Wynne's Metro stay was even shorter. He did start in 27 games as a rookie, but in a still-puzzling move, Bruce Arena decided to dump him to Toronto after a lone start in 2007.
2007: Dane Richards
Still going strong, in his sixth Metro season. Now the longest-tenured member of the team, and a member of this website's All-Time Best XI. 30 starts as a rookie, 131 overall... and more coming. Sinisa Ubiparipovic appeared off the bench.
2008: Luke Sassano
The versatile utility man filled in right midfield on his debut. 16 starts as a rookie, including one in MLS Cup, 35 overall in his three seasons here. Now in Kansas City. Danleigh Borman appeared off the bench.
2010: Tim Ream
The only rookie to appear in 2009's opener was Jeremy Hall, who came on as a sub. Ream started the 2010 opener and played every minute in league and playoff action that year, for 32 starts. His total ended at 64 after the sale to Bolton. Tony Tchani appeared off the bench.
2012: Ryan Meara
So what does the future hold for Meara? Will he become a subject of Obscure Metro Files or get sold to Europe? Who knows... As the above has shown, the possibilities are out there.