Ten Best: Metro returns
June 7, 2013
So, it's rather unlikely that Amado Guevara will return to Metro, but if he did, he wouldn't be the first. We're only counting players -- the less said about Jeff Agoos' return to become Sporting Director, the better.
10) Tim Regan, 2007
Regan played three seasons from 2003 to 2005, mostly as a utility fill-in. Cut by the Mo Johnston / Alexi Lalas regime, he resurfaced with old coach Bob Bradley at Chivas USA, where he became a starting defender. A year later he returned, grew a beard to protect himself from the cold, and lasted only three games under Bruce Arena.
9) Steve Jolley, 2006
Many good things can be said about Jolley's first tenure with Metro, from 2000-03. He played in every possible minute his first two seasons with the club and set the team record for goals by a defender in a year (five in 2003). Traded to Dallas for Tenywa Bonseu, he came back in 2006. By then, Jolley was mostly a spare part who was often used as a last-minute attacking option.
8) Chris Leitch, 2007-08
Versatile, if not always consistent, Leitch was actually Metro's Defender of the Year in 2005... and was benched for the playoffs. Like Regan, he played during the three Bradley years, before being cut by Johnston/Lalas -- and then shipped to Columbus in the Eddie Gaven for Edson Buddle deal (we rue that trade to this day). A year later, he returned, and stayed for two seasons, starting all four games during the 2008 playoff run.
7) Roy Myers, 2000, 2001
Metro signed Myers in 1999 and almost immediately traded him to LA as part of a head-stretching debacle described here. He came back a year later in exchange for Brian Kelly, and became a starter on Metro's best ever team. After the season, he was released, re-signed with Saprissa in Costa Rica, and then made a brief return again, becoming the first player in team history with three separate playing stints. Three games in, a season-ending injury ended his Metro career.
6) Richie Williams, 2003
Williams came to Metro in 2001 as part of the Mike Ammann deal, returned to the Scum in 2002 in exchange for Brian Kamler, and then came back a year after as part of the massive trade that included Eddie Pope and Jaime Moreno. That year, he was among the team's minutes leaders, but was not re-signed for 2004, instead opting out to finish his playing days with minor-league Richmond. Of course, he would return once again, in 2006 as an assistant under Johnston. He survived him, Arena and Osorio, had two interim gigs in the middle, but was unceremoniously dumped by Erik Soler a year into assisting "Clever" Hans Backe.
5) Petter Villegas, 1999-2002
Does anyone remember Villegas' cup of tea in 1996, when he played in three mid-season games? He returned through the Supplemental Draft in 1999, and added 103 matches to his tally. A starter on the right wing since 2000, he was dumped to DC in 2002 for Mark Lisi and Craig Ziadie... then cheered on for Metro with the ESC while still a member of the hated Scum.
4) Tony Meola, 2005-06
Bradley needed a starting goalkeeper in 2005, and Meola made his return midway through the season. The original Metro took over from Zach Wells. He proceeded to have one of the most amazing goalkeeping games in team history with a remarkable shutout of Chivas USA that pushed Metro into the playoffs (the less said about his performance in those playoffs, the better). He started as a starter under Johnston in 2006, but lost the job to Jon Conway midway through the year. Released by Arena, he went on to play with the indoor Ironmen... but never retired?
3) Mike Petke, 2009-10
Shipped off to the Scum in the Pope/Moreno deal after 2002, Metro's all-time leader in games came back through Colorado in 2009. He was the team's Defender of the Year during his first return season (someone had to be), then scored in the Red Bull Arena opener against Santos. By the end of the year, the all-time games mark was moved to 197. 2010 proved to be Petke's last year as a player, but he stayed with the team... and seems to be doing quite well now, no?
2) John Wolyniec, 2003-05, 2006-10
Wolyniec was originally drafted in 1999, cut before playing a game, came back on loan from Long Island, scored on his debut, had the loan end, was drafted by Bradley in Chicago, went to New England, played in the minors for Rochester and Milwaukee, then was brought back by Bradley in 2003. Proved to be a key contributor, scored a spectacular goal against Columbus, as well as the goal that put Metro in their first (only) Open Cup final, scored 10 in 2004, then was traded midway through 2005 to Columbus for Ante Razov. From there went to LA, then back to Metro and Arena, and played out his career here, scoring the club's first (only) goal in the MLS Cup. Oh, and he is now assisting Petke and in charge of the reserve team.
1) Clint Mathis, 2007
Giovanni Savarese was the team's leading scorer from opening day to his last of 44 goals, scored in 1998. It took Mathis' return to break that record. The once-magical Mathis, who left for Hannover after the 2003 season, came back after stints in Salt Lake and Colorado. He scored just six in 2007, but that last one proved to be historic. A spectacular volley in the 5:4 victory over Los Angeles, with Mathis signaling 45 with his fingers... it was a day (and a return) to remember.