Obscure Metro Files: Joselito Vaca and Kenny Arena
February 11, 2014
What do Peter Vermes, Marcelo Vega, Steve Shak, Andrzej Juskowiak, Michael Bradley, Danny Cepero, Rafael Marquez, and Peguy Luyindula have in common? They have all scored one and only one goal for Metro. There is still hope for you, Peguy.
Part of the one-goal scorer list are two players who did it in 2004: Joselito Vaca and Kenny Arena.
In the late 90s, MLS signed a development deal with famed Tahuichi Academy, which was (in theory) designed to lure promising young Bolivians into the league. It worked in one case: Vaca, who was drafted by Dallas fifth overall in 2001. The diminutive playmaker spent three nondescript years with the Burn, before Bob Bradley decided to bring him Metro's way. Metro gave up future considerations which turned into a first round pick. Metro picked up someone who had potential... the key word is "had".
Amado Guevara owned the playmaking role, so Vaca was relegated to the right wing. Nicknamed "Little Cow", sure ran like one, lumbering up and down the flank. Easily knocked off the ball, his small body seemed ill-fitted for MLS. Vaca's supposed passing ability was wasted; he tallied but a solitary assist. As for the solitary goal... it was a beauty.
The tally came in the frantic 5:5 tie at San Jose. With the hosts leading 2:1, Vaca sent a long curving shot from outside the box that ended in the upper left corner of the net. If you are only going to score a one goal, that was a pretty good way to do it.
After the season, Bradley decided he had enough of Vaca. "Little Cow" went back to Bolivia, signing with Blooming. He even made his way back to the national team, and played in a couple of Copa Americas.
Kenny Arena -- yes, Bruce's son -- was drafted as a Project-40 player in 2003. The central defender played in 10 games in his rookie season, and was quickly called one of the worst Metros in history. Slow, awkward, clumsy, he was a calamity waiting to happen. So many were surprised that when called into action in 2004, he proved somewhat competent.
Metro spent much of the mid-season in a player crisis. The small roster was stretched by injuries and international absences, leading to Bradley fielding the youngest lineup in league history in a home game versus Los Angeles. (There was only one healthy field player on the sub's bench.) In the 42nd minute, Mike Magee sent a free kick into the box that was met by Arena. Met by his posterior, to be exact. Yes, Kenny Arena's only career goal was scored with his ass.
Metro ended up winning the game 2:1 on a late Magee goal. Soon after, the crisis was over, and Arena found himself resigned to the bench. After the season, Bradley sent him to DC for a lowly third round supplemental pick. Arena never played for the Scum in a league game, and retired soon after. He is currently an assistant on daddy's LA team.
But we'll always have the butt goal...