Obscure Metro Files: Henry Zambrano and Andrzej Juskowiak
February 17, 2014
What three Metro players won the Golden Shoe at a major FIFA tournament? We'll give you one: Thierry Henry led all scorers with four goals at the 2003 Confederations Cup. The other two? Well, they are in this article's title.
Henry Zambrano's triumph came at the 1993 World Youth Cup in Australia. The Colombian scored three goals, tying him with five others, as he won the Golden Shoe in a tiebreaker. His goals didn't help his country, as they finished in last place in the group.
Zambrano returned home from the tournament, and showed his goalscoring prowess in Colombian league play. In 1999, the MetroStars were desperate for goals (and for foreign players), so they made the striker their final international signing.
We detailed this debacle before: after Lothar Matthaus delayed his Metro arrival until 2000, Charlie Stillitano decided to sign three players to help the floundering team: Mohammad Khakpour, Sasa Curcic, and Zambrano. "Zambrano is the type of player who we believe should be an impact player in this league," the GM said. "He's shown himself to be a great competitor, and pairing him with [Eduardo] Hurtado should make our team more explosive at forward. His speed and tenacity will be exciting to watch."
There was no excitement. With Metro mired in the middle of the longest losing streak in league history, Zambrano's arrival was a case of too little, too late. Now, he did score the gamewinner in Columbus that ended that losing streak, and tallied two more times, versus San Jose and Tampa Bay, but his performance was nothing to write home about. So few were concerned when he was dealt to Colorado in a post-draft trade for an allocation.
That allocation was used on Alex Comas (Zambrano's former youth teammate) and his mustache. Zambrano would only play season in Colorado, go back to Colombia, and then resurface for a terrible stint with DC. He retired in 2007, failing to live up to potential shown as a youth.
Andrzej Juskowiak's Golden Shoe was more clear-cut than Zambrano's. He led the 1992 Olympics with seven goals, as Poland finished second in Barcelona. Among Juskowiak's tallies were a goal against the US in the group play and a hat-trick against Australia in the semifinals.
By 2003, Juskowiak had successful stints in Portugal, Greece, and Germany behind his belt, and was playing with Energie Cottbus in the German second division when Metro decided to snap him up. Deciding was the easy part: in order to sign him, Metro had to deal a third round pick to San Jose to acquire a discovery slot. (Oh, MLS and its rules!) Juskowiak arrived in September. "He is a strong player with an excellent record of scoring goals for his teams," Bob Bradley said. "His experience and character will help us greatly in the important games remaining this season." "We are looking forward to him contributing in our playoff run down the stretch of the season," Nick Sakiewicz added.
Contribute he did not. Juskowiak was unfit, to say the least, and lumbered around the field with the grace of a tractor. He did manage to score a goal, in a defeat to New England, but other positive aspects were impossible to identify. Bradley did trust him to start the Open Cup final and the playoff opener... but the less said about those, the better.
In January, Juskowiak quietly departed, returning to the German second division with Erzgebirge Aue. He played three years for the team before retiring.
These two were no match for Thierry Henry, we'll give you that.