Ten Best: Born in New York
May 4, 2015
So, there is a little game coming up this weekend. A derby, for our anglophile friends. New York vs New York! Of course, the newcomers claim that they are the "true" New York team, just because a large portion of its fanbase couldn't be bothered to cross the Hudson during the league's first 19 years...
Through the years, there have been 25 New York-born players who have played for Metro. That number will go up to 27, once Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Santiago Castano get first-team action. Together with Mike Grella and Anthony Wallace, that's four current New York-born players on the Metro roster. So, without further adieu, here are Metro's best 10 players born in New York City and areas close. What's that, NYCFC fans? We've had so many players from New York because we've existed for 20 years? Well, that's part of the darn point!
10) Edson Buddle (New Rochelle)
Alright, so Buddle's tenure for Metro wasn't exactly great, ending his lone year with a premature benching. Yet he did score a hat-trick in the biggest victory in club history, 6:0 against Salt Lake. Four years later, he played in the World Cup.
9) Ryan Meara (Yonkers)
Metro's once starting goalkeeper of the future is now NYCFC's backup goalkeeper of the present. Who knows what would have become if not for that gruesome injury halfway through Meara's rookie season. He is one of few goalkeepers in league history to open the season as a rookie starter.
8) Paul Grafer (Port Washington)
Talk about a cult hero! Grafer (and his long, black pants) was the first goalkeeper in team history to win a playoff series. He might have not been a starter, but he is forever universally loved by Metro fans.
7) Richie Williams (New York)
We hated the little pest in DC, but in his two stints with Metro, he did quite well. And then, of course, a much-beloved stint as an assistant (and twice interim head) coach followed. That all ended with a controversial exit which still leaves us scratching our heads.
6) Danny Cepero (Baldwin)
On his debut, scored the first MLS goalkeeper goal. Backstopped Metro to two historic playoff victories. Started in MLS Cup. His pro career might have been short, but it was incredibly memorable.
5) Jim Rooney (Bronx)
He came out of nowhere (working in construction!) to score nine goals and add five assists in 1998. One game into 1999, the idiot Bora Milutinovic cut him. Rooney became an important contributor in Miami and New England. Dumping him was one of the stupidest moves in team history.
4) Mark Semioli (Brooklyn)
Five years, 91 games, one afro, constant fight against MLS attackers... and against MLS itself, as he led the charge to raise player salaries. An underrated player who deserves more accolades.
3) Carlos Mendes (Mineola)
Seven years, 166 games (fourth in team history), countless baseball caps, no goals (but who is counting). A solid, solid defender (and, heck, onetime defensive midfielder. Thanks, Juan Carlos Osorio!).
2) John Wolyniec (Staten Island)
First-ballot MetroFanatic Hall of Famer. Staten Island Ronaldo. Need we say more?
1) Mike Petke (Bohemia)