Ten Best: Born in New Jersey
May 5, 2015
So, while the battle for New York might ensue over the coming years, we still got New Jersey. That's right, the state frowned upon by mightier-than-thou city residents should forever remain Metro's territory. And what about the players that hail from the Garden State? Three current ones, all academy graduates (Connor Lade, Matt Miazga, Sean Davis), and 26 overall, including some gems. That does not include Tab Ramos, who, although was raised in New Jersey, was born in Uruguay.
10) Matt Miazga (Clifton)
We could have gone with Jeff Zaun or Rob Johnson here, but let's vault Miazga to the top ten. He is getting better game after game, and he is still only 19.
9) Connor Lade (Livingston)
A surprisingly good rookie year, praise from Titi Henry himself, and then... not much. We finally saw him make a start last weekend, so maybe the tenacious shorty will claw his way back to good graces.
8) Billy Walsh (Chatham)
Four years, 92 games, 13 goals, and the MVP of the worst team in league history at that point. His exit was nothing to write home about, as opposed to...
7) Claudio Reyna (Livingston)
Reyna, who retired, and still got paid. Of course, the first Designated Player in Metro history was a rather terrific career elsewhere, even if his time here was below par. You can't fit a square peg in a round hole, as one might say.
6) Peter Vermes (Willingboro)
Only one season with Metro for the original captain. Only one goal. Only one epic shootout game-winner. "Esse! If I shoot, we win?" We won.
5) Michael Bradley (Princeton)
Alas, only one season for Metro. Only one goal, but what a goal, to claim the playoffs. Went on to greener pastures elsewhere, is now back in MLS... alas, he wouldn't return here.
4) Eddie Gaven (Hamilton)
12 years ago, Gaven, then 16, debuted for Metro. It seems like a lifetime ago. A year later, at 17, he was named to the MLS Best XI. A year after that, the clown Alexi Lalas (who also sold Bradley) dumped him to Columbus.
3) Jozy Altidore (Livingston)
Yet another brilliant youngster, given away too soon. So many brilliant goals during his short time here. Damn it, we really hate seeing him line up for Toronto!
2) Tony Meola (Belleville)
The original Metro goalkeeper, often the last line of defense, the World Cup veteran with a once-famous ponytail... And then, a triumphant sojourn to Kansas City, and a return to Metro, with a spectacular performance for the ages in that playoff-clinching game that Bradley scored in.
1) Tim Howard (North Brunswick)
In 1998, a scrawny 18-year-old signed with Metro. In 2001, he became a starter. In 2003, he was sold to Manchester United. In 2010, he started for the US at the World Cup. In 2014, he set the World Cup record for saves. His Metro years? Only the greatest goalkeeping in MLS history.