Kljestan vs Colombia, 2007
History of Metro at Copa America (Part 2)
June 2, 2016

In 1999, Moreno and Sanchez returned, and Henry Zambrano played for Colombia. Two players who will keep coming to Copas debuted: Jorge Rojas for Venezuela, and Rafael Marquez for third-finishing Mexico. (Ugh, do you realize that Juan Pablo Angel never played in his continent's biggest tournament, but we have to mention Rafa SIX times? He is not even from South America!)

2001: your returnees were Marquez (Mexico finished second), Rojas, and Sanchez. Juninho played for Brazil (to make it overly confusing, there were two famous Juninhos on that team: ours, Pernambucano, as well as Juninho Paulista). But Brazil famously crashed out in the quarterfinals, losing to... Honduras.

And what a story Honduras was! Argentina withdrew just before the tournament after players received death threats, so the Central American team was invited. They shocked the hemisphere, finishing third. Amado Guevara led the way: he scored both in a 2:0 win over Bolivia, as well as the lone strike in a 1:0 in over Uruguay. At the end, he was named tournament MVP. Honduras was never invited again.

Now the gap between tournaments was switched to three years, so we arrive at 2004. Parreira returned with Brazil (11 years later), and actually won the tournament this time around, beating Argentina in the finals. Marquez was back for Mexico. Rojas was joined on Venezuela by his future Metro teammate, Gabriel Cichero.

In 2007, Marquez (another third place for Mexico), Rojas, and Cichero returned, the latter two playing in their home country. Moreno returned for the final fat time, scoring two goals. Appearing for the first time was Bolivia's diminutive Joselito Vaca.

2007 also saw the return of the US. Bob Bradley didn't bring a first-choice team, opting to give experience to many young players. Take Sacha Kljestan: he tripled his cap total after the tournament, after playing against Paraguay and Colombia. The US only scored twice in three games, losing all matches. The goal against Paraguay came from Ricardo Clark. Other past and future Metros included Eddie Gaven, Heath Pearce, and Marvell Wynne.

Four years later the only Metro-related representative was Vaca. Marquez actually missed that tournament (he was busy stinking it up for Metro at the time), but returned for the 2015 edition. More importantly, last year's tournament saw the first current Metro take the field: Kemar Lawrence, who acquitted well for invited debutants Jamaica.

Which brings us to this year's Copa America Centenario. Lawrence and Marquez are back, and the US team has ex-Metro greats Michael Bradley and Tim Howard. Oh, and Juan Carlos Osorio is coaching Mexico. Why does writing articles like this always bring up painful memories?...

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