Tim Mulqueen
Obscure Metro Files: Unused goalkeepers
November 22, 2016

Brace yourself for perhaps the most Obscure Metro Files ever: the tales of unused goalkeepers. Some of them came for a game, some for a month, some for a season, some even longer. They were injury replacements, minor-league call-ups, complete unknowns, and two of them best goalkeepers in league history. None of them ever played a minute. Oh, and we're not even sure we counted everyone. These are their (abridged) stories.

Prior to the 1996 season, the MetroStars executed a colossal, ill-fated trade. Metro traded the second overall pick in the college draft, which became Eddie Pope, and a first round supplemental pick to DC for a pu pu platter that got them the first overall supplemental pick, used on curse starter Nicola Caricola (he wasn't going to go another team anyway), three more picks (players drafted never played a minute), and goalkeeper Matthew Olson, who was taken by the Scum in the 13th round of the inaugural draft. With Zach Thornton not available early in the season, Olson backed up Tony Meola and was promptly cut when the real backup arrived. Later in the year, with Thornton away with the Olympic team, instead of acquiring a goalkeeper, Metro decided to let assistant coach Tim Mulqueen dress as Meola's backup. Mulqueen spent four years as Metro's goalkeeping coach, and later worked with Kansas City and various US youth national teams.

Metro did not need to augment goalkeepers next year, but did so in 1998. Tim Howard arrived to backup Meola, and he was often away on youth US duty. In came an influx on minor-leaguers for short-term relief. There was Spaniard Manuel Carou, a former La Liga player with Rayo Vallecano who then played for the Long Island Rough Riders (this will become a theme) and Emmett Idzhal of the Central Jersey Riptide. Kevin East, who was drafted, but never played for Columbus, came from the New Jersey Stallions. Finally, there was Bill Andracki, an established minor league player with the then-A-League power Rochester Rhinos. He actually did play for Metro in their midseason friendly with Benfica (this will become a theme?), and did earn his one and only MLS game in the same season, on a similar loan to Miami.

The awfulness of 1999 saw Meola now replaced with Mike Ammann, but Howard still had commitments elsewhere. East and Andracki returned, and so did a new batch of obscurity: Kori Hunter, Steve McAnulty, and Kurt Kelley. Hunter was a former Rutgers player best known for being arrested for shooting a gun at a phone book in his dorm room. He was loaned from the one-season wonders, the Maryland Mania. McAnulty (not to be confused with "The Wire" character with a similar last name) came from the North Jersey Imperials, Kelley from the Rough Riders.

Howard had Olympic commitments in 2000, so Metro picked up a player who was released by Chicago after allowing four goals in back-to-back games... Greg Sutton! You note that he is not bolded, because he would make his Metro debut ten years later. Also not bolded are Paul Grafer (he of the long pants) and Russell Payne. The duo had to step in (the former more than the latter) when Howard was away for the Olympics and Ammann was recovering from being stepped on by Mamadouchebag Diallo. The obscure name from 2000 is Anthony Latronica (here's our bold!), a call-up from the Boston Bulldogs. (Don't you just love those long-departed team names...)

Ammann was sent away in 2001 so that Howard could play every single minute, Grafer backed up, and two goalies seemed enough... until Metro won the lottery for UCLA rookie and US youth international D.J. Countess (not to be confused with a "Full House" character with the same initials). He was shipped to Dallas prior to the following season and had a middling career in MLS, including starting in Salt Lake's awful first year. Two goalkeepers seemed enough in 2002 as well, as Howard played every minute in league play once again... until a late red card that meant Grafter had to start the regular season finale (he allowed three, Metro lost and didn't make the playoffs), and Jeff Cassar had to be called up from the Atlanta Silverbacks. Cassar previously played in MLS for Dallas and Miami, and would follow up with Dallas as well. He is now the head coach at Salt Lake.

In 2003, Howard was called up to the Confederations Cup, so Metro used the newly-formed league goalkeeper pool (this will become a theme) to call up Clint Baumstark to back up Grafer. In his three years in the pool, Baumstark spent time on eight(!) MLS rosters, while playing in only one game: for the Scum. Midway through the year, Howard was sold to Manchester United and Jonny Walker walked in to replace. When Walker was injured midway through 2004, the league pool was used again, as Andrew Terris backed up Zach Wells.

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