History of opening day rookie starters
March 2, 2020
Patrick Seagrist's start against Cincinnati was an anomaly: it was the first time a rookie draft pick started for Metro on opening day since 2012. So let's go through the years and point out all occurrences of rookies starting the first game of the season, be they draft picks or otherwise.
1996: Damian Silvera, A.J. Wood (Los Angeles 2, MetroStars 1)
Two players with no professional experience started Metro's inaugural game: midfielder Silvera (RIP), a college player allocated pre-draft, and forward Wood, the fifth-round pick (49th overall) in the inaugural draft. Silvera, who was favorably compared to Claudio Reyna, flamed out of MLS. Wood became Metro's second ever goal scorer in the team's 9th game, but didn't amount to much either. Career starts (all competitions): Silvera, 9; Wood, 20.
1997: Carlos Parra, Andrew Lewis (San Jose 0, MetroStars 0 (SO 4:3))
Parra, the first Project-40 (pre-Generation adidas) player in team history, was signed straight out of high school, and started at the age of 20. That might have been the highlight of his pro career. Lewis, a third-round defender from Princeton (25th overall) had an undistinguished MLS stint.. Career starts: Parra, 4; Lewis, 16.
2000: Steve Shak (Miami 3, MetroStars 1)
Picking first overall, Octavio Zambrano could have had Nick Garcia, Carlos Bocanegra, Danny Califf, Sacha Victorine, Bobby Convey... Instead, he went with a player he knew from youth soccer, Steve Shak, who will go down as one of the worst picks in the history of all sports. Career starts: 19 (about 18 too many).
2002: Sam Forko (MetroStars 3, New England 1)
The third-round pick (30th overall) from UConn surprisingly started at right back, but didn't play much the rest of the way. It looks like he never played soccer after his one year in MLS. Career starts: 3.
2003: Ricardo Clark, Mike Magee, Jacob LeBlanc (MetroStars 0, Columbus 1)
Clark: 2nd overall pick, MLS champion (elsewhere), World Cup. Magee: 4th overall pick, MLS champion (elsewhere), MLS MVP. LeBlanc: 42nd overall pick. Career starts: Clark, 56; Magee, 91; LeBlanc, 2.
2004: Jeff Parke (Columbus 1, MetroStars 3)
Picked 60th and last out of Drexel, Parke became a starter on Day 1 and didn't relinquish it for five years... until something called Jungle Warfare took it away. Parke was MetroFanatic Hero of the Year in 2006, and is a member of our website's Hall of Fame. Career starts: 136.
2005: Michael Bradley (MetroStars 0, Salt Lake 0)
You might of heard of this guy... Drafted in 2004 in the 4th round (36th overall), Bob Bradley's teenage son missed what would have been his rookie season through injury. In 2005, he became a starter from the onset, and kept his job even when Bob was fired by the clown Alexi Lalas. The rest of his career? Let's say it had a lot of ups and some downs. Career starts: 33.
2006: Marvell Wynne (DC United 2, New York 2)
Just like Shak, Wynne was a defender picked #1 from UCLA. Unlike Shak, he didn't suck, and we still can't fathom why Bruce Arena dumped him to Toronto for a pittance a year later. Career starts: 28.
2008: Luke Sassano (New York 2, Columbus 0)
A third-rounder (32nd overall) from California, Sassano was a utility player who actually ended up starting in defensive midfield during 2008's surprising run to MLS Cup. He lasted two and a half years with Metro. Career starts: 35.
2010: Tim Ream (New York 1, Chicago 0)
Drafted out of St. Louis in the second round (18th overall), Ream played every minute at Red Bull Arena's opening day... and then every minute the rest of the season in quite possibly the best rookie campaign in team history. He was sold to England's greener pastures after his second season. Career starts: 64.
2012: Ryan Meara (Dallas 2, New York 1)
Eight seasons ago, Metro jettisoned all of its goalkeepers, and second-rounder Meara (31st overall) was thrust into the lineup on opening day. A gruesome injury ended his season early, Luis Robles came aboard, and Meara might finally regain his spot this year? Career starts: 40.
2018: Ben Mines (New York 4, Portland 0)
Metro was busy with Champions League, so a second-choice lineup started the opener, and crushed Portland. 17-year-old Mines, who signed straight out of high school, scored the game's first goal... and he hasn't played for the first team since. Career starts: 1?
2020: Patrick Seagrist (New York 3, Cincinnati 2)
Metro traded up to take Seagrist 10th overall from Marquette. With Kemar Lawrence sold, the rookie started at left back. With little options out there, he looks to hold that spot the rest of the way? Career starts: 1?