Ten Worst: Metro Europeans
May 23, 2020
If picking the ten best Europeans in Metro history was difficult, picking ten worst is even harder. First, let's mention those who didn't make the cut:
Nicola Caricola, for all his own goals, was actually a very solid defender. Lothar Matthaus, for his St. Tropez trip, contributed greatly to the first quality team in Metro history. Frank Rost, for his airplane injury, only allowed three goals in three playoff games. Omer Damari, for... something, scored a very key goal in the Champions League.
We're not done yet! Three more names that have to be mentioned, for they were all incredibly close to the bottom ten: Ernst Oebster, who was saved by his Champions League goal; Richard Eckersley, who did contribute to huge playoff victories (and huge playoff losses, of course), and Andreas Ivan, who once scored two goals in four days, including one in the Champions League (is there a theme)?
10) Fredrik Gulbrandsen (Norway), 2017
Compare these two stat lines for two strikers, both internationally capped, who both had their contract terminated by mutual consent in midseason: 10 games, 836 minutes, 0 goals, 3 assists; 12 games, 362 minutes, 0 goals, 1 assist. The first is Ruben Dario Hernandez, forever scarred as one of the worst busts in team history. The second is Guldbrandsen. Why should he get a pass?
9) Andzej Juskowiak (Poland), 2003
Juskowiak, who came to Metro with good pedigree (he was scoring in the Bundesliga not much prior), was supposed to help the attack after being signed in midseason. Instead, he lumbered through games, including an invisible performance in the Open Cup final. He did score a meaningless goal in his 367 minutes over eight games, and was sent back to (lower) Bundesliga soon after.
8) Victor Palsson (Iceland), 2014
Palsson was banned from all bars in Edinburgh for public urination. Enough said? In his first start with Metro, he turned the ball over in midfield, leading to a loss. It was all downhill from there, with blind reckless tackles becoming his calling card. Midway through the season, Erik Soler had enough and loaned Palsson back to Europe. "The Urinator" somehow carved out a respectable career since, playing in five countries, and making his way to the national team.
7) Saer Sene (France), 2014
A late-season acquisition in a trade with New England, Sene actually scored a goal, against a pathetic CD FAS team in Champions League. Then, in the return leg, he proceeded to stink it up, missing a penalty kick so badly that it almost sailed out of the stadium. Never started a league game, and was swiftly released after the season. He has since played for a team called Montana... in Bulgaria.
6) Elie Ikangu (France), 2006-07
Mo Johnston compared Ikangu to Claude Makelele; that wasn't exactly fair to either party. Somehow, Ikangu survived into the Bruce Arena regime, playing in a total of four games in two seasons, all off the bench. The skinny, slight Frenchman was ill-equipped to play defensive midfield. After leaving Metro, he dropped off the face of the earth.
5) Sebastien Le Toux (France), 2012
Acquired during the late season push in a trade for Dane Richards, Le Toux came from Vancouver and never wanted to be here. The worm lover pouted, but did score on his debut... and then never again. We're still scratching our heads about Hans Backe's decision to give him a playoff start over Kenny Cooper. After the season, he pouted again, and was sent back to Philly. Good riddance.
4) Markus Schopp (Austria), 2006-07
When Red Bull bought the franchise, some fans began to salivate at the prospect of European players that can be signed to the "sister club" in Salzburg and be loaned to New York to circumvent the salary cap. What they got was Schopp, the former Austrian World Cup midfielder whose million-dollar-plus salary saw him step on the field just 12 times in a season and a half with Metro. In those 12 matches, he tallied a single assist, and spent most of his playing time lying on the field, be it from constant diving or from his inability to keep up with opponents.
3) Brian Nielsen (Denmark), 2010-11
More Red Bull synergy: many were excited when the Danish youth international winger "signed" with Metro in what was supposed to be a grooming session for Salzburg. It turned out to be a shady loan deal where Nielsen's contract was not with any team, but rather Red Bull the company. He started a game a couple of days after arriving, and then never did so in league again. Nielsen played a total of 109 minutes over two seasons, including just four in 2011, when he was inexplicably carried on the roster for the full season. He didn't want to be here when he arrived; when he discovered the nightlife, he didn't want to leave. Nielsen has not played soccer since leaving Metro, and now apparently runs a bar in his home country.
2) Leo Krupnik (Ukraine), 2009
The 2009 team was the worst in club history (1999? Maybe, but let's go with it), and Krupnik might have been the worst player on it. His Metro story actually started in 2002, when he was drafted in the 6th round out of Cal-Berkley. He was cut in preseason, played in Iowa in the PDL, was signed late in the year, didn't play at all, and went to Israel, where he had a rather solid career. In 2009, America called again, Krupnik returned, signing in midseason. On his debut, against Colorado, he was absolutely putrid as Metro lost 4:0. He somehow played in two more games... then went back to Israel.
1) Peter Canero (Scotland), 2006
Rejected earlier by Bob Bradley but signed by Johnston and the clown Alexi Lalas with promises of better wing play, the Scottish international (and one-time English Premier League player!) could not win a starting spot in any of the multiple positions he was supposed to be able to play. Canero ended up starting just two matches, and was barely visible and painfully out-of-shape during his time on the field. Another one to never play a game after leaving Metro, he retired at the age of 25.