Obscure Metro Files: Joao Luiz and Guido
July 7, 2005

In 1997, World Cup winner Carlos Alberto Parreira took over the MetroStars. The New York Times ran a great article where Parreira discussed how much he loved his life as a New York City painter... which is all fun and great, until you realize that the job he got paid for was to coach the Metros. Seeing how passionate he was about his art, we wonder what might have happened if he took an ounce of that passion and put it into the team.

The 1997 team was quite talented; Tony Meola, Tab Ramos, Roberto Donadoni, Antony De Avila, Mike Sorber, all players with World Cup credentials. But for Parreira that was not enough. He was disgusted with the American players on the team, especially the defenders. He had to have players who knew how to play "futbol". He needed Brazilians.

So Brazilians he got. And Joao Luiz and Guido will forever be intertwined in Metro history. Amazing, considering the former played only seven games in a Metro uniform; the latter, nine. But as similar as their Metro careers were, the paths they took to the club were rather different.

Guido, whose full name was Guido Alves Pereira Neto, came from Parreira's former club, Sao Paulo, where he played for the youth team. The transfer fee, if any, was minimal. Only 21 at the time, the defensive midfielder was slotted alongside Sorber to give stability at the center of the field. But never was much expected of him.

Joao Luiz, full name Joao Luiz Ferreira Baptista, played for Brazilian giants Vasco da Gama. He was great, Parreira said. He will be the best defender in MLS, Parreira said. We must have him at any price, Parreira said. And we did. The reported transfer fee was ONE MILLION DOLLARS. That comes out to a whopping $142,857 a game. That's A-Rod numbers right there.

Why did the two last so little with the Metros? Both suffered injuries early, and both did not come back from them. Whether it was their choice or one of the MetroStars is lost in obscurity, but they... just weren't good enough. Parreira greatly overestimated the Brazilian charm, as Joao Luiz and Guido were average MLSers at best. And that's saying it kindly. Guido went on to play in China and then in Switzerland for St. Gallen, for whom he appeared in the UEFA Cup win against Chelsea. Joao Luiz... we assume he went back to Brazil. If he was as good as Parreira said he was, he must have gotten a job... somewhere.

Of course, the side effect of Joao Luiz's departure is that the Metros were able to re-arrange their marquee slots, put him on the season-ending injured reserve (although it's quite possible that he was able to play), and replace him with a World Cup winner under Parreira, Branco. But that's a story for another time...

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