Obscure Metro Files: Joey DiGiamarino and Edgar Bartolomeu
May 17, 2012
We always look back fondly at 2003. The year was filled with such promise, including the arrival of Amado Guevara, the potential of Eddie Gaven, and the run to the final of the US Open Cup (back when this franchise cared about such things). The year saw Bob Bradley attempt to patch up the floundering franchise that was left over by Octavio Zambrano.
An obvious hole was at left back. 2002's starter, Ted Chronopoulos (see his own Obscure Files) was released soon after the season. To replace him, Bradley brought in Joey DiGiamarino and Edgar Bartolomeu.
DiGiamarino was once a promising youngster, and became one of the first players in league history to leave college early and sign with MLS through Project-40. He was allocated to Colorado in 1997, and spent four seasons there. After playing for the US at the 2000 Olympics, he decided to try his luck in Europe with German powers Bayer Leverkusen.
The move turned heads at the time; DiGiamarino wasn't exactly a star, and Bayer was constantly threatening to win one of the toughest leagues in Europe. Pundits were left scratching their heads... and they continued to do so for the next two years, as DiGi did not make a single first team appearance, be it because of injuries or overall quality.
So it made sense for him to return to MLS in 2003... and he had to go through the lottery. Now, back then there was a big brouhaha about the process, with many morons accusing the league of favoritism after Metro won D.J. Countess in 2001 and Nelson Akwari in 2002. (Yes, there were cries over D.J. Countess and Nelson Akwari. SERIOUSLY.) In this lottery, however, only two teams took place: Metro and DC Scum. Metro won, and DiGi was all theirs, for better or for worse.
But Bradley wasn't satisfied with one left back, so he acquired Edgar Bartolomeu, who trialed during preseason. (Metro originally sent Andy Williams to Chicago for a conditional draft pick, then reverted on it to acquire Bartolomeu's rights. Chicago owned his rights because Metro was out of discovery slots that could be used to sign players, so Chicago signed him for them. People who complain about the way MLS operates today should really stop.)
Bartolomeu spent a lot of his career indoors, mostly with the Philadelphia Kixx. He started his outdoor career with the now-forgotten Toronto Lynx of the A-League, and played for the LI Rough Riders in 2002, helping them to the D-3 title. The Angolan became the third senior international on Metro, joining Guevara and Moreno. (That's right, teams were only allowed THREE senior internationals. See above, complainers.)
And the results... well, they were underwhelming for both. DiGi was not exactly adept in defending, and his biggest contribution seemed to be the presence of the buxomed woman with a personalized jersey embroidered with "DIGI'S GIRL" on the back. He played in 20 games in all competitions, starting 18. Bartolomeu, whose own jersey eschewed his last name for "EDGAR", played in 18, starting 15, and tallied two assists in Open Cup play. 2003 was the only year the two appeared for Metro.
Bartolomeu was dropped during the 2004 preseason. No MLS team picked him up, so he went back to the Lynx and the Kixx, and even got close to earning a Canadian cap that never came. DiGi started 2004 injured, and was dropped in May when the team signed Pablo Brenes (more Obscure Files!). He went back to Colorado, played out the season, and retired.
Seriously, people, if you complain about our current left backs... Think back to DiGi and Edgar.