Ten Best: Metros who played for LA
September 25, 2014

We're continuing our series of "The best Metros to play for ____". What, you expected a longer opening? Sorry, we're still reeling from this week's debacle.

  • 10) Eduardo Hurtado: LA 1996-98, NY 1998-99
    Roy Myers was a candidate for this spot, but we ended up going with "El Tanque". The burly Ecuadorian scored 21 goals for the Galaxy in the league's inaugural season, slumped in 1997, and was traded to Metro early in the 1998 season for Wellington Sanchez. Here, Hurtado produced an excellent 10 goal, 14 assist season, the latter still (Still! Come on, Titi!) the team record. He slumped terribly in 1999 and was jettisoned soon after.

  • 9) Mark Semioli: LA 1996-97; NY 1997-2001
    Semioli arrived midway through 1997 for a lowly 2nd round supplemental pick. He ended up being an important defender for the next four and a half seasons, surviving multiple regimes and even passing the bar on the side. At the forefront of the player lawsuit against the league, Semioli retired to become a lawyer, and then a teacher.

  • 8) Todd Dunivant: LA 2005-06, 2009-; NY 2006-07
    Is he the best left back in team history? Probably, although Dunivant only played parts of two seasons with Metro. Stolen from LA for an allocation in 2006, he was inexplicably traded to Toronto for a much-worse Kevin Goldthwaite a year later. The amazing this is the man who traded him away, Bruce Arena, called him "one of the twelve best left backs in MLS"... and then promptly re-acquired him when he came to the Galaxy. There, Dunivant won two MLS Cups, adding to the two he had won before coming to NY. Ugh.

  • 7) Daniel Hernandez: LA 1998-99; NY 2000-02
    Hernandez started his MLS career under Octavio Zambrano in LA, fell out of favor, and was traded to Tampa Bay, where he barely played. Zambrano, now with Metro, acquired his former player for unsigned draft pick Daniel Alvarez. It was one of the biggest trade steals in team history: Alvarez would never play in MLS, Hernandez played in NY for two and a half seasons, first in defense, partnering Steve Jolley and Mike Petke, and then in midfield. His injury midway through 2000 did the team no favors during its late-season run.

  • 6) Dema Kovalenko: NY 2006-07; LA 2009-10
    Hated when he was in Chicago in DC, beloved in his year-and-a-half with Metro. A ferocious competitor who left his all on the field, he did not fit Juan Carlos Osorio's mold. So the master tactician sent him to Salt Lake for peanuts. A year later Kovalenko would reunite with the coach who brought him to Metro, Bruce Arena in LA. He played there for two years.

  • 5) Mike Magee: NY 2003-08; LA 2009-13
    It's easy to forget that Magee was once one of Metro's longest-serving citizens, surviving six years and multiple regime changes. Never able to live up to the hype of his seven-goal rookie teenager season, never able to find a position, he was shipped by Osorio to LA (and Arena) for and 2nd round pick. (This because Metro GM Jeff Agoos had a handshake deal with his old boss; Toronto supposedly offered a first.) Magee blossomed in LA, winning to MLS Cups, scoring multiple goals in the playoffs, and then won the MVP in Chicago. He still whines a lot.

  • 4) Steve Jolley: LA 1997-2000; NY 2000-03, 2006
    Jolly spent three seasons in LA, usually as a starter, before losing a spot under a new regime. Old boss Zambrano took him to Metro on the same day he got Hernandez; all he gave up was a 2nd round pick. Jolley would play every single minute in every competition in 2000 and 2001, proving an invaluable player in central defense. He not old bled the colors, he also scored eight goals during his stint, the highest total for a defender in team history. Traded to Dallas after 2003, he came back for a swan song in 2006.

  • 3) John Wolyniec: NY 1999, 2003-05, 2006-10; LA 2006
    Do you remember that Wolyniec played for LA? No? It was actually his last-to-final stop. His Metro road was winded: drafted in 1999, cut before the season, back for a cup of coffee on loan, three years bouncing around MLS and the minors, a return in 2003, a 10-goal season in 2004, and a trade to Columbus for Ante Razov (who could also belong on this list). Parts of two seasons in Columbus, then a trade to LA, then back to Metro, where Arena shipped two picks for the club's prodigal son. Woly's final Metro tally: parts of nine seasons, 36 goals (including the team's only one in MLS Cup), one too many "Thriller" dances.

  • 2) Clint Mathis: LA 1998-2000, 2010; NY 2000-03, 2007
    If Mathis is #2, then #1... Well, let's get to Cletus first. In 2000, when LA wanted to sign Mexican star Luis Hernandez, MLS, proving that Calvinball is forever in its blood, had to put Mathis in a dispersal draft. Metro, with the league's worst record the year prior, obviously pounced. Clint tore up the league the rest of the year, carrying Metro to previously-unseen heights, including five goals in one game against Dallas, still the MLS record. You know the rest: an ACL tear that shattered his terrific beginning to 2001, a shortened 2002 that saw him score in the World Cup, an indifferent 2003, and a jump to Germany before returning to MLS, first with Salt Lake and then Colorado. Arena would bring Mathis back to NY in 2007, giving Clint just enough time to break the club's all-time goal record with his 45th. After the year, he was set to go to Europe again, so Arena dumped him back to LA for a ham sandwich (a 3rd round pick). Clint played for LA in a couple of friendlies, bolted for Greece, came back to Salt Lake, won MLS Cup there, before finishing his career where in started... in LA, with Arena, of course.

  • 1) Juan Pablo Angel: NY 2007-10; LA 2011
    Yes, there is your #1. Four years with Metro, staring with Arena, moving to Osioro and Hans Backe. 62 goals, eclipsing Mathis for the all-time record. (Are you listening, Titi? The record can be yours! Stay another year, please!) Quite possibly the greatest player in team history, a class act on and off the field, beloved by fans and teammates... but not by the Scandinavian regime, who saw the end of Angel's line, exposing him in the re-entry draft that followed 2010. LA and Arena took him, but were forced to drop him when Robbie Keane came calling. Angel recently announced his retirement, after winning three titles with Atletico Nacional, led by... Osorio. Funny how it all works out.
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