Ten Best: Metro South Americans
Faria and Valencia
April 28, 2020
In Metro's 25 year history, over 50 South Americans have played for the team. Figuring out 10 best will not be easy, but let's give it a whirl. We will exclude Tab Ramos, who was born in Uruguay, but obviously represented the United States internationally.
10) Petter Villegas (Ecuador), 1996, 1999-2002
We considered Cristian Casseres, who needs another good season to crack this list. (Is there gonna be another season?) We considered Gonzalo Veron, but compare his numbers: 82 games, 12 goals, 8 assists (Veron) vs 106 games, 15 goals, 24 assists (Villegas). We considered Marcelo Vega... Ha! No.
9) Diego Sonora (Argentina), 1998
There is a reason Sonora keeps popping up on our top ten lists: when all is said and done, he just might be the best pure right back in team history... even though he only played for Metro a single year.
8) Rodrigo Faria (Brazil), 2001-02
Supposedly, Octavio Zambrano had Faria tank the pre-draft player combine... it worked out well. Still the only Metro to be named MLS Rookie of the Year, a second-round pick out of unfashionable Concordia College, Faria scored 25 goals in his two seasons here.
7) Antony De Avila (Colombia), 1996-97
We've sung the praises of the diminutive Colombian many times on this website. The king of "Ping Pong soccer", El Pitufo scored eight goals in 11 games after joining the team late in 1996, and had a nine goal, nine assist season next year before being sold to Ecuador's Barcelona.
6) Alejandro Romero Gamarra (Paraguay), 2018-
The sky seems to be the limit for the Argentine-cum-Paraguayan, who burst on the scene by piling up assists in the first half of the Shield-winning 2018 season... then slowed down big-time. When Kaku is on, the current Metro team can look like world-beaters. Can clearly move up this list if he has a good season. (Is there gonna be a season?)
5) Adolfo Valencia (Colombia), 2000-01
In 2000, Valencia set team records of 16 goals in league play and 21 overall, which took seven and 14 years to break, respectively (Juan Pablo Angel and Bradley Wright-Phillips), respectively. Unfortunately, his 2001 was forgettable, as a long scoring drought saw his career Metro numbers end with 29 goals and 18 assists.
4) Jamison Olave (Colombia), 2013-14
The rock of Metro's first Shield-winning season, we keep wondering how that playoff run would have gone if not for Olave's red card in the opener. Olave was solid in 2014, but the magic was gone, so he was sent back to Salt Lake.
3) Felipe Martins (Brazil), 2015-18
The nasty pest was ever-present for the first three years under Jesse Marsch. Hated by opponents but beloved by Metro fans, he always rode the line of decensy, stepping over just enough not to get sent off.
2) Giovanni Savarese (Venezuela), 1996-98
If Gio could do one thing on the soccer field, it was putting goals in the net. He scored the first eight goals in Metro history to finish with 14 in 1996, 14 again in 1997, and 16 in 1998 for a total of 44. Makes us wonder how high that number would be if moronic Bora Milutinovic didn't trade him in 1999.
1) Juan Pablo Angel (Colombia), 2007-10
Titi Henry and BWP might have dwarfed Angel's star, but his importance can never be diminished. Captain, leader, pure class all the way. He left the team after obliterating all records, scoring 58 league goals and 62 in all competitions. You'll never be forgotten, Cherubic Assassin.