Ten Best: Metros who played for Columbus
November 12, 2020
Metro and Crew. Two MLS originals. Not exactly rivals, but played their share of memorable games (our one and only MLS Cup be damned). The teams were willing trading partners early in MLS, so we had to leave off many names from this list: A.J. Wood, Manny Lagos, Mike Duhaney, Thomas Dooley, Ross Paule, Andy Williams, Cornell Glen, Chris Henderson, Danny O'Rourke, Tony Tchani, and even Amro Tarek...
10) Ante Razov: Columbus 2005, NY 2005
When Bob Bradley switched over to Metro, Razov was on top of the list of former Chicago players he wanted to acquire. But the Fire wouldn't deal with their former head coach. So Bradley had to wait for Razov to be shipped to Columbus, pout, and pounce. Absolutely despised during his time with Chicago, Razov put in a very solid half season with Metro, scoring six goals. After Bradley's ouster, the idiotic regime of Alexi Lalas and Mo Johnston didn't see the potential in one of the best scorers in league history. Now in charge of Chivas USA, Bradley pounced again.
9) Miles Joseph: NY 1996-2000; Columbus 2000
A Metro original, Joseph patrolled the wings for over four up-and-down seasons, but the massive turnover that started after the 1999 disaster spilled into early 2000. Dealt to the Crew for a second round pick, he played out the year in Columbus, then spent a year in Dallas, before calling it quits. Metro sent the draft pick to the DC Scum in the Mike Ammann/Richie Williams deal.
8) Chris Leitch: Columbus 2002, 2006; NY 2003-05, 2007-08
Started in Columbus, traded to Metro with Jeff Matteo (who never played a minute) for Ross Paule. Played three seasons for Metro as the primary right back, cut by the Lalas/Johnston regime, then rights traded to the Ctew in the Eddie Gaven/Edson Buddle deal. A season in Columbus, cut, signed back with Metro in middle of 2007. On and off starter from that point on, before somehow starting the 2008 MLS Cup against his former team (x2). Then it was off to San Jose...
7) Derrick Etienne: NY 2016-19; Columbus 2020-
Could next week's playoff game be the Etienne revenge game? We hope not. The homegrown player was not exactly ideal in his time with Metro, scoring just six goals. But one of those, coming after he missed a penalty kick, was the Shield clincher in 2018. We will never forget that. Cut after the 2019 season, has settled with Columbus. No revenge, please?
6) Ricardo Clark: NY 2003-04; Columbus 2018-19
The league-forced Clark trade to San Jose was the allocation that became Youri Djorkaeff is one of the biggest "what ifs" in Metro history. The potential Clark showed in his two seasons with Metro was immense; now it's just a blip on his career that saw it split between San Jose and Houston, winning two MLS Cup, and going to the World Cup. His career ended a year ago after two seasons in Columbus.
5) Mike Grella: NY 2015-17; Columbus 2018
Few thought Grella would amount to much when he came to MLS from the dregs of minor English and American leagues, but the one-time college standout quickly became a fan favorite. He scored the 1000th goal in team history (a winner against Columbus), as well as the quickest goal in league history (seven seconds against the Worms), and was a huge contributor to the 2015 Shield winners. Injuries caught up with him, as Grella was exposed in the re-entry draft after 2017, was taken by Columbus, played a season there, and retired.
4) Jonny Walker: NY 2003-05; Columbus 2005
When Tim Howard left for Manchester United in 2003, Metro didn't miss a beat, signing Walker from Chile's Colo Colo. The goalkeeper was spectacular in the half season, helping Metro to its first final ever in the Open Cup. A solid 2004 followed, but injuries took toll. Walker started 2005 on the injured reserve and Bradley decided to sign Tony Meola. Walker was send to the Crew for what amounted to an eighth round draft pick. He finished out the year as the Columbus starter, but called it quits afterwards.
3) Eddie Gaven: NY 2003-05; Columbus 2006-13
Gaven spent eight years with the Crew, is one of the best players in team history, and helped then to their one and only MLS Cup (that damn 2008 again). But he started as a 16-year-old with Metro in 2003, and made the MLS Best XI the year after. His trade for Buddle by the moronic Lalas is an even greater "what if". And how can we forget the goalkeeper-turned-scorer against DC Scum in his second game ever!
2) Carlos Mendes: NY 2005-11; Columbus 2012
For seven years, the once-unheralded Mendes was the one constant in Metro defense (except the time Juan Carlos Osorio tried him in defensive midfield). Teammates, coaches, stadiums, team name changed, but Mendes was still there, to the tune of 166 games, becoming the last remaining MetroStar. Taken in the re-entry draft by Columbus, he spent a year there, before switching to the minor-league Cosmos.
1) John Wolyniec: NY 1999, 2003-05, 2006-10; Columbus 2005-06
In 2003, Wolyniec scored the most amazing goal in MLS history, a one-time overtime volley against Columbus. In 2005, in order for Bradley to get Razov, he was shipped to the Crew. He would return a year later after a detour to LA, and ended his final Metro stint in 2010 after scoring 36 goals in total. One of those came in the 2008 Cup, against Columbus, of course... why do we keep bringing that game up?