Last Men Standing
|It's April 2, 2005, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Over 18,000 fans were on hand to witness the debut of the expansion team, Chivas USA. After months of boastful promises and controversy, the newcomers were utterly outclassed by the vistors, the defending champions DC United. Welcome to MLS. The whole year turned out to be a nightmare, and most of the offending players were jettisoned. Looking back at that first game, only four of the first xi remain with the club. Things weren't much better for Real Salt Lake, who also only have four of the original starting lineup left after one year.|
Looking at that, I wondered, who was the last surviving member of the original First XI for every MLS team? Let's find out.
Zach Thornton, Lubos Kubik, Francis Okaroh, Andrew Lewis, Jorge Salcedo, Frank Klopas (Zak Ibsen 66), Rich Kotschau, Chris Armas, Peter Nowak, Roman Kosecki (Jesse Marsch 83), Tony Kuhn (Ante Razov 74)
Armas is still there. Thornton left and came back, and I don't count that.
Dusty Hudock, Denis Hamlett, Ian Butterworth, Troy Edwards, Matt Kmosko, Steve Trittschuh, Chris Henderson (Roy Wegerle 77), Dominic Kinnear, Scott Benedetti (Richard Sharpe 77), Shaun Bartlett, Jean Harbor
The worst season in 1996, and all players were gone by 1999. Henderson (in his first stint) and Trittschuh both played through 1998. But Henderson was traded on 11/19/98, while Trittschuh wasn't traded until the 1999 season started.
Bo Oshoniyi, Mike Clark, Mark Watson, Shane Battelle (Todd Yeagley 84), Janusz Michallik, Billy Thompson, Doctor Khumalo, Brian Bliss, Pete Marino (Brian Maisonneuve 72), Adrian Paz (Mac Cozier 78), Brian McBride
Both Clark and McBride played through 2003. McBride was bought by Fulham in January 2004, while Clark retired in March. Maisonneuve outlasted both of them but didn't start the inaugural game.
Mark Dodd, Ed Puskarich, Diego Sonora, Richard Farrer, Leonel Alvarez, Chad Ashton (John Kerr 75), Jason Kreis, Lawrence Lozzano, Gerell Elliott, Washington Rodriguez (Jimmy Glenn 82), Ted Eck
No prizes for guessing this one. Became RSL's first player after the 2004 season.
Jeff Causey, Said Fazlagic, Jeff Agoos, Thor Lee, Mario Gori, Richie Williams (Erik Imler 87), John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry, Shawn Medved (Mike Huwiler 71), Juan Berthy Suarez, Raul Diaz Arce
Another easy one. Left after 2003, even though I believe he wanted to stay.
Kansas City Wiz
Pat Harrington, Samuel Ekeme, Sean Bowers, Tommy Reasoner (Scott Uderitz 83), Uche Okafor, Matt McKeon, Preki, Mark Chung, Eric Eichmann, Frank Klopas (Diego Gutierrez 83), Vitalis Takawira
Preki played a year for Miami in 2001, but still was the last man standing when he left.
Los Angeles Galaxy
Jorge Campos, Dan Calichman, Robin Fraser, Arash Noamouz, Mark Semioli, Manny Motajo, Cobi Jones (Brad Wilson 65), Mauricio Cienfuegos, Chris Armas, Eduardo Hurtado, Harut Karapetyan (Andrew Shue 65)
The only player to be with the same team for all eleven years.
Jeff Cassar, Leo Cullen, Wade Webber, Cle Kooiman, Matt Kmosko, Henry Gutierrez (David Vaudreuil 66), Diego Serna (Kris Kelderman 79), John Maessner, Marcelo Herrera, Carlos Valderrama, Dan Stebbins.
Two survivors here due to contraction. Cullen was traded midway through the last season.
New England Revolution
Jim St. Andre, Zak Ibsen, Alexi Lalas, Richard Weiszmann (Aidan Heaney 89), Peter Woodring, Geoff Aunger, Mike Burns, John DeBrito, Alberto Naveda (Giuseppe Galderisi 59), Robert Ukrop, Welton
Burns was there until 2000, when he was traded to San Jose.
New York/New Jersey Metrostars
Tony Meola, Nicola Caricola, Rhett Harty, Andrew Restrepo (Matt Knowles 74), Ken Hesse, Danny Barber, Mickey Kydes (Miles Joseph 58), Damian Silvera, Peter Vermes, Giovanni Savarese, A.J. Wood (Edmundo Rodriguez 65)
Only Meola, Harty, and Savarese were still with the team two years later. Meola is the team's survivor, because he was traded on 1/29/1999, while Savarese was traded nine days earlier. Harty was never re-signed after the 1998 season, and I believe MLS contracts run through the calendar year, so he would be third (right?).
San Jose Earthquakes
Tom Liner, Troy Dayak, John Doyle, Michael Emenalo, Tim Martin, Jorge Rodas (Paul Holocher 79), Victor Mella, Ben Iroha (Eddie Lewis 89), Paul Bravo, Jeff Baicher, Eric Wynalda
Dayak left and came back. Doyle was there for the ugly early years, through 2000.
Tampa Bay Mutiny
Mark Dougherty, John Diffley, Cle Kooiman, Steve Pittman, Frank Yallop, Ivan McKinley, Steve Ralston, Carlos Valderrama, Martin Vasquez, Evans Wise (Derek Backman 89), Roy Lassiter
Ralston, the 1996 Rookie of the Year, was there from day one and never left. Yallop was the second to last guy, playing through the 1998 season.
Brad Guzan, Orlando Perez, Aaron Lopez (Isaac Romo 74), Ryan Suarez, Ezra Hendrickson, Francisco Gomez (Francisco Mendoza 32), Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Arturo Torres (Antonio Martinez 58), Thiago Martins, Matt Taylor
Ramirez is very likely to retire. Guzan seems the most likely choice here. It's very possible the rest could be gone next year.
EDIT: Yep, Guzan was the last survivor.
Real Salt Lake
D.J. Countess, Eddie Pope, Nelson Akwari, Matt Behncke, Rusty Pierce, Dipsy Selolwane, Andy Williams, Marlon Rojas (Luke Kreamalmeyer 72), Brian Kamler, Clint Mathis, Jason Kreis
Kreis is my pick, despite his age. Akwari is the youngest by far, but lacks the talent.
EDIT: After Kreis and Pope retired, Williams was the last man standing.
Pat Onstad, Kelly Gray, Ryan Cochrane, Kevin Goldthwaite, Wade Barrett, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Adrian Serioux, Brian Mullan, Brian Ching, Alejandro Moreno.
So, who's going to last here? Due to his age, if he doesn't get transferred, Clark is a good bet.
EDIT: It's July 2008, and we're down to Onstad, Barrett, Clark, De Rosario, Mullan, and Ching.