New York/New Jersey MetroStars 1996
1996 Club by Club
Jan. 3 - On a snowy day at Giants Stadium, former Cosmos field boss Eddie Firmani is introduced as the first head coach of the MetroStars. The former Cosmos coach shares the spotlight with another familiar face, that of U.S. goalkeeper and World Cup Team captain Tony Meola, who joins Tab Ramos on the MetroStars‘ roster.
Feb. 4 - The Empire Radisson hotel in midtown Manhattan is the site of the MetroStars‘ biggest announcement to date. Italian international and A.C. Milan midfielder Roberto Donadoni joins the MetroStars. The twelve-year Serie A veteran is presented with the No. 7 shirt by Stillitano.
Feb. 5 - Major League Soccer holds its first player draft, where the MetroStars select Philadelphia-born defender Matt Knowles with the ninth pick. By the end of the day, there are 16 new MetroStars.
March 4 - The MetroStars go wheeling and dealing in Ft. Lauderdale at the league‘s first supplemental and college drafts. On a day when teams are looking for six players, the MetroStars come away with 10, including 11-year veteran of Serie A Nicola Caricola, a defender whom they select with the first supplemental pick. In the college draft, the MetroStars pick up Miles Joseph, a midfielder from Clifton Park, N.Y., and Clemson University.
March 5 - The MetroStars hold their first-ever practice session at the Giants Stadium bubble.
March 13 - Spring Training begins in Boca Raton, Florida, as some 20 players go fighting for jobs.
April 13 - History is made, as the MetroStars and the Los Angeles Galaxy meet at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, playing before 69,250 fans. The MetroStars lose, 2-1, but a star is born in the 77th minute when Venezuelan Giovanni Savarese scores the first goal in team history.
April 20 - The MetroStars kick off in Giants Stadium before 46,826 fans, who witness a thrilling, if somewhat bizarre, game that ends in defeat in the 90th minute on an own goal by Nicola Caricola. It is the lone score in a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution.
May 4 - The MetroStars come from three goals down in a four-minute stretch to defeat the Tampa Bay Mutiny, 4-3, in a shootout for the first win in team history. Savarese ties the game with a bicycle kick in the 75th minute. Ramos nets the decisive shootout goal to the delight of the crowd.
May 16 - Giovanni Savarese scores the first hat-trick in team history, scoring all three goals in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. It is the first regulation win in team history.
May 24 - Head Coach Eddie Firmani resigns his position on the same day that the MetroStars play host to their first international opponent, Fiorentina of Italy. Argentine Gabriel Batistuta scores two goals and the Serie A giants go on to win, 4-0.
May 30 - Portuguese coaching legend Carlos Queiroz becomes the second head coach of the MetroStars, but drops a 2-1 decision to D.C. United in his first game at the helm.
Aug. 12 - MetroStars sign Colombian striker Antony “El Pitufo” De Avila.
Sept. 15 - Head Coach Carlos Queiroz announces he will leave at the end of the `96 season to become Head Coach of Grampus Eight of the J-League in Japan.
Sept. 24 - Peter Vermes scored in the 11th round of the shootout as the MetroStars defeat D.C. United in the opening game of the playoffs, 3-2.
Oct. 2 - MetroStars are eliminated in the playoffs in the decisive Game 3, as Rob Johnson’s foul leads to an 88th-minute penalty kick by D.C.
Oct. 19 - Roberto Donadoni is the first MetroStar to be named to the MLS Best XI.
Dec. 30 - The MetroStars announce the hiring of reigning World Cup champion coach Carlos Alberto Parreira of Brazil as head coach.