Climbing the Ladder: Arnaud's legacy in Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City said goodbye to their captain on Monday, trading Davy Arnaud to the Montreal Impact. He was the last remaining member of the 2004 Wizards, who finished runners-up to D.C. United in that year’s MLS Cup. That was a breakout season for Arnaud, grabbing a starting role which until recently was never in doubt.

Most Games Played with Only One MLS Team (All-Time) *active
Rank Player Team Games Seasons
1 Cobi Jones LA 306 12
2 C.J. Brown CHI 296 13
3 *Shalrie Joseph NE 243 9
4 *Davy Arnuad KC 240 10
5 *Logan Pause CHI 227 9
6 Mike Clark CLB 221 8
7 Ben Olsen DC 221 12
8 Bobby Rhine DAL 212 10
9 Mauricio Cienfuegos LA 206 8
10 *Chad Marshall CLB 199 8

Arnaud was unique in spending his entire time in MLS to this point with a single team. It’s extremely rare in sports for a player to retire having only worn one jersey over a long career. When they do, they become legendary figures in the team’s history, like Ryan Giggs and Manchester United or Paolo Maldini and AC Milan. The closest thing in MLS history is probably Cobi Jones, though he played for other teams before the league began in 1996.

Jones played 306 regular-season games with the LA Galaxy, and never suited up for another MLS team (table at right). That’s the most of any of the league’s “one-team men.” C.J. Brown is second at 296 games with Chicago, though he played 13 seasons with the Fire, which is one more than Jones with the Galaxy.

After 10 years in Kansas City, Arnaud racked up enough appearances to rank fourth on the all-time list of MLS one-team players. He is also second among active players, behind only New England’s Shalrie Joseph. However, unlike the three men above him, Arnaud has only played for one professional team. Brown and Joseph both played in the third division of American soccer, while Jones had stints in England and Brazil.

Arnaud might not be the only player leaving the active list next season, however, with Joseph out of contract and D.C. United veteran Clyde Simms available in the Re-Entry Draft next week.

Simms comes in at No. 5 on the list for active players who have played with just one team (182 games), followed by Chicago's Gonzalo Segares (147), New York's Carlos Mendes (146), Kansas City's Michael Harrington (138) and a tie between Houston's Corey Ashe and New York's Dane Richards, each with 130 appearances.

Most Experienced Players to Play for a Second MLS Team (All-Time)
Rank Player Team Games Seasons
1 Jason Kreis DAL 247 9
2 Kevin Hartman LA 243 10
3 Nick Garcia KC 224 8
4 Chris Klein KC 200 8
5 Jack Jewsbury KC 195 8
6 Peter Vagenas LA 183 9
7 Jeff Cunningham CLB 182 7
8 Steve Ralston TB 177 6
9 Greg Vanney LA 168 6
10 Richard Mulrooney SJ 163` 6

It’s a rare occurrence, meanwhile, for a one-team player to be traded this far into his MLS career. Even stranger is that it's happened repeatedly in Kansas City, where several fellow members of that 2004 Wizards team were in similar situations.

In addition to Arnaud’s 10 seasons, Nick Garcia, Jack Jewsbury and Chris Klein each spent eight in Kansas City before getting a second employer. Among players who have played for multiple MLS teams, all three are among the five in terms of experience with their first team at the moment they were traded.

Once he steps on the field with the Impact, Arnaud’s 240 regular-season games played will make him the third-most experienced player to play for a second team, after Jason Kreis and Kevin Hartman. He’ll also be tied for the most seasons played (10) with Hartman.

Kreis was dealt after two straight years of Dallas finishing bottom of the Western Conference, as the emergence of Eddie Johnson in 2004 had made him expendable. Hartman’s trade came after the Galaxy acquired Joe Cannon, who only lasted one season in LA.

The only man in the top 15 to play more games with his second team (or any subsequent team) is Steve Ralston, who suited up 201 times with New England after 177 games with Tampa Bay.

Arnaud is obviously the most experienced "one-team man" in Kansas City history, but as soon as he suits up for Montreal, that honor will go to Mo Johnston, who appeared in 149 games for the Wizards.

Mendes passed Seth Stammler this season to take the "one-team man" honor in New York, while Francisco "Panchito" Mendoza got into just enough games before being waived to move into a tie with Jonathan Bornstein to lead that category for Chivas USA (123 games). Jámison Olave is only one game ahead of Javier Morales for Real Salt Lake, while Omar Cummings (120) leads the way for the Colorado Rapids.