Babblin' Brooks: Crunch time

Hello MetroStars fans and welcome to another installment of Babblin' Brooks. This week we'll talk about the MLS playoffs, but first we look back on last week's trivia question:

What two former MetroStars players still lead the team in minutes played?

I hinted that the two players were defenders that still play in the league: Steve Jolley (FC Dallas) and Mike Petke (Coloardo Rapids).

One winner was Matthew R., a Villanova student from West Milford, N.J. "Players like Jolley and Petke are the type of players that the Metros are missing," said Matt. "They were strong players with the skill, heart and pride, bleeding Red and Black every game. I was sad to see them leave."

Donna C., a long time MetroStars fan also won the contest. "I can't say how glad I was when the U.S. organized a 'top flight' league," said Donna. "I have seen players come and go, some I really thought should have stayed (Mark Chung and Brad Davis are two who come to mind.) For some reason, the Metros seem to keep trading their good midfielders."

Other winners include Ken B., who has been a MetroStars fan when the "Red and Black" were still wearing the "Black and White." Also guessing correctly was Connor F., a 16-year-old fan from Scarsdale, N.Y., as well as Mike, 22, who is the Director of Operations for the Rutgers University Women's Soccer team. Robert L., from Brooklyn, also guessed the two defenders along with a fan from Forked River, N.J., Scott M. Queens, N.Y., was also represented in the list of winners with help from Priscilla, a die-hard Metros fan who sits with the Empire Supporters Club (Section 101) every game.

As always, many thanks to all who participated...

After a much-needed rest, the MetroStars are gearing up for the final stretch towards the MLS playoffs. For those unaware, the playoffs consist of the top four, out of the six teams in each conference. With eight games remaining, the Metros currently sit in fifth place, one spot out.

Above the Red and Black are New England, Kansas City, Chicago and D.C. United. The Columbus Crew are currently in last place, but their play is much improved over the last few weeks.

For the fans who think the Metros have no shot, think again. In their final eight games, the MetroStars play seven of them against teams in the East, while their only West opponent is last place Chivas U.S.A.

The next two games can make or break the squad, playing the Kansas City Wizards in a home-and-home stand. The Wizards are seven points in front of the Metros, but a sweep would put the Red and Black within one point of K.C., and possibly a current position into the postseason.

After that, the Metros will have a home-and-home series against the first place New England Revolution. Two of their following three games are against archrival D.C. United and the other one is at Chicago.

Put simply, the MetroStars need to win. At this point, they cannot hope for other teams to lose.

The Metros have been plagued by numerous injuries, especially on the back line. Veterans Jeff Agoos and Ryan Suarez need to return soon and to provide depth to the back four. We also may see the debut of Daniel Garipe, a defensive midfielder from Argentina who has been on trial with the club.

There is also another group of people that need to be at their best during home games. I am calling on all of you, the fans, to help give the MetroStars a true home field advantage. If you want to see this team make the playoffs, we want you to do your part and cheer for the Red and Black at Giants Stadium.

Here is a little incentive to come to the game. Not only do you get to see great soccer in a playoff-style atmosphere, but if you show up to the game on Sept. 3 against Kansas City and e-mail me with where you are sitting, I will personally show up to your seat and give you a MetroStars souvenir!

We are counting on all of you to back the Red and Black on their quest for the Cup.

When April 2 hit, all 12 teams had one goal in mind: MLS Cup. Over the next five months, every team has had their ups and downs, some with more than others. Now, in their final few games, every team is vying for a playoff position so they can do their part in going to Pizza Hut Park on Nov. 13.

Staying on the topic of the playoffs, that is what this week's trivia question is about:

Who has recorded the most shots on goal in MLS Playoff history?

If you have the answer as well as any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me at steven.brooks@temple.edu and I will be happy to respond. If you do have an answer, please send some topics you would like to see discussed on MetroStars.com.

That's all the babblin' I have time for this week. Go Metros!


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