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Bound east: Agoos traded to MetroStars

the MLS Cup Final. On the other hand, Agoos has played a part in six such contests, five times earning a ring by helping his club become MLS champions.

"Jeff brings a lot of things to the table," said MetroStars general manager Nick Sakiewicz. "He brings experience, he brings good characteristics in terms of the type of person that he is on the field and off the field. He brings five championships under his belt and a high degree of motivation to win more. I think those are all great qualities that we want to add to our team and that will make us better."

At 36 years old, Agoos might not have the speed and quickness that he did in his younger days, but his knowledge of the game, leadership ability and positioning still rank him among the best in MLS defenders. He made 24 appearances for the Earthquakes in the 2004 season -- most at center back, though he also figured some as a left fullback -- while also contributing offensively with a goal and four assists.

MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley will look to Agoos to aid in solidifying his side's defending next season. The inconsistent Metros allowed 49 goals in 30 regular season matches in 2004, more than any other team in the league.

The addition of Agoos to the Metros' defense also will reunite two of the top backs ever produced in the USA. Eddie Pope, who joined the MetroStars from D.C. United in 2003, played alongside Agoos for five seasons. The pair also had a regular partnership for the U.S. national team under manager Bruce Arena, who was at the helm for United in their first three seasons.

With the departure of Jamaican international Craig Ziadie to CD Chivas USA in the MLS Expansion Draft earlier this month, Bradley was left with a very young group of defenders. Jeff Parke, 22, was a regular starter for the Metros in his rookie season, as was 25-year-old Chris Leitch. Other contributors, including Kenny Arena and Seth Stammler, both 23, had few first-team appearances in 2004.

The Swiss-born Agoos, though, has been involved in MLS since its inception in 1996, joining D.C. United prior to the start of their inaugural campaign. He was a fixture in the Black-and-Red's back line for five seasons, helping United to become the dominant force in MLS through the league's earliest seasons. Agoos won three championships (1996, 1997, 1999) during his tenure in the nation's capital as United reached the MLS Cup Final four consecutive years.

Following a disappointing 2000 season in D.C, during which United won only eight matches, Agoos was traded to San Jose for Abdul Thompson Conteh and a pair of selections in the 2001 SuperDraft. The left-footed defender wasted no time making his presence felt in the Bay Area, catapulting the Quakes from worst to first just a year later.

Agoos was an important cog in the San Jose side that captured its first league championship with a 2-1 extra-time victory in MLS Cup 2001 against their California rivals Los Angeles Galaxy in Columbus, Ohio. Agoos and the Quakes repeated the feat in 2003, this time taking down the Chicago Fire by a 4-2 score at The Home Depot Center.

The successes of Agoos have not only been limited to domestic competition. On two occasions he has been a member of the U.S. World Cup team. In 1998 in France, Agoos was confined to the substitutes' bench under coach Steve Sampson, but he saw action in three matches for the Red, White and Blue in their historic quarterfinal run at the 2002 event in Korea under Arena. Including youth national teams, Agoos has represented the United States at nearly every international level.

The Quakes make a move towards youth with the trade, opting to select a new young player rather than retain the services of Agoos. With the departure of Landon Donovan, who recently announced his intentions to return to Germany, San Jose will have a new look and feel in 2005, the club's two most accomplished and recognized players moving on to new challenges.

Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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