Flores, Walker hook on with new clubs

As expected, the MetroStars formally announced a trade sending Jonny Walker to the Columbus Crew for a fourth-round pick in the 2006 supplemental draft on Friday.

In addition, defensive midfielder Gilberto Flores, released by the Metros last week, has been picked up by the New England Revolution. Flores, who turns 22 next week, played just 39 minutes in three games this year but was a midfield force last year.

He spent a good portion of this year sidelined with a ruptured left tendon, ironically suffered as a result of a tackle by the Revolution's Clint Dempsey, who was issued a yellow card on the challenge.

Walker joined the Metros midway through the 2003 season, after Tim Howard was signed by Manchester United. He had a league-low 0.95 goals against average in 14 games but had an inconsistent 2004, playing the full 90 minutes in 28 games and finishing with a 1.61 GAA.

Walker required offseason rotator cuff surgery and was still recovering at the start of the season, giving Zach Wells the chance to shine. Walker then strained a calf muscle in a reserve league game and Wells stayed in the starting 11, where he's been ever since.

Walker gives the Crew much needed help in goal. Starter Jon Busch, one of the top 'keepers in MLS, is lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and backup Matt Jordan is out with a lower back strain.

Rookie Bill Gaudette, who began the year as the third-string 'keeper has started the last five games and has a GAA of 1.82.

"I am extremely excited to be joining Columbus," Walker said. "The team has a number of very talented players and I am looking forward to coming in and helping the team out to the best of my ability."

Added Columbus coach Greg Andrulis: "We are thrilled to be able to add a goalkeeper the caliber of Jonny Walker. With the season-ending injury to Jon Busch and injury to Matt Jordan we felt that it was important to add a veteran in the goal. Jonny has played at the highest level domestically and internationally, as well as being capped with the U.S. national team. We continue to put the pieces in place that will allow us to push forward."

Walker, who started for the Crew against D.C. United on Saturday night, became expendable when the Metros picked up veteran goalkeeper Tony Meola off waivers Thursday.

"We have something worked out and we're waiting to finalize it," MetroStars president and general manager Alexi Lalas said Thursday. "Jonny Walker has been an incredible player for this organization, and when we can do a deal, we wish him the best."

Dylan Butler 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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