In the 65th minute of last Saturday's game, to every MetroStars fan, it seemed like we were going to the next round of the MLS postseason. Unfortunately, a quick attack by the New England Revolution ended our season in disappointment. It seems almost ironic that we were eliminated from the playoffs in comeback style, the same way we have been getting wins all season.
"For the past five games, they have been tremendous for me since I came in," said MetroStars interim head coach Mo Johnston. "I've got nothing but good to say about them."
With the end of the season, I felt it was fitting to give the first annual "Babblin' Brooks Awards." You see, players get the Honda MVP, Defender of the Year and Unsung Hero awards, but I have my own set of honors to give out among the Red and Black. Before I start my babblin', let me bring you back to last week's trivia question:
"Babblin' Brooks" was not the first column I wrote for MetroStars.com. What was the name of my column two years ago?
Like I mentioned last week, this was the hardest question I gave. The correct name of the column was "The Teenage View."
There were only four winners: Ryan Coutant, Oren Glickman from Teaneck, N.J., Jon Goch from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Clay Farr from Atlanta, Ga.
Because I gave such a hard question, I told these four winners to give their thoughts on the MetroStars season and I would publish them in the column. This week, Ryan and Oren had something to say about the Metros.
"I thought the MetroStars had an okay season," said Ryan. "There are some things that we have to work on during the off-season, like changes to the roster, especially on defense. We need more experience back there and we depend on Amado Guevara and Youri Djorkaeff, so I hope they can return. So far, Mo Johnston has been doing a great job, so he should stay on as manager for next season."
"Well, it was a heartbreaking end to the season, but perhaps the better team won," said Oren. "I give much respect to those who made the drive up to Gillette Stadium. I am already looking forward to next season and, of course, to Harrison in 2007. I hope Mo [Johnston] gets a chance to show what he can do next year. It was a fun season."
Now, onto the babblin' ...
My first award is the "B.B. MetroStars Comeback Player of the Year Award," which goes to the player, in my mind, who overcame obstacles and performed great in the second half of the regular season. I believe that the perfect candidate for this award is defender Tim Ward. On May 25, Ward suffered a hamstring strain and was sidelined for almost three months. He finally returned on Aug. 14 against Columbus. Since then, he started his final five games of the season and recorded two incredible assists, both vital in the wins that the MetroStars got in those games.
My next award is the "B.B. MetroStars Best Dressed Award." Zach Wells gets this honor for his attire after the game. Whenever I go into the locker room after games, I always see him in nice, buttoned-down shirts, usually with a plaid or striped pattern. Not only are they colorful and unique, but the UCLA graduate really gives the locker room a sense of style.
Next is the "B.B. MetroStars Eager to Score Award," which goes to Sergio Galvan Rey. Whenever starting or coming in from the bench, Galvan Rey is always giving opposing defenders a hard time. He also led the team with 28 offside calls.
The "B.B. MetroStars Survivor Award" goes to Eddie Gaven, for his ability to get up after being thrown to the turf many times. He led the team with 67 fouls suffered, with the next most suffered 51 times by Amado Guevara. His 67 fouls suffered ranked 7th in all of MLS.
The next award goes to the player who you could always turn to for a laugh. The "B.B. MetroStars Dane Cook Award" is given to Jason Hernandez. Whenever I was around him, he was always laughing or telling a joke to a member of the team or media. Hernandez was always making people smile, giving the locker room great energy.
My "B.B. MetroStars Honor Roll Award" goes to Seth Stammler. Not many know this, but during the week, Stammler attends classes at the University of Maryland. At the age of 24, Stammler is working hard to finish up his degree, which will be an incredible accomplishment, being that he spends more than half of his week training with the team.
Finally, I am giving out the "B.B. MetroStars Underrated Player of the Year Award," which is given to the player who is not mentioned too often, but still makes a huge difference in games. In my view, there is no other player possible than Michael Bradley. Playing in 2,628 of a possible 2,880 minutes, Bradley has been on the field more than any other player on the team. At the age of 18, he was always reliable in the midfield. He scored his first career goal in the final game of the season, but his four assists cannot be forgotten and his physical presence was always a factor. Bradley led the team in fouls committed and caution cards, proving he was not to be taken lightly. Bradley has an incredible sense of the game and will make a name for himself with the U.S. national team in a few years.
I would just like to thank everyone who has supported the team throughout the year as well as my column. Though the MetroStars did not get as far as we hoped, their late season run was one to remember. As a team filled with a tremendous amount of youth, the MetroStars will gain experience and improve next season.
Bringing you this column every week has been a pleasure for me and I will continue to write over the off-season every other week.
That's all the babblin' I have time for this week. Go Metros!