E. RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Amado Guevara said he is thrilled to be named to the MLS All-Star Game for a third consecutive year, but that's just one of the goals he set for himself at the start of the season.
The ultimate goal? To win an MLS Cup.
And Guevara has taken steps to prove he is more serious about that goal. While his native Honduras is in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup, he has opted to play for club rather than country.
Last year he tried to balance the two through Honduras' unsuccessful World Cup qualifying run and it took its toll on the 2004 MLS MVP in the second half of the season.
"Last year I suffered a lot of wear and tear. This year one of my goals was not to travel that much and to concentrate on staying here," he said. "I hope Honduras does great and that they win the Gold Cup, but I'm here with this team.
"The Gold Cup is not a tournament I think is really important. I'm not saying anything negative about it, but my main goal is to win an MLS Cup with this team. That is more important than winning the Gold Cup."
That's the new Guevara speaking, the one who takes wearing the MetroStars captain's armband seriously.
"It is a big responsibility," Guevara said. "I'm going to remain here with the team and do the best that I can."
Added Metros coach Bob Bradley: "I'm pleased for him. He's continues to take a bigger role, to take more responsibility, so I'm going to keep pushing him. I want to see him holding up a trophy ... not the All-Star trophy either."
Guevara wouldn't say that he retired from international duty, but doesn't know when he will return to play for Honduras. He will be 32 when World Cup qualifying begins again.
"I'm an honest man," he said. "I understand that in three years I'm going to be older. If when the time comes if I feel I can help the national team, I will play."
At least in the first half of the season, Guevara has proven himself to again be one of the best players in the league. He leads the MetroStars with six goals and six assists. One of his best - and most creative - passes of the year wasn't even credited with an assist, but it did lead to Eddie Gaven's game-winning goal last Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Standing at the top of the restraining arc with three Los Angeles Galaxy players in front of him, Guevara deftly lifted the ball to Gaven, who knocked in the rebound of his saved header in the 67th minute to give the MetroStars a 2-1 win.
"(Amado is) probably is the best," Gaven said when asked about the best player he's played with. "Youri (Djorkaeff) is right there too but I haven't played with Youri in too many games. Sometimes it's just a matter of me making the right run and that's what I've been focusing more on this year."
Guevara's third trip to the MLS All-Star Game might be his sweetest, since he will be in the starting XI against an English Premier League side in Fulham on July 30 at Columbus Crew Stadium.
"I'm going to enjoy the time I'm going to spend playing against a team of that level and I'm going to have fun, do the best I can," he said, "and maybe some day I will be playing (in the Premier League)."
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.