This week MetroStars.com caught up with goalkeeper Jonny Walker to get his opinions on the team's progress prior to the All-Star break and to predict where the team is headed in the second half of the season.
Do you feel that because of the rest period due to the All-Star Game, the team lost the momentum it gained before the break?
I'm actually looking at it as a positive break that we got to have. It was a nice three games that we put together and we had a nice break. I think everybody needed it. We are looking very good in the table and we're coming up against L.A., so I think it all depends on how we do this weekend, to find out whether or not the break hurt us. But I would like to think it's a nice chance for everyone to recharge their batteries and now head into the final stretch.
What do you attribute the improvement in the defense (allowing only three goals in the last four games) to since the 6-2 loss to D.C. United?
We sat down after the D.C. game - it was just a nasty performance all-around and these things happen over the course of the season. The important thing for us is it happened fairly early on in the season and we were able to respond, so to get that game out of our system and be able to respond to that and get the results that we needed against some very difficult opponents, it was tremendous for us.
What is the team's game plan going into the match vs. the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday?
I don't know how much different we're going to approach the game. L.A. is a team that plays a little different on the road than they do at home. I'm hoping it's going to be a wide-open game, but when the two of us meet, it's pretty much a lot of chances for both teams and it's an exciting game to watch and be apart of.
How important has midfielder Amado Guevara's contribution been to the team?
Everybody knows he's a great player but he has a bit of character as well. In the locker room, he plays a very important part as well as he does on the field. Everybody knows how talented he is and how important he is in the vision and performance of this team. He's also an integral part of the blend that makes the MetroStars what we are. He's just a super all-around guy. More importantly than what he does on the field, is he really fits well in the locker room and that's key.
Could you stop an Amado Guevara penalty kick?
[Laughs] If he would go to the same side, I would cheat (Guevara is five-for-five this year, always shooting to his left). Before he'd start taking his three steps, I would shuffle sideways ... he wouldn't be looking up and I'd be sitting there, unless of course he went the other way and then I'd look like a fool.
If you really do wait and you don't cheat, I think it's very difficult to save it even though you know where the ball is going. Who knows, he might change it up one of these days.