Gaven, Guevara, Pope head to D.C.

MetroStars players young and not quite as young will travel down I-95 from the Big Apple to the big game this Saturday for the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game. Three members of the "Red and Black" have been honored with selection to the Eastern Conference team and all three will start.

It may seem just like another day at the office to perennial All-Star defender Eddie Pope (30), who, in his time with the "Black-and-Red" of D.C. United and the "Red and Black" of the MetroStars, has amassed eight consecutive All-Star honors, dating back to the league's second season in 1997. It is Pope's game-to-game consistency, impeccable positioning and composed play that have made him one of the top defenders ever to play in MLS and a regular on the U.S. national team.

Pope's club teammate and 17-year-old prodigy Eddie Gaven appears to be on the fast track to making himself an All-Star and national team regular as well. The midfielder has played and started all but one of his team's 19 games so far this season and he currently holds second place for the MetroStars in scoring with 14 points (four goals and six assists). Gaven's rapid improvement on the field has been recognized by players, coaches and fans alike, and thus he is set to become the youngest MLS All-Star starter in the nine-year history of the event.

The only man that sits above Gaven in points scored for the Metros is Amado Guevara. His 25 from nine goals and seven assists is not only tops for his club, but also the highest points mark in MLS. Guevara, who captains the Honduras national team, has proven to be an expert on dead balls and he is arguably the best playmaker in the league. Having joined the MetroStars for the 2003 season, Guevara will make his second straight All-Star appearance.

With the Metros sitting comfortably atop the Eastern Conference table with 29 points from 19 games -- five points ahead of second-place Columbus -- it makes perfect sense that some of their top players are also considered among the best in the league.

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