The continuity established by the MetroStars' ability to start the same lineup over the last three games is gone. Amado Guevara, one of the front-runners to be voted the league's Most Valuable Player this season, is with the Honduran national team for World Cup qualifying.
Ricardo Clark is the leading candidate to start in Guevara's place in midfield Sunday against the Dallas Burn, and while the MetroStars midfield still has a right to play very well, there will be no substitute for the skills of Guevara.
"When you say midfield, that encompasses a lot of things, but Amado is the best at what he does," goalkeeper Jonny Walker said. "But we have a number of guys who are dying to get in and prove themselves. We're not going to have a shortage of volunteers."
Head coach Bob Bradley chose to downplay the absence of Guevara, who enters the weekend as the leading scorer in MLS.
"It will have to be a collective effort," the league's all-time leader in coaching victories said. "But it's the same idea as any of the weeks that Amado is here. We're always looking for a collective effort."
Aside from Guevara, the MetroStars could also be without Cornell Glen, who is doubtful with an ankle injury, and further injuries in the team could make for a short bench on Sunday.
"We've had so many different pairings up front that we've learned to adjust to each other," forward John Wolyniec said. "I think we've gotten used to that. We've developed a good understanding. Not just me and Cornell, but all the forwards have developed a good understanding with each other."
Wolyniec could be paired up top this weekend with Sergio Galvan Rey.
Dan Lauletta is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.