During the offseason the MetroStars made it a priority to acquire some experienced players to guide them in the 2005 season. They did this by adding five-time MLS Cup Champion Jeff Agoos and World Cup Champion Youri Djorkaeff. MetroStars.com caught up with the two new members of the "Red and Black" to ask them about camp.
MetroStars.com: Jeff, what are your thoughts on camp so far?
JA: I think that preseason is going good for us so far, and that we are working hard to get physically prepared for the long preseason. The preseason is also about getting to know each other, and we are all getting to know each other well here.
MetroStars.com: Youri, you have been here for less than a week, but what are your thoughts on preseason?
YD: It has started very good for me so far, because the players have welcomed me in so well. I am enjoying it, and I am very happy with my new team. I like it more and more every day.
JA: Actually, every player on the squad has exceeded the expectations that I had for them. The team is much more together than I thought based on the outside view that I had last season. There is a great dynamic and a lot of good players.
MetroStars.com: What about you Youri?
YD: Everybody, actually. I am surprised because the team is very young. We are not perfect yet, but I am sure that we will be ready for the start of the season.
MetroStars.com: Have either of you been spending a lot of time with any certain player or groups of players off the field?
JA: I wouldn't say that I have spent a lot of time with on in particular, but especially here in Ecuador I have had the chance to hang out with most of the guys, and get to know the different personalities of the team.
YD: I have been spending time with everybody. I think that's really important. Here, with the team you don't have your family or your friends. It's good for us to build the group during our stay here. We can hang out after lunch, and sometimes play ping-pong.
MetroStars.com: What are the major differences between this preseason and the different preseasons that you have been through with other clubs?
YD: It's very hot here. It's not usually this hot during preseason for me. But we know that we are here for preseason, and preseason is not supposed to be fun, because we are here to work. The practices have been good here though.
JA: The biggest difference for me so far is the length of time away from home so far. When I was in San Jose we would spend more time at home because the weather is better, but in New York you have to go away.
MetroStars.com: Jeff, with San Jose you played on the outside. So far with the Metros you have been playing more central defense. What are the major differences between the two positions?
JA: It's funny because they are very different positions, but they are also very similar based on positioning, what you have to do and what you have to think. But as a left back you are moving forward more, and you are getting into the attack. As a center back you are doing more organizing and defending.
MetroStars.com: Youri, we know that the question has been asked before, but would you prefer to play as a forward or midfielder for the Metros?
YD: I don't care. I want to play any position that is on a winning team.
MetroStars.com: One more for you, Youri. There are various reports out there about how you got so good at pin-pong. Can you set the record straight for us?
YD: (laughs) During the World Cup in 1998 in France we spent two months in the hotel, and there was one ping-pong table, and that's all we had to do. So at night I would practice to make sure that I got really good at it.
MetroStars.com: Thanks guys, good luck through the rest of preseason.
Notes From Training
The MetroStars underwent arguably their most demanding session of running thus far this morning. The team did laps around the field at a blistering pace. After the running they also did some ball work, and played some small sided games.
Headin' to the game: After having the afternoon off, the MetroStars players and staff headed to a game here in Guayaquil to see Barcelona SC host El Nacional de Quito. The game is at 4 p.m. ET and will provide the Metros with glimpse of the team that they will play on Tuesday night.
Team dinner: After the MetroStars leave the game, they will got out to a team dinner at a local Buffet in Guayaquil. Though the food is excellent at the complex, the team is looking forward to going out to dinner as a team.
Ping-Pong: Late last night there was some heated doubles matches taking place in the complex. Chris Leitch and Equipment Manager Craig Chmiel beat John Wolyniec midfielder Mark Lisi in a best of three series.
Ecaudorian Quick Fact of the Day: Three MLS teams will be make an appearance in Ecuador this preseason. Before the MetroStars got here the Colorado Rapids were here, and after the "Red and Black" depart, the New England Revolution will visit the South American country.