MetroStars midfielder Mark Lisi has the longest tenure on the team along with teammate Craig Ziadie. Lisi is looked at as one of the team's leaders, being a veteran of Major League Soccer. The 2004 season was a bit of a disappointment for the team's 2003 assist leader because of a series of ankle injuries. Lisi made his first appearance since Aug. 8 last Saturday in the MetroStars Eastern Conference Semifinal match vs. D.C. United. MetroStars.com caught up with Lisi to get his thoughts on his injury, his leadership role and the team's run in the 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs.
MetroStars.com: You've been out of the MetroStars lineup a good chunk of the 2004 season. On Saturday you got the chance to get back on the field. How did that feel?
Mark Lisi: "It always feels good after being out for three or four months. To be on the losing end is obviously not what we wanted. But for me, it's good to get out and get a little run and I'm just glad to be playing again."
MetroStars.com: How do you feel physically after coming back from your injury?
ML: "My fitness is getting there. It's going to take some time. Each day I am doing a little extra, but in time it will come and hopefully the season will continue past Saturday."
MetroStars.com: How did this injury affect you mentally, especially because you missed so much playing time this season?
ML: "I've always looked at myself as a positive guy. I never try to get down on myself and when things go wrong, I always try to find the positive out of it. There are guys on the team that get me going. A lot of the guys are keeping positive and have motivated me to get back, so it's kind of a group thing."
MetroStars.com: Did your injury force you to increase your leadership role off the field in the locker room?
ML: "You just try to push everybody. You try to keep the guys going after a loss and keep the atmosphere happy and positive. I think my leadership role on the team has remained the same all year long when I was hurt and while playing. You just try to keep pushing everyone day in and day out. Even though I couldn't play, I was still here trying to keep everyone going."
MetroStars.com: Being one of the veterans holding the longest tenure with the MetroStars, how do you inspire younger players?
ML: "Just to have them stay positive day in and day out - to come in and work hard and do the right things. If it takes keeping their mouths shut and to listen to the older guys, listen to what they have to say. For them to learn something from each day and move on to the next day."
MetroStars.com: You started your career with D.C. United, the MetroStars biggest rival. How significant is this series to the rivalry between the two teams?
ML: "Whenever you play your former team, there's always something a little extra there. I think, obviously, losing to them hurts, but to have another shot at them is a good thing. I think we're looking forward to it. For me personally, it's a good rivalry and hopefully we can win and move on."
MetroStars.com: What is the mood inside the locker room this week?
ML: "Chins are up. Everyone seems to have the right attitude. We all believe in each other and we all know if we can go in and push the game, we can win. Each day things are good. We're staying positive and everyone's still smiling and feeling good about ourselves."
MetroStars.com: How do you personally prepare for each game?
ML: "I just listen to music. I don't have many superstitions. I just try to stay calm and eat right. I don't do anything different. I just listen to music that gets me in the right state of mind."