E. RUTHERFORD, N.J. - His MetroStars career to this point has consisted of a trio of two-hour training sessions in sweltering New Jersey and an introductory conference call with reporters, but Ante Razov is just happy to be playing again.
Razov was traded from Columbus, where he had a very public falling out with Crew coach Greg Andrulis, for John Wolyniec and a partial allocation Tuesday. He joined the club for its Wednesday morning training session and following Friday's practice, described by all as very positive, Razov is raring to make his Metros debut Sunday against Eastern Conference rival D.C. United at Giants Stadium.
"I'm a little bit sore, getting used to playing on the turf a bit," Razov said. "I played five full games then sat out three games so I don't think (I'm) that far away, just a couple of weeks. I'll give it a go this weekend - not 90 minutes, that's for sure. I'm just going to go and whether I start or come off the bench, just run until I can't run anymore."
It is unsure yet how Razov, who scored 54 goals in five years under Bob Bradley at Chicago, will be used Sunday. But the 31-year-old former U.S. national team striker will most definitely play. He last saw action May 14, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 4-0 loss to Kansas City.
"He's available. How we choose to use him, how many minutes, that will be determined on the day," Bradley said. "He's certainly ready to get out there."
Because of his history with Bradley, Razov's transition has been a smooth one, although there are still a few bumps to iron out.
"Knowing Bob and I know what he expects from me and what he expects from the team so it makes it kind of easier for me," Razov said. "We have some good players here who have been around for a while. For me, it's always easier to play with better players. Guys like Youri (Djorkaeff), (Jeff Agoos), Amado (Guevara) and (Mark) Lisi, we've got players so it's fairly easy to step in. There will be some timing issues and what not and I need to work on my fitness - I haven't played in about a month."
And Bradley likes what he's seen from Razov in three training sessions.
"It comes down to developing an understanding with your teammates and often times with good players it happens very quickly," he said. "I'm pleased with what I've seen this week in that regard and hopefully that can continue to build."
While rumors of a Razov trade have been swirling around the Meadowlands like a hot dog wrapper in October, it was still tough for the Metros players to part with Wolyniec, a hard-working yet underrated forward.
"He brings a wealth of experience both on and off the field so I think we'll benefit from that," said Metros defender Jeff Agoos. "On the down side, we trade a guy like John Wolyniec, who I thought was having his best couple of weeks the past few weeks. He's a tremendous guy off the field. That's the tough part about sports, to get something you have to give up something valuable."
Added Mark Lisi: "It's part of the game that you lose players you enjoy having around. I've been there, I've been traded. Woly is a great soccer player, a great guy, close to a lot of us. It's just a business and you have to get on with it and start a new chapter."
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.